As a small business owner, there might come a time when you’ll choose to have some work outsourced. Other times, you might have employees that work from home. During situations like these, it can sometimes be difficult to efficiently gauge your worker’s productivity and ensure that they are focusing all their efforts on the task at hand. Managing remote workers can be difficult, but is not impossible. Ensure and improve productivity with these tips for managing remote workers.
1. Develop a System for Communication
Depending upon the work being performed, your system for ensuring that work is being done properly or effectively can take form in several different varieties. You might receive daily email updates or samples of work to review, or you might schedule a time for a phone call to discuss work parameters. Regardless of the method you choose to keep in touch with your remote workers, as long as a clear and structured mode of communication exists, the chances that workers remain focused on their work is increased.
2. Schedule Time in the Office
It can be beneficial for remote workers to spend a little time in the office. Assuming the remote workers are local, this can be done on a weekly or monthly basis. It helps the worker feel more connected to the company and also fosters more communication amongst employees. Phones and email can be too impersonal, face-to-face communication affords remote workers the opportunity to learn more about other things going on in the company and also helps to develop an overall team feeling.
3. Give Remote Workers What They Need
Too many employers leave it up to their remote employees to outfit themselves with the tools they need to do the work. But just because the worker is not in the office doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have access to office resources. Make sure your remote workers are able to avail themselves of the same office supplies as everyone else, and enable them to install and use office software on their home computers if it is needed for the work they will be performing. You might even consider outfitting them with a new computer, with the understanding that it belongs to the company and is to be used for office work only.
4. Computer Monitoring
There is software available that enables employers to monitor any and all actions performed on employee computers, and also keeps a log that can be reviewed. This type of action typically needs to be disclosed at some point; it is usually done so in the employee handbook or office rules and regulations guide. Employees may not be to thrilled to know that everything they do on their computers is being monitored, but it certainly helps to ensure worker productivity and dissuade any unproductive behavior such as Internet browsing or spending time on Facebook.
Some types of software can be installed on the computers of remote workers, with logs sent back to a main database at the office.
When outsourcing work to contractors or other companies, you obviously wont have the same monitoring abilities as you would with your own remote workers. But you can still require check-ins, updates, and meetings scheduled to review work. After all, they are working for you. Sometimes they may need a little reminding, in a friendly, yet professional manner. It also helps to establish a deadline for work to be completed, or a general outline specifying when phases of a project need to be done.
Gwen Stewart is a business development professional and writer for Outbounding.com on behalf of ShareFile.com. Her line of work requires she have a reliable way to send files as well as a solid strategy for meeting tight deadlines. Any spare time she can scrape together finds her hiking, reading and enjoying the company of great friends.