The trend toward having more workers spend more time working offsite is growing, according to a recent Gallup study of telecommuting.
Whether they’re full-time or temporary/contract employees, more and more of the workforce is embracing the flexibility that technology allows.
“Technology has made telecommuting easier for workers, and most companies seem willing to let workers do their work remotely, at least on an occasional basis if the position allows for it.” –Â Gallup
What’s this mean for recruitment professionals and company managers? What are some solid best practices you can use when it comes to managing and motivating full-time telecommuters?
- Have a conversation at the start. Whether it’s an established employee or a newcomer or contractor, have a dialogue when they begin telecommuting about expectations, scheduling, email, workflow and anything else that will help create effective and hassle-free integration. They’ll appreciate it, epsecially if you’re showing you’re interested in helping them be successful at the task.
- Never forget that telecommuters are often already motivated. They aren’t working from home (or the local Starbucks) to dodge work. They’re often energized by the flexibility and self-motivation involved. There’s evidence of how telecommuting actuallyÂ increases the level of engagement that white-collar workers feel toward their jobs. Whether that’s because of the benefits of being able to telecommute, or because those workers are more inclined toward engagement in the first place, isn’t clear yet. But be careful about challenging an offsite worker about their level of involvement – if they’re a contractor or temp, they might just jump to a different gig if you’re questioning their integrity.
- Set office hours and deadlines that work for the entire team. Telecommuters can set their own hours, but keeping their own schedule might mean they’re not aligned with managers or onsite coworkers. Never worry about setting parameters on when they should send emails, for instance. Or when they should share their work with others.
- Schedule regular and supportive check-ins. Whether weekly (at least) or daily, have a conversation with them toÂ make sure your remote workers are being efficiently utilized. But make clear you’re not “checking up” on them and playing work-nanny, but staying informed and even helpful about their workload and projects. Use the check-ins as a chance to show you’re there to support them and optimize their situation: How’s it going? Is there anything you need from our end?
- Use the tools. Skype, for one, is a good way to look in on them — and maintain a face-to-face collegiality and “human contact” that goes a long way. There are any number of collaborative work platforms allowing offsite and onsite workers to productively put their heads together on any given project, too.
- Ask their input. If they’re freelancers, temps or contractors, they can offer objective insights into how your projects, processes or even company culture operate. You might not get those from full-time, on-site workers, either because they’re intimidated about critiquing their employer or because they’re too “close to the work” to be objective about it.
- Include them in your workplace community. Too many times, the fact someone is telecommuting means they’re not able to be part of on-site celebrations, recognitions or other moments that help bond a team together. Try to find ways to make them feel included in the positive aspects of your company culture. They’ll appreciate the outreach and be even more engaged and loyal as a result.
Tags: Remote Employment, staffing insights