This is a very strange time for many employers. Due to the pandemic and other factors, how people complete their work has changed dramatically. The biggest change has certainly been the fact that more people are working remotely than ever before. Remote work is very different from having all your employees in a central location. It can present unique challenges especially for small business owners. Here are some strategies for dealing with the change.
Consider Hiring Freelancers
One of the greatest benefits of allowing employees to work remotely is the cost. It has been estimated that doing so can save a business about 11,000 for each remote worker. Housing employees in an office is quite expensive. One way to stretch these savings even more is to hire freelance workers for remote work. You will be paying for the work on an order per order basis and will eliminate the costs related to training and employing full-time workers. This can certainly be helpful to small businesses with limited financial resources.
Supply the Right Tools Like Office Headsets
However, outside of the office, workers will not have access to everything they may need to complete their work. If your employees do a lot of work on the phone, you need to give them the ability to replicate that efficiency at home. One way you can do this is by supplying them with wireless office headsets that can allow them to speak to clients or leads on the phone while having their hands free to access the company network on a laptop or PC to complete their work. The best wireless office headset for your employees will be one with the remote answering feature built into the headset so you don’t have to purchase additional accessories such as an EHS cable.
Invest In Collaboration Software
Another tool you should consider providing your employees with is collaboration software. One of the disadvantages of remote work is that the members of a team will not be able to meet face to face to collaborate on a shared project. Collaboration software is designed to solve this problem by giving all the members of the team access to a shared digital workspace where progress can be made on a shared project. Team members will be able to discuss, critique, submit work and edit different elements of the project in this digital workspace. In many ways, the collaboration software is superior since it preserves everything that has been discussed and all the work that has been submitted on the project in one place where it can be easily reviewed.
Hold Teleconference Meetings
Meetings aren’t always the most useful way to spend company time. However, they have certain benefits in regards to remote work. For employees to develop a good rapport with each other, some face to face interaction is needed. Due to travel concerns and other reasons, this may be too difficult to do in-person. Thankfully, holding a teleconferenced meeting is easier than ever before thanks to the efficiency of new software. All those remote employees will be able to see each other’s faces and hear each other’s voices. This can create better understanding between the members of a team since much of human communication is nonverbal in nature. While you may not want to have such a meeting every day, holding teleconferenced meetings every few weeks can have definite benefits for your workers.
Track the Progress of Remote Employees
One of the downsides of remote work for businesses is the lack of direct supervision. Without this direct in-person supervision, managers may be left confused in regards to how to assess an employee’s progress with their job. You can solve this problem by creating more formalized criteria that can be tracked over time to determine whether or not an employee is excelling in their work. Make sure you have direct access to their work product and the ability to analyze their work with a data-driven approach. For sales personnel, for example, this would mean knowing exactly how many sales they are producing over given periods of time along with having access to the recordings of their calls. This can give you a more rounded view of how an employee is performing.
Remote employees pose special challenges for small businesses and employers of all kinds. However, if you are able to manage your remote employees correctly, you can increase efficiency, slash costs and increase your bottom line. Put in the right amount of effort to manage these employees properly and give them the tools they need to succeed in their work.