Before COVID-19, remote work represented an option, or even a perk, for many businesses. Following the outbreak, it has become a necessity. The virus forced many companies to create telecommuting guidelines on the fly. Now that the strategy will likely become a permanent part of their corporate structure, they need to craft a detailed, effective blueprint to succeed.
The sudden spread of the coronavirus pushed many companies to adopt an improvised remote-work strategy. One survey found that 67% of employers who didn’t have a work-from-home policy hastily put one in place following COVID-19.
These companies have likely launched a long-term change. The initial moves toward a telecommuting program might have come in an ad-hoc rush. But now that the systems are in place, many experts expect the switch to a remote workforce to become permanent at many employers.
That means creating a process that can survive over the long haul. With that in mind, here are some telecommuting guidelines for your new remote business:
Create the Right Technology Backbone
Telecommuting is, at heart, a technological venture. The term is “telecommuting” after all…it only works if you can get the communication part right.
That involves having the right hardware and software in place. As you become more reliant on a remote workforce, you need to develop the right tech backbone. In other words, you need to select the tools you’ll need to get the most out of your telecommuting workforce. Here are a few themes to keep in mind:
Staying in Touch
You’ll need a flexible, reliable way to talk to your remote team. Big-name products like Microsoft Team, Google Hangouts, or Zoom can do the trick. But research the right software for your needs and make your choice standard across your organization.
You’ll also need a way to share documents and other information. Programs like Google Drive can form a quick starting point. Also, consider programs like DropBox to keep everyone on the same page.
You need to track the progress your remote workers are making in real-time. Productivity apps like Asana can help you do this effectively.
Provide Adequate Training for Remote Workers
Providing the right technology is only the first step. At the same time, make sure your employees are properly trained. This will help them reach their highest levels of productivity.
Don’t just send them a few links and rely on them to figure it out for themselves. Instead, provide them with the optimal hardware they require and give them the training support they need to get the most out of all of the tools that you provide.
Remote work relies on a strict “out of sight but not out of mind” process. You aren’t there in person to direct every moment of your employees’ day. As frustrating as it might be for you to lack that precise oversight, you’ll need to find strategies for management that give your workers significant tactical leeway.
Micromanagement, even in normal times, is often a counterproductive strategy. However, for telecommuting, it becomes downright impossible. You’ll need to set up a system that lets your employees handle little tasks on their own because it’s now too complicated or burdensome for you to direct every detail yourself.
The key to managing remote workers effectively is to create a workable long-term communications strategy. You want to maintain connection and oversight with your employees, without the communication itself becoming a time-wasting endeavor. To put it another way: you want enough communication to maximize productivity, but not so much that the act of communicating actually cuts into your workers’ potential output.
To do this, you’ll want to take a multi-pronged approach:
- Create a Daily Communication Routine: Schedule daily check-ins with your team to track progress and give them the opportunity to ask questions.
- Track Progress on an Ongoing Basis: Avoid surprises by closely monitoring how your employees are progressing on their current projects.
- Encourage Casual Contact: Formal remote meetings and progress reports are crucial. However, they shouldn’t represent your only communication. Encourage more casual contact as well. It will help build bonds and maintain the right team atmosphere.
Suddenly switching to a remote workforce involves a lot of unexpected adjustments. Having the right employees makes a big difference. By teaming with a strong recruiting partner, like TriStarr, you can find the kind of workers who can overcome any challenge.
Contact TriStarr today to start upgrading your team.