When you have all of your workers centrally located in one office, it’s easy to see how productive they are; whether they are engaged at work or not. After all, you can just pop into a staffer’s cubicle to see if he’s hard at work, or just simply clicking and commenting on his friend’s’ photos on Facebook. But what happens when your remote workforce is spread out all over the country—or even the globe? Without visual cues, it’s almost impossible to tell if your workers are working or slacking, right?
There are many non-visual ways in which an employer can use to ensure that his staff is not only working hard, but is happy with the company, too. Here are just a few ways to tell if a remote worker is engaged at work or slacking off.
He communicates regularly.
One of the most important skills that a telecommuter can possess, apart from the skills needed to do the job, is the ability to communicate. Sans an actual office, having a worker who can come to you with both good (and bad) news is extremely important for the success of your team and the company as a whole. From asking for clarification on certain projects, to giving you an update on his progress, to even just reaching out to say hello, a remote worker who openly communicates is an engaged one.
He meets deadlines.
A big bonus of flexible work is that your remote employee is able to completely customize his work schedule. If he needs to shift his hours so that he can attend his daughter’s soccer game, he’ll be able to catch up and finish that report later on. That’s why a remote worker who is happy with the company will make sure that his work gets done—and not only done, but done well, too. He will review his work before he submits it to ensure that it’s not sloppy, and takes pride in what he produces for the company.
He volunteers once in a while.
Even if it’s not part of his job description, a remote employee who is engaged at work and invested in the company will volunteer his services every now and again. From pitching in to help a coworker finish a project to even wearing a tee shirt with the company’s logo on it, he shows effort to be a part of the team and goes above and beyond to show his loyalty to the company and its mission.
One of the fears that an employer who is new to the idea of workplace flexibility might have is that once he lets an employee work from home, he’ll never hear from him again. He’ll have to hunt him down to ask him a question, and he won’t know what he’s working on—or when. When you hire a remote worker with previous work-from-home experience, (and one who is happy with his job, to boot!), you won’t have to worry about getting in touch with him. He’ll let you know if he’s going to switch up his schedule and work later in the day, or if he’s hit a snag with that assignment you gave to him. He responds fairly rapidly via email or IM, and if it’s urgent, he’s available to jump on a quick call with you.
He asks questions about the company.
A dedicated worker is not only focused on the tasks that are assigned to him as part of his telecommuting position, but he’s also interested in the company as a whole, too. He makes an effort to find out what’s going on (professionally as well as personally) with other members of the team, what other groups are doing as it relates to the whole company, and what direction the company is headed in. He believes strongly in the company’s core principles, and his curiosity not only shows a vested interest in the organization, but his loyalty as well.
When a remote worker is happy with his remote job, it will show in a variety of ways. Being aware of some of these clues can help you assess if your remote worker is engaged at work or not. These tips can even help you create some job interview questions that will help you in the hiring of remote workers in the future, who will be happy to work for your company!