Whether you have been thrust into running your small business in a remote work environment or have already been functioning that way, we understand that the way things are done in a remote work environment are different than a traditional office setting.
Remote workforce, flexible schedule, telecommuting… whatever you want to call it, are all part of the same concept, having a workforce, or a portion of the workforce, that isn’t in the office. With technology at our fingertips and good talent harder to find, more and more companies are moving to a remote workforce.
While more and more companies are utilizing the advantages of remote workforce, such as lower overhead and less absenteeism, managing a remote workforce also presents a different set of challenges. Communication is key nearly to the point of overcommunicating at times in order to establish clear expectations around performance standards and overall project progression. As a manager or business owner, trust in the people that you’ve hired to do their jobs is imperative, or remote working simply won’t work.
Team engagement is important in a remote workforce and it is up to the manager of the team to create that engagement. Whether through regularly scheduled calls, regular posts into the communication channel that you use, or using technology to your benefit, management must be consistent but not micro. In a remote environment, you aren’t walking by someone’s desk or seeing them at the coffee machine to be able to chat and connect, so it is important to be mindful around engagement and communication.
However, with the technology and accessibility, it can be easy to stay connected and forget that someone may be off for the day or on vacation. Resist the urge to reach out to remote employees when they are not working and support their disconnect time.
In a remote work environment, the focus needs to be on outcomes, not time spent at the computer. With a remote workforce, it is imperative to set clear performance standards and hold people accountable to those standards. It shouldn’t matter if they are at their computer from 8am-5pm, what matters is that they are meeting the requirements and performance outcomes. When that happens, people are free to balance their life and their work in the way that works best for themselves.
It is important to set expectations and standards around communication such as where to take calls, background noise and images when on video calls with clients or people outside of the organization. Internally, we all know that everyone has a life and when working from home, that doesn’t go away, so it isn’t uncommon to hear a dog bark and children laughing on our calls, so embrace it.
Logistics around Human Resources policies and practices are different in a remote environment, particularly when it comes to compliance, recruiting, onboarding, and even separation of employment. Business owners must pay close attention to the intricate details of the company policies and standards set, in order to create and maintain a positive and productive virtual workplace.
When you are hiring a remote workforce and looking for the right talent fir to join the team, geographical location typically doesn’t matter. However, having employees in different states does create an additional layer of compliance complexity, and places the employer under multi-state employment laws.
Keep in mind that not everyone can work remotely and that is something to consider through your recruiting process. Working remotely can be isolating and lonely for some people, but it can be freeing and empowering when managed appropriately. A great alternative is working wirh a co-working space and setting up spaces for people to go to at a lower overhead cost than a full office.
Employers Advantage understands the unique human resources needs of the remote workforce, and we have developed a remote workforce HR Support package so that all of those areas are covered and managed for you.