Friday, May 25, 2012

The Growing Remote Workforce

Thanks to improved technology, a growing number of employees have the ability to accomplish most or all of their work from home. Smartphones, tablet computers, teleconferencing, and WiFi-equipped bookstores and coffee shops have made this achievable. This presents a big advantage for employers: the more employees that work at home, the less money companies need to spend. Many companies, for instance, do not have assigned computers and desks for each of their workers as so much of their workforce is working remotely. Additionally, employees working remotely are frequently more productive; they’re not wasting time and energy commuting to work every day. And they’re not exchanging office gossip in front of the water cooler when in the office.

Remote Worker Challenges

One worry that many employers have when deciding to hire remote workers is, how can they monitor the amount of work they do? How do they know they are really working and not just playing games on their computer all day long?

One easy way to monitor the amount of work being completed by remote workers is to set reasonable goals that they must hit. This puts the focus on the end result and helps prevent the manager from worrying about it, provided that the goals are being met. This also gives the employee flexibility to work within the hours they are most fruitful.

Setting Remote Worker Deadlines

Employers might tell their remote workers that they must turn in a certain amount of work every Wednesday and Friday. This will make sure that remote employees are doing their work. Employers might also schedule regular updates by phone, video chat, or through instant messaging, during which workers can explain how far along they are with certain tasks. Some employers may opt to require that their remote workers spend at least one day a week, or two days a month, on site. This gives these workers face time with their managers, something that helps everyone stay focused on upcoming deadlines and goals.

Off-Site Not a Permanent Condition

Employers need to remember, as well, that remote workers do not have to stay that way. If employers see that their off-site workers are not meeting deadlines or are delivering sub-par work, they can require that these workers return to the office on a full-time basis. Trust continues to be the key element of a remote working relationship. Companies must place some trust in their workers that they will finish their jobs on time. Workers must demonstrate that they are deserving of this trust by hitting their deadlines, delivering quality work, and responding quickly to phone calls or email messages.


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