Remote Workers and How to Manage Them Effectively

Thanks to improved technology, more and more employees have the ability to complete most or all of their work from home. Smartphones, tablets, teleconferencing, and WiFi-equipped bookstores and coffee shops have made this feasible. This presents a big advantage for employers: the more employees that work at home, the less money companies need to spend. Many companies, for instance, do not have assigned computers and desks for each of their workers because so much of their workforce is working remotely. In addition, employees working remotely tend to be more productive; they’re not wasting time and energy commuting to work every day. And they are not exchanging office gossip in front of the water cooler when in the office.

Remote Worker Challenges

Remote workers and contractors do present at least one considerable challenge to employers: It can be difficult for employers to effectively monitor the hours that their workers are putting in. How do employers know, after all, if their remote personnel are pounding away at their keyboards or playing Angry Birds on their smartphones all day?

Employers can take care of this challenge by setting reasonable deadlines for their remote employees and expecting these workers to meet them. What really should matter for employers is that work is done in timely manner. It should not matter if workers complete their tasks from midnight to four in the morning.

Setting Remote Worker Deadlines

Employers might tell their remote workers that they have to turn in a specified amount of work every Wednesday and Friday. This will make sure that remote employees are doing their work. Employers may also schedule regular updates by phone, video chat, or through instant messaging, during which workers can explain how far along they are with particular tasks. Some employers may choose to require that their remote workers spend at least one day a week, or two days a month, on site. This gives these workers face time with their managers, something that helps everyone stay focused on upcoming deadlines and goals.

Off-Site Not a Permanent Condition

While many people may have the personal discipline and time management skills to effectively work remotely, some don’t. So, if an employee doesn’t work well remotely, and that has grown to be obvious, remote working doesn’t have to stay permanent, it can easily be revoked. Ultimately, trust within the employee/employer relationship is among the key elements of a successful remote working relationship. The worker needs to maintain that trust by hitting deadlines and delivering high quality work.

Posted on: 04.18.12