Rallying Remote Workers
Managers have a lot of responsibility, from legal requirements the employers have to meet to ensuring that people are engaged and motivated in the workplace.
Technology has created global talent mobility and alongside it, an increasing number of remote workers. In fact, 43% of US employees work remotely. It’s easy to see the benefits: empowerment, autonomy, increased job satisfaction and increased productivity. But – individuals have different perceptions of autonomy. For some this means being left to ‘get on with it’. For others, this means a regular call to see how their actions are progressing.
According to Ere Media, there are three ways to manage the expectations of remote workers and employers, ensuring that these are aligned. Author Cord Himelstein explains:
“Here is my go-to list:
- Set remote office hours/email deadlines – A chief benefit of working remotely is setting your own hours, but if you’re only getting emails on Friday evenings from your teleworkers, it can seem like they’re on their own schedule, or worse, disengaged from the organization, which is a real fear. Don’t be afraid to set email deadlines and ask them to stay aligned with actual office hours. You’d be surprised at how simple a conversation this is as long as you bring it up beforehand.
- Design an accountability structure – Remember that the employee doesn’t always know how to get the most out of a remote work situation either. Many know that they would enjoy the autonomy, but don’t know what doing it successfully would actually would look like, so help them out! Have the conversation about accountability. What can be expected on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? How will we measure success? When you set tolerable limits it becomes much easier for everyone to meet expectations. Each person is different, so remain flexible enough to adapt on the fly as you learn more about what works and what doesn’t.
- Schedule weekly check-ins – The weekly check-in can be a manager’s best friend when it comes to teleworkers as long as it’s used efficiently. It’s important to let the employee know it’s not an issue of trust, merely a way for you to stay informed about their workflow. There are four questions I always make sure to ask on a weekly check-in:
What are you working on?
Are you facing any challenges?
How can I help? and,
How is everything else?
You might already know the answers to those questions, but the time spent making the personal connection and keeping them close to the organisation’s pulse is what’s important.”
Matthew of Consensus HR is especially aware of the requirements of remote workers: “When I worked within Welcome Break, I was classed as a remote worker as I was on the road within the UK at all times visiting the 26 company sites.
“Remote workers need clear expectations of what is needed by the company and clear SMART objectives, monthly catch up times (telephone or email) and regular feedback on what is to be achieved by them whilst out working remotely.
“They need to know what is expected so that should this not be achieved the relevant action can be taken and objectives or task adjusted accordingly. I have seen the benefits and disadvantages of working remotely. It totally depends on the way you are managed and kept informed – these factors directly influence results.”
Does your organisation employ remote workers? Are you getting the best results from them? Contact Matthew from Consensus HR to find out more.