The remote workforce is set to explode over the next few years. It’s already doubled since 2005, and almost half of the companies in the United States expect to develop a remote working standard within the next few years. These statistics, combined with a burgeoning population of freelancers, are creating a need for a new standard, one that will address the new remote workplace reality in 2017.
Remote work standards can mean many things. It can refer to the tools you offer to your remote workforce, and it can also indicate your policies around benefits, work hours, holidays, and expectations for productivity, communication, adhering to deadlines, and assessments at the management level.
Your in-house workforce has a completely different dynamic. Since they are on-site, their performance can be monitored more easily, and it’s likely that when you need to find them, you know exactly where they are.
Since your virtual staff lives and works under a completely different set of guidelines, it is important to devise a set of “house rules” that take them into account. Here are some tips to help you establish a baseline that will work for everybody:
Remote worker standard tip #1: involve them in the process
Even though they are out of the building, collaboration is still integral to productivity. Do your best to motivate and inspire your remote workers, and they will respond with superior results. Each project should be approached with a team mentality, with your leaders or managers encouraging each individual to help set the standards around the task: who is doing what, project deadlines, benchmarks, progress meetings, et cetera. Once a mission criteria is established, your team will do what they do best, knowing that they are not going it alone.
Remote worker standard tip #2: test the waters before you deep-dive
Although the vast majority of your workforce would probably love to work at home, not all of them are cut out for it. You might be able to determine who is and is not off the top of your head, but the proof is always in the pudding. Accommodate your staff on an individual basis, and always take into account the project as well as the personal characteristics of the individual. Evaluate productivity on a regular basis to establish whether working remotely is a good fit.
Remote worker standard tip #3: establish your communication platform
There are hundreds of messaging apps out there, and plenty of online tools that can help your team share and collaborate on documents, and communicate when needed. Experiment with a few different ones before you decide, and choose the ones that work best for your team. Keeping it simple is a must: you need to use tools that your staff can get behind, and ones that will help, and not hinder the process. Get feedback from everybody, try some out, and find which ones work best for everybody.
Remote worker standard tip #4: don’t be afraid to revoke the remote privilege
Working remotely is a dream come true for many employees. It allows them greater flexibility, frees up valuable time to be productive, and balances the work/life struggle. However, some people will take advantage of the situation, and end up costing you time, money, and potentially reputation. Make sure each of your remote workers knows that it is an opportunity for them, and can be taken away just as easily as it was given. Emphasize accountability, and make sure your entire team adheres to it without exception.
My Annapolis Office helping remote worker thrive
If you are in the Annapolis area, drop by My Annapolis Office for a visit. Our on-demand office space and virtual office solutions have been the starting point for many small businesses, start-ups, freelancers, remote workers, and more.