According to a recent Gallup poll, 37 percent of all employees in the U.S. do some of their job remotely and many of these workers are telecommuting full-time.
These numbers are expected to grow moving forward, as companies realize the benefits of having some employees work from home or their favorite coffee shop. In particular, telecommuters have been found, on average, to be more productive and work longer hours than in-house employees.
There are, however, pitfalls associated with a telecommuting arrangement, many of them linked to first-time telecommuters. With proper procedures and the right mentality, you can maximize the chances of seeing your remote workers thrive.
Extend Your Culture
One of the biggest problems facing remote employees is the fact that they often don’t feel like a part of your team. You need to make your in-house employees more than just faceless email senders who check in with the remote worker on their latest project.
When people work together in an office, they often bond over the weather, sports or personal interests. Encourage your in-house staff to connect with remote workers on a personal level by interacting with them as they might any of the co-workers they deal with every day.
Also, encourage your team to connect to remote workers over LinkedIn. This not only helps to flesh out your staff for remote workers, it also grows your company’s social media reach.
Standardize and Document Processes
Smaller businesses tend to have a loose structure, and while some people might enjoy the freedom to develop their own ways of handling job duties, this room to improvise could lead to crippling confusion for remote employees.
Establish a standard operating procedure and document it for each process a remote worker is expected to perform. For instance, if you have someone doing customer support at home, you should let them know how to properly handle common issues, and how to refer customers for the handling of complex, uncommon issues.
Standardizing and documenting procedures this way keeps telecommuters from wasting time asking questions about things they don’t understand, and it avoids work having to be fixed after it was done wrong.
Realize the Flexible Nature of Remote Work
Remote workers often find their arrangement enjoyable because it allows them to work when they want. Some people find they are more productive in the morning, while others find that their most productive time is after dinner.
Managers of remote workers need to realize that this is a good thing, and they should be prepared to give remote workers the flexibility they need to be the most productive. That being said, it’s important company standards aren’t being lowered to accommodate remote employees.
Work with a Leader in Supply Chain Recruitment
At ZDA, we can help companies find individuals who have the skills, personality and experience to deliver from a remote-work arrangement. If your company is looking for employees to telecommute, please contact us today and we can arrange a consultation.