With advancement in telecommunications and the digital network, the world today has almost become a global village. Communication is no longer limited by geographical locations or timelines.
Hiring people from far off places who will work online for your company is no longer an impossible idea. In fact, telecommuting has become a norm these days and businesses are making the most of this opportunity.
Advantages of Hiring Remote Workers
Studies show that workers who work from home are more engaged, productive and happier than your regular desk-job workers. This is perhaps because they can work at their own hours at a comfortable pace or maybe they are not stuck in the same place for eight to ten hours.
Moreover, hiring remote workers offers you a wider choice in terms of flexibility. If you are planning to branch out in different locations, it is better to hire local people who are accustomed to their lifestyle. It is easier for them to adjust both home and work in known surroundings.
Third, setting up a remote workplace definitely saves you money. Instead of having an actual office and paying for maintenance, you can get the same work done by your remote workers.
However, the idea of the remote workplace also comes with its own challenges.
Managing remote workers isn’t easy whether it’s an entire team or an individual employee. Since you are not interacting with them personally, the quality of work can suffer.
Further, remote workers don’t have a great bonding with your onsite workers. This can become difficult at times especially when you are working with teams located at multiple locations.
Creating the right balance is therefore essential when you want to ensure maximum remote workplace accountability.
Thankfully, there are several resources and tools you can use to keep a tab on your remote workers irrespective of their location. Here are some things you could do to ensure remote accountability.
Always Maintain Transparency
This is the first and foremost thing to do when you want to extract the best from your remote workers. Provide your remote workers more insight into your company policies, vision and objectives. Be very clear about the payment mode and date of payment.
Brief your remote workers correctly so that they understand what is expected of them. Encourage questions, provide tips, offer constructive criticism and also ask for suggestions and ideas from them.
Transparency ensures a higher level of trust both ways and this plays a major part in increasing productivity.
Keep a Tab on their Performance
Remote workers often misuse their freedom. This is not to say that all of them do so intentionally, but it is so easy to get distracted when someone is working from home. Without the right systems, you can lose out on valuable man-hours. There are several performances measurement tools you can use to monitor the progress of your remote workers and their level of commitment.
Such a system not only increases accountability but also keeps your remote workers more engaged. This ensures all your assignments are completed on time irrespective of where your workers are working from.
When your workers know that their performance level is being evaluated, their level of dedication rises automatically.
Schedule Regular Check-ins
Even if your remote workers are not actually walking into your office, you should have some mechanism to ensure that they start their job at a particular time. Discuss this before hiring a particular worker. Some might find the afternoon convenient while others will like working late at night.
Whatever be the time, you need an assurance that your remote worker is doing her job regularly. In the absence of such a mechanism, your remote worker can easily skip days and take longer to complete the assignment.
Make your Expectations Clear
From the very beginning, your remote workers should be clear about your daily, monthly or long-term expectations. Set deadlines for assignments so that your workers clearly know the time given to them.
Make it clear that they should be accessible during the particular hours they have committed to work. Switching off their mobiles during such hours should be a strict no-no.
This is beneficial both ways. Your workers will be able to schedule their personal life and professional assignments better. You too will be assured that the worker is doing his work instead of partying at a friend’s place.
Use Appropriate Tools
There is no dearth of software that can help you stay connected with your remote workers and collaborate with them from anywhere. Some software allows you to track their performance; others provide proof of hours worked while still others can send you snapshots at regular intervals of your workers actually doing their work instead of just browsing the net.
However, use these tools wisely in appropriate situations to avoid misunderstandings. Instant messaging or email is fine for short and specific messages. For lengthy conversations and critical evaluation, use video chatting software.
Explain to employees who interact with your remote workers about which type of software to use for a particular purpose.
Develop a Digital Workplace
It is important to ensure that there’s communication and connection from both sides. Your workers should be able to upload their files and also access files from your actual office in case they need particular information or data.
Use cloud-based software to store all files pertaining to a certain project. It is a platform that your remote worker can use to both upload their work and access files from your workplace. Using such software leaves no opportunity for your remote workers to offer any excuse such as the file must have been lost in the spam filter or otherwise.
Be More Inclusive
Just because remote workers are not physically present, don’t make them feel like outsiders or contractors just doing a job! Use appropriate software to share all events and celebrations that take place in your office with them. Introduce them to your office members and plan for regular informal chats.
All these measures will go a long way in making your remote workers feel more inclusive and increase their accountability.