As businesses try to get more done and keep workers happy, more and more are offering flexible working options. Employees who work from home some, or all, of the time skip the commute and spend more time with loved ones. And the effect is very positive for business: workers do more and better work, and have better feelings about their jobs.
Even so, some employers and team leaders appear reluctant to embrace flexible working arrangements. They have concerns over employee management and may be uneasy about setting them loose to work in their own environment. When organisations put systems, processes and policies in place to manage mobile workers, there are typically few, if any, negatives to this model of working. We reveal how.
Give employees independence
Business leaders need to consider the potential benefits of giving their workers greater autonomy, and allowing them to work unsupervised at home.
Developing continuous communication – whether by email, instant messaging tools and video conferencing or over the phone – ensures homeworkers remain ‘in the loop’. This can also allay fears managers may have about workers being unleashed during the work day. If employees are operating away from the office, it is important that they check in regularly and keep their boss up to date on their work.
Cloud-based collaboration services make it easier than ever for team members to share ideas, work on documents simultaneously and see what others are doing. And the use of online tools ensures experiences, ideas and performance issues (good and bad) can still be shared, even if employees are not physically present.
Set targets for mobile workers
Giving mobile workers additional independence can be a positive step – it allows employees the freedom to find the way they work best.
But providing them with clear targets and tasks to complete is key. If not given enough to do, it’s possible that other duties around the house, like cooking or cleaning, may be distracting. Employees will always let you know if they are being given too much to do, but they are less likely to let you know if they are underworked.
Schedule face time
If it makes sense for your business, bring your mobile workers into the office periodically. This allows you to address any performance or management issues face-to-face, and also helps integrate teams more effectively.
New employees may enjoy putting a face to a name and getting to know the people who they work with online every day. It also reinforces the fact that the mobile worker is part of the team, and that operating remotely is a privilege afforded to them by their employer.
Provide them with the technology they need
Working remotely can be incredibly rewarding and add many hours to your day, but can also be very frustrating when you are not supplied with the technology to enable a good remote working experience. Invest in making their remote working experience a productive and pleasant one.
Have you thought about how telecommuting might add value to your organisation?