Today’s post is brought to you by my friends at SocialMonsters.org. Despite some turn around’s in some larger companies telecommuting is continuing to grow.
HR professionals who coordinate workplace benefits and policies with remote employee teams tend to encounter a unique set of challenges. Without the benefit of a central workplace, they inevitably have to work a little bit harder to create a cohesive sense of company culture.
Setting up a secure means of communication between the team and management is a top priority. However, many HR managers struggle with finding ways to track employee productivity and develop the trust necessary for an effective telecommuting relationship. To set your team up for success from Day 1, you must first arm yourself with the most helpful tools. Here are some of the must-have tools to benefit remote employee teams.
For your employees to work efficiently, their home offices need to have a similar setup to what they would find in a traditional office, with a few additional touches. While specifics will be dependent on your industry, at a minimum, ensure your team’s home offices include high-speed wireless Internet, a sturdy laptop or desktop computer and a good scanner/printer.
Additionally, purchasing a dependable wireless headset, like the Plantronics Savi W740, will be useful for conference calls and meetings, as is a camera for videoconferencing. The Aver VC 520 Videoconferencing System is an upgrade from the traditional laptop camera, with its high-quality conference microphone.
Beyond having the right office tools, the success of any telecommuting team hinges on its ability to communicate effectively. Fortunately, an ever-increasing remote workforce has brought with it a host of communication tools for those who traditionally work from home. Here are a few of the most popular tools:
- Slack is a popular messaging and project management app that allows employees open communication through different channels, based on assignments and tasks. For example, you can create a channel for HR questions, specific projects and casual chats. Employees can then search between channels to find project-relevant information.
- Basecamp is a project management system that allows teams to schedule and monitor tasks, delegate work, hold discussions and share documents.
- GoToMeeting is a reliable online meeting tool that makes it easier for employees in multiple locations to meet over video conferencing tools. And, as any HR professional knows, discussions and meetings are often more fruitful when team members can see each other; it’s a win-win for everyone.
With so much communication taking place between HR professionals and remote teams, online security can become a real concern for companies. Because remote employees must access and share files from anywhere — and from a variety of devices — you’ll want to choose an online backup service that protects your company data when accessed remotely.
For example, MozyPro is a secure online backup service that includes Mozy Sync, which gives employees access to files from mobile and other devices. When a document is updated, Mozy Sync syncs the document across all devices. These documents can then be backed up and protected with MozyPro’s military-grade encryption, which will provide you both the security and flexibility necessary to benefit a telecommuting team.
Measuring the productivity of remote employees can be tricky. You want to develop a trust to ensure these employees have actually completed their tasks, but you also need a means of accountability. To track employee time and attendance, TimeDoctor and Timely are both useful time-monitoring tools. Meantime, the app iDoneThis asks employees to track achievements instead of time, which can help some employees work more efficiently.