If you run a business, then the recent emergence of new technology, work habits, and especially the pandemic of 2020 have affected how you need to operate. If you fail to adapt to these changes, you could fall behind in your market.
However, one of the challenges that business leaders are struggling with is managing their WAH (Work at Home) — or remote — employees.
Due to the unique dynamic and inability to be in-person with these employees, many human errors can occur.
To ensure you can maintain an effective and productive workforce without mistakes, in this article we will cover various strategies to consider.
That way, you can enjoy the benefits of hiring remote workers without the negative effects.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Clear Communication and Support Channels
Have your managers, team leaders, or whoever is responsible for outline employee responsibilities, manage dedicated communication channels.
This can be via email, phone, or online chat rooms such as Slack and Trello.
For instance, Trello allows you to keep track of tasks and deliverables. This ensures that management and everyone involved in hand-offs for key projects can view the progress instantly.
It enables them to communicate with team members and keeps your business running smoothly.
Simplified Decision-Making and Approval Process
In today’s fast-paced world, there are multiple business decisions that you need to make in a short amount of time.
First of all, customers have less patience than ever when expecting their problems to be solved.
Second of all, if your competition is able to ship their solutions faster, you will eventually lose market share because you’re offering less value to your customers.
So, the last thing you want is for your managers and leaders to be “bottlenecks” when it comes to approving certain actions.
As an example, you can simplify decision-making by empowering your customer service department to solve any customer problem that costs less than a certain dollar amount (such as $50).
This ensures everyone can focus on their core skills, from top to bottom.
Equip Your Team With the Proper Tools
If you find that you have key pieces of software or other tools that are crashing or causing delays, then you can’t blame your team.
They are only able to work with the tools you provide to them.
While it can cost a bit more upfront, investing in higher quality business platforms — whether it’s a CRM, email automation software, or any other tool — will save you time, and therefore money, in the future.
You’ll find that your team is happier and more productive, all thanks to thinking about the long term.
Hire or Promote Project Managers From Within
It is impossible to do a project in one piece. Each project — or business objective — is really a series of smaller tasks and mini-projects.
At the end of the day, someone needs to be solely responsible for ensuring that all the moving pieces come together.
You should assign a project manager for any key deliverable that your business currently has on the schedule.
If you don’t, you might find that a programmer takes forever to respond to a customer service agent about a bug, who might forget completely about the issue and not report it to upper management.
This is just one example out of many as to why project managers are worth their weight in gold.
Run Smart Meetings
Meetings are often touted as “unnecessary” or a waste of time by lower-level employees. However, this is typically because meetings are not run well by higher-level management.
Good meetings should be scheduled at regular times, so that all of your remote workers can fit it into their schedule and bring their best each time.
Furthermore, you should set clear start and end times to prevent the dread of a meeting running on and on without any relief in sight.
By doing this, you can still ensure that everyone is on the same page without antagonizing your valuable team members by wasting their time and energy.
As such, you’ll keep your processes running well and maintain your top talent.
Protect and Backup Data With Better Procedures
Data has never been more important than it is today. With so much business done online, via apps, and over email, the way you protect digital data is crucial.
If you have a breach or loss, it doesn’t just affect your immediate profits but also your long term credibility in your market.
Of course, human error is largely responsible for most instances of data loss.
Knowing this, the responsibility is truly on you and other business leaders to ensure you have systems in place to prevent this before it becomes a possibility.
At a minimum, be sure to outline the guidelines for data hygiene and a recovery plan in case something goes wrong.
That way, you can act instantly to correct the error and protect your data and that of your customers.
There are many proven benefits of having remote workers on staff. This was true even before 2020 forced many businesses to do it anyway.
However, there are also potential mistakes and pitfalls to avoid.
There can be lapses in communication and organization, causing key team members to fall behind on their deliverables and other project tasks.
Furthermore, you may miss out on a sense of community and cohesiveness.
In order to counteract these effects, be sure to implement the several tips above. That way, you can make your job easier while focusing on the higher-level business objectives that can really move the needle on your bottom line.
About The Author
Jen McKenzie is an independent business consultant from New York. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie