The idea of having remote workers is becoming more and more popular in the business world. But the hesitation and fear of losing control still lingers with many business owners, why?
Even though remote workers will save companies money rather than hiring full-time employees that are present in the office, employers fear productivity will decrease and there will be a lack of control and supervision.
Not having a face-to-face connection on a daily basis can lead to miscommunications but there are multiple tools and techniques around this.
In fact, remote work can actually benefit employers by saving them time and money. Besides these two major reasons, let’s find out how it can benefit your business and the best ways to maintain control with remote employees.
Why is remote work actually good for business?
- Employees can concentrate better as there are lesser distractions than in an office. More concentration means more work is done.
- Employees can control their own work environment; they set their workspace and working hours. Flexible working hours encourages employees to work harder because they’re not tied down to office hours.
- Employees are able to balance their home life and work, easily making efficient time for both without spending long hours in an office.
- Employers don’t need assigned office space, saving them money that can be redirected to other operations.
- Employers can get high-quality work and top-rated freelancers with hourly pay, not needing to give out salaries.
- This offers flexibility for employers too, they aren’t tied down to the office to supervise work and ensure everything is getting done.
What can employers do to ensure control over remote work?
1] Establish frequent communication
One of the difficulties that worry many employers with remote workers is not having a face-to-face connection which can lead to misunderstandings in work. You need to establish a clear and easy communication channel between you and remote workers.
Whether it’s to follow up on a task, ask for updates, or assist in a problem, your employees need to easily be able to reach you, and vice versa. With the various tools provided online, your phone bill doesn’t need to suffer the cost.
There are many free apps like Skype or Google Hangouts where you can contact remote employees via phone or video call. Allowing for a wide range, you can set a meeting with multiple individuals at the same time.
Meetings are one way to strengthen communication. It doesn’t need to be long meetings that take up much of your time and your employees, but short and effective meetings. Before going into any meeting, have an agenda with all the topics you need to discuss, a time range to stay on track, and what are the results needed from the meeting.
With these strategies, remote workers will feel highly connected to the office team. In fact, a study has shown that 87% of remote workers feel more connected through video conferencing.
2] Efficient time tracking
Being in the same office as your employees does not guarantee they’re getting work done in a timely manner. Whether your employees are remote or not, using time tracking software to track employees’ working hours is vital for any business.
With this software, you’ll easily be able to track when employees start work, take breaks, finish working, and absences. Employers have control over this software; they can set access points allowing employees to clock-in hours from certain locations, approve or disapprove manual shifts, and even generate timesheets. There are many online time-tracking tools like ClockIn Portal, Toggl, Time Doctor, etc.
Apps like ClockIn Portal have mileage coverage to track distances for drivers while Toggl has project management integration as well. With time tracking, your employees can add shift notes and update you on progress, ensuring no time is wasted.
3] Project management & collaboration tools
In many cases, remote workers feel isolated from the office team and disconnected because they rarely communicate. Besides strengthening communication, you need to ensure your whole team collaborates and works together on projects.
Project management is a great way to keep track of progress on projects and helps put you, your team, and remote employees all on the same page. Popular project management tools like Asana or Basecamp allow you to assign tasks, comment on them, complete tasks, set deadlines, and more.
As for collaboration tools, Dropbox and Google Drive have file and document sharing. You can remotely exchange files, leave comments, and make edits.
Google Drive offers a wide variety of tools like sheets, slides, docs, and more. With all these online tools available (mostly, for free), collaborating on work and supervising projects has never been easier.
4] Other virtual business tools
Besides these tools, there are still multiple tools you can use to enhance and ease a remote workflow. For example, with a virtual mailbox, you and your employees are able to log into an online PO Box and handle all business postal mail.
You can have mail forwarded, scanned, archived, or shredded, all through your mobile or compute after choosing your virtual address for your business deliveries.
Other tools like MailChimp will remotely manage email marketing or Hoot Suite will automate your social media posts. Controlling the work environment, whether remote or within the office is a lot easier than it used to be. Companies are quickly embracing the remote work style with businesses that fully operate with remote teams on the rise.