Technological advancements have made remote work easier, more seamless and more common than ever. More and more workplaces and workers are embracing it with open arms for various reasons. This new paradigm means managers are tasked with ensuring productivity remains at optimal level, while feeling pressure to ensure remote staff feel just as valued as those who are physically present.
To that end, managers should invest in doing the following;
- Begin with the end in mind: When introducing a telecommuting policy, it’s best to have an end goal in mind. For example, is telecommuting a means to boosting morale? If so, how will you measure that?
- Establish a rhythm—and stick to it: Some employees find communications, such as quarterly onsite meetings at headquarters, weekly video chat debriefs with a supervisor, phone calls or email exchanges to be part of the social contract in exchange for the benefits of remote work. Still, this isn’t always a substitute for face-to-face interaction or monitoring. The key is to find ways to evaluate progress while also making them feel valued and engaged.
- Objectively and consistently evaluate performance: Remote and on-site employees should be evaluated according to the same standards as to keep the playing field level. Effective managers have ongoing development conversations with the employees. They should be adept in identifying current skill sets and the employee development necessary to advance.
- Keep employees engaged: Technology, like Skype and instant messaging has made it more possible than ever to stay connected. Also, don’t forget to make the in-person interactions count. For example, if there are company-wide conferences, retreats or celebrations, make every effort to include remote workers in such outings.
Remote work arrangements are only going to become more common. The question then becomes, will you fight change or lean in to it?