Working remotely has become increasingly more popular as technology allows for more freedom, accountability, and tracking of a telecommuting workforce. In fact, the trend to employ remote workers is increasing so quickly that by 2020, some degree of mobile workforce is projected to make up about 75% of U.S. employees. That’s a huge percentage of the American workforce! As the number of remote workers begins to grow, managers need to make sure they have processes in place to manage remote employees.
1. Find the Right Workers
If you’re going to be successful at managing remote workers, you need to employ the right type of workers. Managers should look for potential candidates who are self-motivated, self-disciplined, have strong communication skills, and can maintain focus while working from home. Self-starters and highly energetic people tend to excel at telecommuting.
Remote workers have a unique set of challenges they must overcome since they aren’t reporting at a physical location each day. While they do have freedom and flexibility, 40% of employees who work remotely report high stress levels due to their unstructured schedules. Finding those employees who are equipped to handle the responsibilities of remote work is key to successful, smoothly operating management.
2. Track Their Activity
There must be protocols in place to track the activity of your remote workers and ensure success. A time tracking process ensures rules are followed and privileges aren’t abused. Time tracking using GPS enables workers to record their hours worked and managers to hold all parties accountable for their time.
Evaluating individual business needs can determine what type of software managers want to use. Some managers might want to use basic time and attendance features to track labor while others might choose to use web-based monitoring to track online activity. Once the process is in place, communicate with remote employees that the purpose of a remote time tracking solution is to promote accountability and empowerment within the team.
3. Measure Performance and Maintain Accountability
Sometimes remote workers can feel that company policy more loosely applies to them than employees who are in the office every day. Make clear the expectations you have for them and regularly reinforce these expectations. If goals are not met, offer them the tools they need to meet them.
To maintain accountability, have assignable goals and frequent performance reviews. Creating benchmarks that are visible to remote workers online will encourage productivity, foster engagement, and streamline communication.
4. Make Communication a Priority
Remote workers can begin to feel isolated because they are not part of the daily “watercooler conversations” among coworkers. That’s why it’s important to make communication a priority so remote employees feel included and involved in the company culture. Utilize video calls on a regularly basis to get virtual face-to-face time when in-person communication is not an option. Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Skype are all great platforms where multiple people can participate in a video call.
Managers can speak one-on-one with an employee, or bring on multiple remote workers for broader-focused meetings. This will encourage positive, direct communication between managers and remote workers who can feel disjointed. Logging on every morning for a quick conversation to start the day can be a good way to keep remote employees and managers on the same page.
5. Have a Travel and Risk Management System in Place
Lastly, it is important to have a travel and risk management system like Concur in place. Why? Because with a remote workforce, there’s required travel. A solution that tracks expenses, budgets, and invoices simplifies management and reduces risk. Having the ability to easily control out-of-office spending creates a more efficient process for managers and eliminates antiquated receipt tracking for employees.
The Remote Possibility
While remote work may not make sense for all organizations, its popularity is undoubtedly on the rise. So whether you have a remote workforce or are thinking it may be a good idea to implement one in your organization, utilize these tips to effectively manage your remote workers.
How APS Can Help
APS equips employers with tools to simplify the management of a remote workforce. We provide a unified suite of solutions to easily manage your employees from whether they’re in the office or working at home. Our Time & Attendance solution with ClockZones™ GPS tracking allows remote workers to clock in and out from any mobile device and gives managers an instant view of mobile punches. Our online performance tracking encourages engagement and interaction for a mobile workforce. Additionally, our partner, Concur, offers risk and travel management capabilities that allow managers to effectively track expenses and solidify company travel policies.