Employees working remotely are a relatively new concept in the work environment and myths persist about the ability of employees to work at home without distractions. But mounting research suggests an improvement in productivity with remote workers. As a manager, there are things you can do to help remote employees improve productivity even more.
The Truth Regarding Remote Employees
Past sentiment has been that employees working from home face a variety of distractions not found in a regular office environment. However, Nicholas Bloom, a professor at Stanford University, found very different data in a two-year study.
Bloom’s study found an astounding increase in employee productivity. Remote employees were more likely to put in a full day’s work, rather than arriving late and leaving early several times a week.
Additionally, the rate of attrition dropped nearly 50 percent compared to in-office employees. The at-home employees took shorter breaks, less time off, and had fewer sick days compared to in-office employees.
“Our Remote Collaborative Worker Survey suggests there are significant benefits to be gained by both remote workers and their employers with off-site employees motivated to work harder and more efficiently to protect both the personal and professional benefits of working remotely,” said Michael Fitzpatrick, CEO of ConnectSolutions.
The key to managing remote employees, who are already productive, is to make sure they are able to retain that productivity.
Invest in Time Management Software
Procrastination is possibly the biggest hurdle facing remote employees. There are many forms of time management software on the market to help employees stay aware and focused on their time allocation. Not only does this help keep remote workers on track, but it also helps them keep in sync with in-office teams.
Establish Quarterly Goals and Rewards
As with any employee, whether in-house or remote, having stated goals helps to organize time and priorities. Setting quarterly goals is crucial in establishing and maintaining expectations. Most employees want to succeed and remote employees are under more scrutiny for their performance.
Achieving stated goals reassures remote employees of their value. And the rewards part, well, that’s just icing on the cake.
Hold Video Conferences
Remote employees tend to operate in a certain amount of isolation. Face-to-face meetings are not as common as with in-office employees. It is important to retain a level of communication that simulates the human experience of being in an office environment.
Even a weekly video conference between co-workers in and out of the office can help foster a team environment that is good for morale and productivity.
Tips for Remote Employees
It can even be helpful to provide remote employees with tips that will help them contribute to their own productivity. By reading some research on sticking to schedules, setting priorities, avoiding distractions, and developing self-discipline, remote employees are better able to manage their own productivity and take pride in their contributions to the team and the organization.
No matter your business, you can successfully hire excellent remote workers, from those highly trained in a specialized field to those hard-working, diverse candidates. All you have to do is apply basic management skills and practice good communication.
At the root of it all, you are hiring a person to work for you, even if you only see them through a computer screen. For more information on smart hiring, and help with smart employee recruitment, contact SelectOne.