Today’s post is brought to you by my friends at SocialMonsters.org.
According to Gallup research, telecommuting in the United States rose to 37 percent as the average worker telecommutes two days per month. Most managers also reported that their telecommuters were just as productive as other employees. But just because remote workers are now the norm doesn’t mean it’s an easy process to manage. How do you really know what your team is doing if you’re not there to see it?
Fortunately, there are tools, tips and resources to help keep workers accountable no matter where they’re working. Here are five ways to set clear expectations and goals for your remote workers.
Transparency is key when managing remote employees, but it works both ways. Give your remote employees deeper insights into your decision-making process for the projects you pass down. With more context and insight, remote workers can do a more thorough job and anticipate your expectations and needs better.
Your remote team also needs a transparency channel of its own. Use a shared cloud drive for remote workers to upload their files in one place, like Mozy. Knowing those files can be accessed by the company and are stored in one place can alleviate stress and miscommunication. Remote workers can’t rely on the “It must have gotten lost in the spam filter” excuse with a cloud drive. Your team can also get set-up with individual Mozy accounts to automatically backup their computers and files. A catastrophic computer crash won’t send remote employees scrambling to cover their tracks.
Remote and in-office employees can benefit from measuring performance. But remote workers are especially vulnerable to distractions and abusing their freedom without measures in place. Use a project management system like Trello or Asana to see what your team is working on and when. A system can increase accountability, and keep managers on top of workflow.
Measuring performance doesn’t just provide accountability, it increases engagement. According to Gallup research, workers are more engaged when they’re evaluated. They also discovered 33 percent of workers with a formal process for measuring performance are engaged and miss nine workdays a year. Meanwhile, only 21 percent of those without a formal process are engaged and miss 14 days a year.
Schedule Daily Check-ins
Start your morning with daily check-ins instead of formal meetings that suck up valuable time and productivity. Instead, a check-in on Google Hangouts can connect the entire team to discuss their projects and accomplishments from the day before. The check-in also helps your team build camaraderie and keep tabs on each other without being in the office.
Are your remote workers clear on their daily, monthly and long-term expectations? For some, working from home may mean working whenever it’s productive. Document your expectations that remote workers should be available during office hours and maintain communication. Let any telecommuters know that doing other contract work, attending to ongoing social commitments or turning off their phone for hours during business hours is not acceptable.
Use the Right Tools
For companies that need multiple layers of accountability, set remote teams up with software like WorkSnaps. Track your team’s work, and get proof of hours worked, with computer activity reports automatically reported to the WorkSnaps server. You also receive snapshots of their work every few minutes to see exactly what they were working on and when. Exceptions can also be used so your marketing team isn’t penalized when surfing the Web for current social media trends or tweeting.