remote workersAre you seeking a way to enhance productivity in the office? Counter to what you may be considering, it may be beneficial for you to offer employees the opportunity to work remotely.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 24% of American employees are remote workers.  This growing class of employees is also an astounding 71% more productive than their counterparts working in the office.  But before you knock the cubicle walls down and tell everyone to go home, there are some systems and processes your company needs to support its remote workers and encourage productivity.

Encourage Productivity with Remote Workers

Becoming a virtual office can be very scary for employers.  Whether you turn off the lights altogether and tell everyone to work from home or you hire a handful of remote workers, there are many potential mine fields to navigate.  How do you ensure employees continue to do their job?  What if they become too distracted?  But when executed well, a remote work program can encourage employees to balance their lives.  Suddenly, parents are able to see their children more, there’s more time for the gym without a commute.  But how do you set up a system that works?  Try the following suggestions and your remote worker program will flourish:

  • Create a team environment in a wiki or a project tracking program.  It’s important for companies with remote workers to offer the same spirit of support and collaboration that would exist in the office.  It’s also important to make sure everyone is still involved in their projects.  Company wikis or project trackers are great ways for remote workers to catch up, rope people into ongoing projects, and offer insight into what they’re doing.  If this is a new tool for your team, there will be some period of adjustment and getting used to the technology, the new habits of tracking milestones, and communicating with others online.  But it can be very beneficial to your remote workers.  Nobody wants to feel as if they’re adrift in the company or that their only coworker has become the dog.  Encourage your remote workers to participate and collaborate online.  Without micromanagers or time wasters at the water cooler, find out just how much more productive your team can be.
  • Use video conferencing tools.  When your team is geographically dispersed, it can be hard to meet and go over project details.  This is where video conferencing can assist.  Video conferencing utilizes existing technology- a phone connection and video conferencing.  The difference is it allows team members to meet in a secure and branded environment for a fraction of the cost.  Take for example a company based out of Singapore- now they can meet securely and for a fraction of the cost- with their team members in Australia, America, or even Europe.  The possibilities are endless for these kinds of meetings.  Imagine town hall meetings on site where your satellite offices are conferenced in, board meetings, and more.  All of these are possible with video conferencing technology.  Remote workers don’t have to be left out of the loop anymore.  Now, they can be an integral part of the decision-making process.
  • Offer virtual HR assistance.  Many remote workers complain that their biggest gripe is not feeling a part of the team.  Your company can remedy this with a variety of online tools such as onboarding, training, and even reviews.  Remote workers can receive all the benefits that an onsite HR team can offer.  Encourage employees to make use of these tools to stay in the loop and develop professionally.  Working in the cloud has never been so easy and your remote workers will appreciate the opportunity to stay involved.

It’s Time to Think Differently

In the old days, companies had to have brick and mortar locations or they couldn’t survive.  Technology simply hadn’t advanced far enough to allow for workers to spend time at home and still do their job.  But today cloud based applications make it easier than ever.  The opportunities for remote workers keep growing as more companies are discovering how productive employees can be when they’re not in the office.  Whether working from your daughter’s soccer game or in an airport lounge, the barriers to productivity have been erased.  The key is to put a strong program in place to ensure your remote workers are supported and in constant communication.  Find out how productive your team can be with these simple but actionable tips.

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