Countless studies have evaluated whether remote workers are actually more productive.
It’s easy to see why they could and couldn’t be.
On the one hand, they’re in the most comfortable and familiar place they know. And that could relax them and make them happier than working at an office, which could mean higher productivity.
On the other hand, they can do whatever they want. You can’t watch them every minute. So they have ample opportunity to be highly unproductive, and even steal your time.
What’s the truth?
A study by Fond.co found that remote workers can be more productive, but like employees in your office, only if they’re engaged.
So how do you manage remote workers for the highest engagement and productivity levels?
Here’s what to do:
1. Keep Your Working Relationship First
It’s not what you do…it’s who you do it with. You don’t have to like who you work with.
But you should make every effort to keep your working relationships as amicable as possible.
If you have conflict with your workers, address it immediately and get it out of the way.
Ask your employees what you can do to make your working relationship stronger with them.
Do they want more verbal praise? More material rewards? Do you need to improve processes to reduce employee frustration?
Your relationship has to be a two-way street.
You do everything you can to create the most motivating work environment. And hopefully, your employees respond in kind.
2. Be Available
Many employees report frustration getting a hold of their managers when working remotely. So somehow, you have to find a way to make that happen.
One possibility would be to have multiple communication methods available and then recommended based on the complexity of the employee’s question.
For example, simple yes/no questions can be emailed or texted. A question with a short answer could be addressed via chat.
And in-depth issues would be handled via Zoom.
You’ll have to decide what works best for your circumstances. But that’s an idea to start with.
3. Make Information Accessible
Chains of emails quickly become a nightmare, don’t they?
Email chains, quite honestly, are a late 1990s thing.
Today, with cloud-based services, you can easily create shared folders with terabytes of information – for free.
For example, Google Drive doesn’t charge you for the storage you use if you store the information using their file format (which is pretty similar to Microsoft).
So even if your entire company doesn’t transition to the cloud, you can at least do it with your team so you can operate efficiently.
There’s much more to managing a remote workforce.
But, those simple tips solve some major pain points and get you going in the right direction for now while you figure out long-term solutions.