4 Tips to Track Your Remote Employees’ Progress Without Demoralizing Them 90

4 Tips to Track Your Remote Employees' Progress Without Demoralizing Them

This is a guest post by Michelle Dutcher, a social media manager with four years of related experience.

Through the past decade, the work from home option proved to be a popular bargaining power delegated to employees.

Contrary to the old-style corporate practice requiring employees to grind it out 9-5 exclusively at the business’ premises, employees are given more flexibility and breathing space as this millennium progresses.

On a collection of telecommuting statistics compiled by Global Workplace Analytics, below are the most revealing ones:

  • As opposed to part-time workers, work-at-home options are 4x more likely to be granted to full-time employees.
  • Telecommuting options are most likely to be made available by hirers from the Mid-Atlantic and New England zones.
  • Fortune 1000 companies, whose employees work remotely 40-50% of the time, rejigged their spaces for optimal savings.
  • The percentage of the workforce who teleworks at some degree is 20-25%

The rationale is this: it’s a seemingly win-win situation for both parties, especially office employees. They’ll enjoy some form of cost savings (e.g., transportation, clothing, food) on selected days, while shying away from the hassles of the busy city living.

Businesses, meanwhile, are said to be capable of enjoying $11,000 savings per worker each year simply by letting them work remotely half of the time, as per Global Workplace Analytics.

But what’s the absolute guarantee for employers that their trusted employees are performing up to expectations while at home? They just can’t rely on Inc. Magazine’s report that workers tend to be 20% more productive when working on a project remotely, as a stand-alone evidence.

You want to be strict with work quotas, but you don’t want to overdo it. If they sense that you’re doubting too much about their trustworthiness, it can backfire instead of help.

Below are four tips to track remote employees’ performance, without being perceived as a harsh manager or business owner.

#1: Instruct them when to alert you of their progress and queries.

By requiring employees to submit work or inform you of their progress at certain times of the day, you can expect to receive something that’s actually tangible and measurable by your company’s standards.

For instance, if you told an employee to ping you every 3 hours for reports, you can save time, effort, and energy in messaging them every minute or hour.

Employees will be more goal-driven, knowing that if they fail to submit consistently on those times of the day, his work from home eligibility will be under scrutiny.

#2: Put a premium on deliverables more than time spent.

laptop freelancer

What matters most is if the employee got the job done, in the same way he would’ve in an office setting.

  • Did he meet his working quota?
  • Was his contribution from home able to help team goals?
  • Did he perform up to par?

If it’s a “YES” to all these three questions, even if the employee only worked 4-5 hours, then that’s still okay. He’s exuding effectivity and efficiency at the same time.

At the end of the day, he’s done what he’s expected to do. So don’t focus too much on time actually spent working. It’s deceiving.

#3: Video conference when you feel like something’s wrong or lacking.

There’s just some work instructions that need to be discussed verbally. If you sense that tasks are complex by nature, then don’t hesitate to video conference for team-wide reminders and collaboration.

By having those conversations, your remote employees (be it essay writers online or any other type of telecommuting) will feel that they’re supported, boosting the overall morale of your team. Seeing your face will also remind them that you still got your electronic eyes on them.

#4: Have them install productivity and tracking tools.

I know an application that automates screenshots on employees’ home desktops. It’s somehow to deter them from doing things not related to work. But I think that’s a bit extreme, especially when it captures every minute.

When choosing the right tool to monitor remote employees, think of its collaborating properties first.

  • Will it allow you to work with employees on a real-time basis?
  • Will it foster creativity and imagination too?

Business.com relayed 11 productivity tools for your remote staff, with all of them backed by recommendations from acclaimed personalities in the Web.

As a wrap-up, employees deserve little concessions too, such that of work from home options. It helps rejuvenate their minds and bodies drained by everyday office work.

As a manager or figurehead in your organization, you want them to feel trusted while doing so. It’s through trust and mutual respect that employees are able to reach their potentials. But when that trust is breached, that’s the time to take action.

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 10

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

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Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.