Remote work has become extremely popular in the last decade or so. With the advent of technology, companies have been able to save millions of dollars by hiring remote workers. American Express reported savings of more than $10 million by hiring remote workers.
Most people also voluntarily choose to work from home to cut on commuting time, save on transport expenses, and create more time for their spouses, children, and family.
Who is a remote worker?
A remote worker is a person who chooses to or is assigned to work outside of the traditional office environment. Rather than commuting to the office each morning, this person does his job from the comfort of his home. Many such workers interact with their peers and supervisors with the help of the internet.
Challenges faced by remote workers
Remote work does come with its challenges though. Some of these challenges include:
Work-life balance means maintaining a healthy boundary between work and your personal life. Since the remote worker works from home, there is a likelihood of boundaries between work and personal life merging, which can cause emotional issues.
Differences in Time Zones
Sometimes, workers and clients reside in different countries and time zones, which may pose a challenge while trying to beat a deadline or scheduling one-on-one conversations. On the same note, the worker may also have to stay awake during odd hours which might compromise his health.
Focus and Engagement
In a traditional office arrangement, there is usually a supervisor who keeps an accurate track of the progress and performance of each worker. Other than that, the office has its own schedules, reporting times, and an office ambiance away from distractions, where it is easier to focus. The opposite applies to remote workers.
The typical home setting has numerous potential distractions. From small children to friends and neighbors, and entertainment, the list of distractions is endless. These distractions are largely avoided in a traditional office setting.
Remote work requires self-discipline and self-motivation. There are no colleagues around you who can give you that little push and motivation on a bad day.
Managing remote workers
Although, there might be a few challenges when it comes to hiring remote workers. The benefits far outweigh the challenges. If managed well, remote workers can save your company a lot of money and give you access to some of the best talent in the world. Here are some ways to manage remote workers:
- Do not micromanage
Many people who choose to work remotely do so due to its flexibility. Remote workers value independence and personal freedom more than anything else. Hence, it is wise to resist the temptation of micromanaging them. Give them the space to figure out their work for themselves. Focus on the result rather than the process.
- Establish a system to track time
It’s common for remote workers to slack off if one does not keep track of their time. If you are hiring remote workers for a monthly salary, it’s only fair to keep track of their time. Several apps can easily track time; some of them include Time Doctor, Paymo, and TimeCamp.
- Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings Regularly
If your remote employees don’t live in your city, then schedule video calls at least once a week. It builds discipline, trust and sense of belonging with your remote workers.
- Cutting back on social media
Social media is perhaps the single most significant cause of distraction in our day to day lives. This is especially true for those who work on their computers or use the internet extensively in their daily lives. Try to have some policy where access to social media during work is restricted.
- Plan Out Daily Work Schedules
For your employees to deliver high-quality outcomes, advise them to plan out their daily work schedules in advance. Before they go to bed, they should know the tasks that are due the following day and what is expected of them. That way, they will have more clarity and organization with their work.
- Prioritize Tasks
Also complementing the above is the need to prioritize tasks. This means assigning importance or levels of significance to the various tasks and ranking them in descending order. After that, they should tackle the most difficult tasks first and finish with the least critical ones.
- Compartmentalize the Office and Living Space
One of the ways of minimizing distractions and ensuring a favorable work-life balance is to draw a line between the home office and the living space. Advise your workers to dedicate a particular room to work and nothing else. They should treat that room as they would a traditional office; or even better, give them a small allowance where they can rent a co-working space close to their home.
It is possible to work from home and still be productive. A lot of times, managers are not skilled to manage remote workers. It takes a certain mindset, company culture and a different kind of skill to manage remote workers.
About the Author :
Tope Longe a Content Marketing Specialist at Time Doctor – a time tracking and productivity monitoring software designed for tracking hours and productivity of remote teams. He’s a lover of visual content and marketing automation technologies. Follow him @temitopeLonge