How to Be a Successful Remote Workplace
If you’ve decided to turn your brick and mortar business into a remote work environment, congratulations! You are joining countless other companies that recognized that doing business virtually makes sense, both from a professional and personal perspective.
In the article “How a Company Works When 100% of the Staff is Virtual,” Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs gives her best tips on how companies can be virtual rock stars with a completely virtual team. So before you hang out your virtual shingle as a newly-formed telecommuting company, follow these tips to become a successful remote workplace!
Know whom to hire.
While you can hire just about any qualified job candidate when you have a traditional office, you’ll need to take your hiring skills to the next level when you’re considering filling a virtual position. Ideally, you should hire someone who has already had remote work experience—or at least has the skillset necessary to work from home. These include being a self-manager, a strong communicator, and a highly organized person. But even more importantly, you should find a job candidate who really, truly wants to work for your organization. A belief in your company’s overall mission will help keep your employee dedicated, loyal, and yes, productive.
Communication is key for any successful relationship, and never is it more so than when you have a telecommuting team. From passing along company highlights, to clarifying a colleague’s question, to even squashing some spatting between coworkers, it’s of the utmost importance to communicate with your team—and encourage them to speak with each other, too. To keep the lines of communication open all the time, you should also have regularly scheduled meetings, and frequent check-ins with your employees to see how they’re doing, and help resolve any arising conflicts.
Be flexible about hours.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits about giving employees flexible schedules is just that; they can customize their schedules based on the needs of their day. But if you want your workers to work a certain number of hours each day, then it takes away the flexibility they really want and need. So unless there are certain positions that must work a set schedule, you should really allow your employees to make their own schedules. And while it’s cool to have an employee in Boise, (and another in the Bahamas), you might want to assess how much of your team needs to be in the same time zone to ensure that they are all working on the same schedule, more or less. This will help reduce conflict among members of the team and is a key factor in ensuring successful remote workplace.
When you managed your staff in a regular office, you could always swing on by their offices and cubicles to see what they were doing—and what they weren’t doing. While the idea that “out of sight, out of mind” remote employees are goofing off at home rather than working is the deep-seated fear of every boss who is contemplating taking the telecommuting plunge. Which is really an unfounded fear at this point. Why? Technology makes it super simple to see which of your employees is working—and who isn’t. There are many ways to track your employees’ work productivity, such as cloud-based team management services like Sococo, which mimics a real office, with offices that employees can pop into to “talk” with another colleague. And you can always monitor their progress by having meetings and using other company-specific metrics.
Facilitate face time.
Most likely, your company will adopt one or two preferred methods of communication, such as email, instant messaging, and when things get really urgent, the good old telephone. But you should encourage employees who are geographically near each other to get together, for lunch or dinner perhaps—and the company should foot the bill for it. Annual in-person team and management meetings also allow colleagues to get to see and interact with each other in real life. While work will probably be discussed, these bonding sessions go a long way in helping workers make a connection to each other, their jobs, and your company as a whole.
In order to have a successful remote workplace, you’ll need to implement some tips and techniques. Before you know it, you’ll have a strong, dedicated team that likes each other, loves what they do, and will make your organization stronger, all thanks to telecommuting.
By Jennifer Parris | Categories: Remote Management