22nd December 2015
By Gina Kershaw
We always champion remote working as a fantastic work practice to be considered by employers in all industries, but like anything, it comes with drawbacks. Can you trust your employees to crack on with their work, or are they sat on the couch watching Cash in the Attic and playing Candy Crush?
There are plenty of ways to motivate your staff remotely, and ensure that remote working doesn’t backfire. Take a look at our tips on how to orchestrate a harmonious and productive workforce without breathing down anyone’s neck.
Don’t forget to manage them
Whilst you might be confident in trusting certain members of your team to work well remotely, don’t forget about them and leave them to self-manage. Even the best of workers have problems, whether that relates to other team members, clients, family or health issues.
Double check that they have everything they need to do their job properly, and make sure they are not getting bogged down with work. Whilst good remote workers will be motivated enough to use the time they save commuting to get more done, if they become snowed under with work, they could become complacent and unmotivated.
Communicate with them regularly, stick to their appraisal dates and most importantly, be the type of manager they can approach when they’ve lost their focus.
Be open, honest and sociable
Remote working isn’t suitable for all roles or individuals, and as a result, offering it to select members of your team can cause resentment amongst staff. So, how do you tackle this tricky situation?
Be open and honest with your entire team, by bringing up the subject in a team meeting. Explain why you have allowed certain team members to work from home, which days they will be out of office, and how you will all remain in the loop with one another.
Having regular socials with your colleagues can strengthen the team ten-fold, and really boost motivation. As well as a chance for you to all let your hair down, it’s nice to learn more about one another in a non-work setting to share stories and experiences, whether that’s in a local pub or trendy new restaurant.
One team, one dream
Yes, it’s an awfully clichéd and cheesy phrase, however it’s important to remain focused as a solid unit working towards the same goal. If you have a team scattered around the city, or even globally, the wonders of modern technology mean there is no excuse to let this slip.
Set up regular conference or video calls, ensuring everyone contributes to the agenda and feels part of it. Allow time in each meeting to have some fun and catch up on personal lives; if your team meeting is something of a drag, your employees will dread dialling in and you don’t want that!
If your remote workforce do spend a certain amount of time in the office, then try to ensure that a percentage of your team meetings are face-to-face, and make it fun; organise some food and make it a sociable occasion.
During projects, you can keep in touch via email, or perhaps use a platform such as Slack, which enables you to group together those working on specific projects so they can instant message one another.
Get them organised
On paper, working at your own pace in the cosy confines of your own may sound like a dream, but it can be hard to motivate yourself. Whilst making sure every minute of the day is set in stone and planned, defeats the purpose of remote working, certain things can be done to make sure the day runs smoothly.
Set mini deadlines with your staff so that they have goals to work towards, and try to have them come in to the office on the same days each week. Setting deadlines also mean you can monitor their work on an ongoing basis too, ensuring their productivity is not slipping away.
Replying to emails can take up the best part of a day at times, so try to have your team allocate themselves a fixed amount of time in the day to do this.
So, whilst remote working has its fair share of setbacks, they can all be easily overcome with some careful planning and a bit of trust within the team. Once you’ve monitored things for 3-6 months, you can always return to your strategy to iron out any creases, and even see if you can accommodate any more remote working within the team.