Managing teleworkers is always a problem. (What do they do, after all?) Ease your plight – hire the right people.
You probably have employees who work from home, too. You probably do too, at least for a while. Well, if you’re in the startup phase, when resources are limited, this is the most appropriate way to work.
And even if all employees are working in their assigned locations, it’s always possible to continue working on tasks and projects outside of the office using mobile devices.
Recognize that no matter what kind of business you own, you’ve had freelancers for at least a while.
This fundamentally changes the very nature of the work. According to Avinoam Nowogrodski, CEO and co-founder of Clarizen, an online project management software company that produces some really cool apps, it also affects the selection and evaluation of employees.
Some qualities are less important for success in a traditional work environment, while these characteristics are vital for remote workers:
Setting common goals
Employees can easily get lost in the clouds. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Managers still continue to set goals, but moments of communication happen much less frequently.
Good remote workers actively propose new ideas, create their own projects, set goals and offer solutions. Working from home is great for introverts, so make sure you’re hiring employees who not only enjoy working “alone,” but who can go one step ahead of their competitors.
2. Always stay in touch
Great team players are reliable and always available. Online and mobile communication makes it easy and straightforward to get in touch with the dedicated staff. But sometimes there are moments of miscommunication. (Maybe he’s communicating with a client. Maybe he’s talking on Skype with another team member? Or maybe he’s just ignoring me?)
Remote employees can easily “cover up” with technology, or the lack thereof.
Who is responsible for communication: the employee or the home office? Either answer would be correct, but only great workers would say it’s their responsibility. No matter what, they always stay in touch.
Good remote workers always let you know when they will not be available and why. They also let you know how you can contact them, if necessary. These people see their jobs as a compromise. On the one hand, they get more freedom, but they also recognize that with that freedom comes responsibility for timely availability. And because of ubiquitous access, there is increased trust from customers.
A focus on results, not time
Some organizations are content to let remote employees “show up” and work within a set time frame, and the very completion of a particular job is secondary. (We all know people who hold good job positions but don’t actually work.)
This obviously does not apply to employees working outside of headquarters. Results, not presence, is what matters. Great remote workers focus on completing tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible. Even if a task “has to take” a week, it can be completed faster to start new projects, to keep on track and to keep payroll happy use employee timesheet software.
Great remote workers finish projects ahead of schedule and ask for even more work.
Always eager to learn
As a rule, remote employees have very specific responsibilities. They focus on a task list or work on specific projects. But at the same time, they don’t have access to formal or informal training. Therefore, they are always “reaching out” for development and learning opportunities. Constantly. Continuously, which can sometimes irritate their bosses.
Try to become irreplaceable
Imagine that you have to lay off several employees. Who is easier to cut: an employee who works with you in the office, or a remote worker who is far away from you (and whom you will never see)?
In an ideal world, every employee is evaluated on the basis of his or her performance. But in the real world, other factors come into play. Sometimes it’s fair, sometimes it’s not.
Great remote employees understand that perception and bias can be these factors. But they don’t just think, “That’s not fair….”
Instead of complaining, they keep working hard to prove how valuable they are to you.