Over the past several years, companies have been progressively moving away from the standard 9 to 5 hours in the office and to allowing employees to telecommute. Aside from being able to stay in pajamas while you work on your reports, having the option to work from home gives employees more flexibility in their workday. Even though it seems like it would give people the opportunity to be less productive, the Global Workplace Analytics, a telecommuting research firm, found that people that work from home actually get 27% more work done at home versus in the office.
The challenge management is faced with is being able to effectively manage their teams if they aren’t in the office with them. A strong strategy must be in place that allows for the employees to be held accountable since managers won’t be able to keep a discerning eye on their staff.
Make expectations clear
Giving people the option to work from home can be an incredible perk, but it also has the potential to be abused if guidelines and expectations are not clearly defined across the entire workplace. Management needs to be trained on how to properly manage their workers in a way that doesn’t hinder their productivity throughout the day. Both the employee and manager should have a clear understanding of what they should be accomplishing from home.
Help them strike a balance between work and home life
It also needs to be stressed that the employee strike a balance between their work life and home life. Oftentimes, telecommuting employees will actually put in more than a full day’s work and have difficulty shifting their focus from work to personal life. It’s easier for a worker in an office to be able to shut off their work mode when they leave their brick and mortar office location. Encourage remote employees to take breaks and give themselves an end time for every day.
Provide communication tools and technology
Working from home means having a reliable internet source, phone, and computer. Employees working in an office can easily reach out to other people within the office that they need to talk to, but working remotely doesn’t offer that same opportunity. Recognize that these telecommuting employees should be provided with the means necessary to complete their job well. Communication needs to be readily available to them, and connecting with their team should also be easy.
Have touch points with employees
Managing a remote team requires a unique approach and regular check ins to make sure the employee is staying on track with the expectations that were defined for them. These meetings allow both parties to be open about what is working and what’s not so they can be proactive about what may need changed about their telecommuting workdays.