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.
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.