IT Untangled: 3 Ways to Maximize Remote Employee Performance
Remote employees are only growing in popularity in the business world. Working from home gives companies the opportunity to hire people outside of their immediate area. It’s really a win-win for business and employees alike. Having greater access to talent means better business overall. And working from home is a SUPER perk for employees.
Accent Computer Solutions, Inc. is no stranger to remote employees. Most of our employees are Southern California locals, but several are completely remote, spread as far as Louisiana. While others are what we call “flex-remote.” They split their time between working from home and coming into the office. For some, that means being in the office a few times a week; for others, it means coming in weekly or monthly.
Here are some key factors that make remote employment work for us. Let’s discuss 3 ways to figure out if a remote arrangement will work, and how to maximize their performance.
1. Determine If the Job Can Be Done Remotely – and If It’s a Good Fit for That Employee
To keep it real, some jobs are ideal for remote work, and others just aren't.
For example, jobs that only need a computer, Internet, and phone access are excellent remote candidates. In many companies, this could be people on your sales team, marketing department, or even customer service. On the other hand, anything that requires specialized equipment or assembly lines can't be done at home – for obvious reasons.
If a role has a few steps in their process that can’t be done remotely, consider opportunities for process improvement before ruling remote work out. Example: Your customer service team has to print a work order and hand it off to another department before an order can be processed. Would it be possible to use technology to digitally submit orders?
Also, consider the person. While working from home is great, there is a certain level of self-discipline and motivation needed to get work done. Don't set existing employees up to fail. if their in-office performance is lackluster, it might be even harder for them to get work done on their own. As for job candidates and new hires, it might be trickier. You may consider asking one of their employment references their opinion on the matter.
2. Server Access, Security, and Online Team Collaboration Tools
Forget tracking files and materials through emails – start collaborating with your team! To really maximize remote employees, your company should give them access to your server (or wherever files are stored.) No more worrying about if you’re looking at the right version since everyone’s looking at the same documents.
When doing so, you’ll need to make sure that your firewall also has a VPN. This creates a safe portal between they’re computer and your server that can’t be penetrated by hackers.
And what about collaboration tools! This could be as easy as Skype for Business messaging, or as advanced as project management tools. Providing a central platform for conversations, milestones, and due dates can keep everyone, including your in-office staff, on task.
Another fantastic collaboration tool is virtual meetings. Using an online platform to meet as a group or one-on-one adds a very personal touch, team building even. 10 minutes of face time could prevent those office-wide, 30 response in-depth email chains that take all day to answer. Think about it.
3. Set Short and Long-Term Goals to Track Performance
Getting used to judging performance based on work done instead of the amount of time present is a transition for everyone involved. To battle this slight change, set yearly, quarterly, monthly, and even weekly goals. Measure the rate in which those goals are being accomplished and if they are fair.
This might take some time to fine tune.
Figure out your realistic goals for project progression and what meets your requirements. Before jumping to conclusions, speak directly with your employee about said expectations. Make sure everyone is on the same page. Again, this will need some time to pin down, but setting those goals is the first step.
At the end of the day, remote workers could add value to your organization, especially if you are looking for larger talent circles to pull from, or if your business could benefit from having people work in different time zones like ours does.
IT can be complicated. We're here to help "untangle" it for you.
IT Untangled aims to provide clarity on IT topics for business people. This weekly blog series will explain and discuss the complex world of IT, in words you understand.