One of the ways recent developments in technology has benefited businesses is telecommuting, or remote working, where more and more employees are able to work from home through the internet.
But remote working brings with it new problems which could actually hinder your business if the correct planning isn’t in place.
Here are our tips on how to make remote working work for your business.
Work apart, but together
Working remotely can be great, but working together in the same physical space still has plenty of advantages, such as making friends with colleagues and being more productive through being driven by the energy of those you work with.
You should try to have regular meeting times when each virtual worker can see each other’s faces. You should also give them an opportunity through technology to talk on a more social level, such as using a dedicated email chain or chat room.
Set up boundaries between home and work life
Remote working can be a lot like being self-employed, in that it can be difficult to distinguish between work and personal time. Not having a great work/life balance can really be demotivating and lead to less productive employees.
This problem can be magnified if you as their employer and other colleagues are making it more difficult to separate work and home life – for example if employees send emails at all times of the day or night.
You need to make it clear to all of your remote workers the times and hours they are expected to work for. It is also worth noting that rules on allowing your employees to take breaks also apply to remote workers, so make sure your employees know to take breaks every so often during the working day.
Work out communication methods between colleagues
Remote workers, by the nature of their jobs, often rely on email to communicate with colleagues. However, relying on only email for communication can lead to miscommunications, leading to less productive work.
While face-to-face isn’t as easy when employees are not in the same physical face, verbal communication is still very useful. It not only means communication is more effective and useful, but it can help make relationships stronger. Encourage colleagues to phone each other if it’s relevant to a situation.
You should also consider training your employees in how to use email more effectively in order to minimise miscommunications.
Decide how to use email effectively
People process information in different ways. While some employees might be good at answering emails as soon as they receive them, if the emails are coming constantly, it can be difficult to balance the time between replying to emails and actually doing work.
Take into consideration the way different employees prefer to be communicated with. For example, one employee might prefer to have one long email with every bit of information, whereas somebody else might prefer to have multiple shorter emails.
Remote working brings with it lots of possibilities. With these tips, the whole process should run a lot more smoothly.