Technology has allowed for more flexible and customizable work environments. The cloud, communication tools like Slack and Skype, and project management tools like Trello and Basecamp all greatly contribute to the success of a remote workforce.
Working remotely enables employees to feel less stress from commuting, have a more comfortable workspace to better focus on tasks, and enjoy a more balanced work-life routine. For business owners, remote work reduces operational and overhead costs and provides access to a wider pool of talent, thus improving productivity and ROI.
However, despite the advantages, working remotely has pitfalls. Here are five issues that businesses should avoid with a remote workforce.
Mistake #1: Lack of communication
One of the biggest threats to a remote team is communication. There is no shortage of communication and project management tools available, but their sheer volume might cause some information to be overlooked or missed. The lack of one-on-one time also makes it hard for employees to reach their colleagues or managers for quick clarifications. This may lead to feelings of isolation and disconnect with the team, which can spiral into low productivity that can affect end goals.
Your business should adopt reliable communication tools that the rest of the team will be able to easily access and comfortably use. For example, use video conferencing for important meetings, especially for employee evaluation and feedback. Chat or text if you need to send out daily updates, a quick volley of ideas, or small talk. Email progress reports and project submissions and use phone calls to clear more confusing situations.
Mistake #2: Failing to set ground rules
So many distractions come into play when employees work remotely. That’s why managers should set ground rules. For example, employees should be available and focused during working hours. They should minimize distractions such as attending to their family’s and friends’ concerns, doing household chores, and using social media and streaming sites. At the same time, employers should respect their employees’ working hours and avoid assigning tasks beyond those hours.
Mistake #3: Absence of clear goals
With the ease of working remotely on the cloud, there’s a danger that some employees will abuse this privilege. Managers need to be able to monitor the daily progress of their employees. They can also create boundaries for how involved they will be in the team’s day-to-day projects.
Take time to set clear goals for your employees on a weekly or monthly basis. Put this in writing. Having this agreement between you and your employees will encourage them to be aware of their job performance. Do regular follow-ups and ask employees to submit progress updates on the work they have done.
Mistake #4: Loss of motivation
Just like with office employees, businesses need to keep a healthy working environment to constantly motivate remote employees to perform well. This can be more difficult since you can’t see them and must rely on virtual communication.
To keep remote employees engaged, communicate with them frequently to keep them in the loop at all times regarding projects, tasks, and procedures. Conduct performance appraisals via video conferencing and give positive feedback where due and tackle issues that need to be addressed immediately. If your employees excel in their work, recognize their efforts or maybe even reward them for their exemplary contribution. You could also provide incentives when they meet certain targets.
Mistake #5: Inadequate IT security
Employees working remotely with their own devices can raise security concerns for your business such as opening your system to viruses, malware, data breaches, and malicious cyberattacks.
Partner with a managed IT services provider (MSP) to help your business plan, monitor, maintain, and secure your network for optimum performance.
JAD Technologies can help you enjoy the benefits of remote working using the cloud. Our comprehensive cloud services can be custom-fitted to your needs. Give us a call now.