Ever since the downturn of 2007 and 2008, the economy has been in what some would call a “shakeup” and what others would call a “smack down.” While it looks like the unemployment rate is continuing to head downward toward pre-recession numbers and lending is back on track, many of the ways in which businesses get work accomplished has been forever changed.
The freelancer has become an even more integral part of the workforce, and many employees now work from home â€” at least part of the time â€” rather than the office. If you utilize workers whose experience of commuting is walking from their bedrooms into a home office in order to get to work, you’re managing an entirely new type of workforce than you were just seven or eight years ago, and a different type of workforce has different needs. Here are five ways you can help your employees and freelancers improve their work at home experiences that will also benefit your business.
1. Assume They’re Keeping Regular Hours
Instead of keeping an eagle eye on remote workers or no eye at all, just assume they’re working the same hours as everyone located where you are. If you need to get in touch with them first thing in the morning, shoot them an email or give them a call. When the end of the day is drawing near, and you still need a report from them, wait until it’s officially late before checking in. Remote workers are usually just as responsible with their time and tasks as traditionally located workers, and their work benefits greatly by being treated with respect and deference.
2. Keep Them Hi-Fi
Freelancers and remote employees can benefit greatly from having access to the same high-tech tools your other workers routinely utilize in the office. From reporting software that organizes vast quantities of pertinent data â€” Windward has a number of options you can get more information on â€” to productivity software that can streamline remote workers’ processes, do what you can to ensure your work at home people have the resources they need to be as successful as possible. Doing so will make sure your company experiences greater success, too.
3. Stick to a Routine
If you need to touch base with remote workers on a regular basis, do so according to a routine. Working at home has its own rhythm, and while you should trust that the remote worker is working and always available to you during regular business hours, a routine respects the ways in which he is ordering his time, workload, and energy. Whether you choose to call and have a meeting over the phone every Monday at 8 a.m. or you both meet up with other remote workers via a Google Hangout every other Wednesday at noon, establish a routine and stick to it. You and your work from home crew will be better served by doing so.
4. Include Video Chat in Communication
There are a few major companies and corporations that prefer to avoid using remote workers, even though it tends to save businesses money. Why? They believe being in the same time and space with people yields better collaboration, better ideas, and better results.
While there is no true way to overcome distance â€” even with technology â€” incorporating video chat into your communication channels with remote workers will help achieve something more akin to being in the same room than other communication channels will. Getting to see another person while interacting with them makes the interaction more personal and more efficient. Even if you still primarily interact over email, incorporate a video call now and again to give everyone’s work a boost.
5. Act Like the Boss
One of the biggest benefits to being a work from home employee or freelancer is the ability to go about your business without fear that your boss or a manager might wander into your cubicle at any time to inquire about how you’re spending your time â€” an experience that almost always disrupts workflow and can create considerable anxiety. That being said, your work at home crew still needs you to act like the boss in order to best serve the company and their own interests in continuing to work for you. Set deadlines. Ask questions. Make suggestions. Listen. While you may in different places, your roles are still clear.
Managing remote workers doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow these five suggestions, and your work from home workforce will have everything they need to succeed.