One of the amazing perks about living in today’s technological world is that some industries can employ a remote staff. A remote employee is someone who is a company employee working outside of a standard office environment. Examples may include working from home, a coffee shop or even halfway around the world.
There are many advantages to this type of staffing. Being able to hire from a global pool makes the talent selection more desirable. Telecommuting also saves companies money by enabling them to cut down on expenses like utilities, mortgages, leases, coffee and water expenses, office equipment and furniture purchases. Another way it saves money is the lower turnover because of increased employee morale and fewer absences. In addition, employees are more likely to finish their workday after non-work appointments when working remotely. This is a distinct advantage over losing an entire day’s productivity.
As for the companies that send team members on business trips, each one can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Communicating virtually using online software and tools is a much more efficient alternative.
There are, however, downsides to having a team working remotely. There is a different set of skills that need to be honed when standard forms of communication are taken away. Things people normally take for granted now have to be given specialized attention.
Sticking to a daily routine is highly advised, even when working in a non-office setting. It’s a good idea to set a space and time that is just for working. This will help with productivity and make you feel more accomplished. For meeting times, it’s important that everyone is on the same schedule, which means taking into account time zones.
Accountability is also extremely important. There is a sense of pride that comes from meeting deadlines and crossing items off a to-do list. Likewise, as a manager, it’s important to know that you have team members who are still adhering to a responsible schedule despite nontraditional working conditions. Hours should be tracked, in addition to other metrics of productivity that are exclusive to your company.
People who are not part of the community of a typical office environment might feel left out or under-appreciated. As a manager, it is important to check in with your team, not just to ensure they are adhering to project deadlines, but also to let them know that they still have value. In addition, when asking for work assignments or notifying them about company policies or changes, be sure to include the “Why” so they feel a sense of participation in the direction the company is taking.