How to Leverage Remote Work for Your Business

In our last piece we talked about the challenges of remote work for employers. The good news is that there are many benefits to offering your employees the option of working remotely. It just takes time and some management flexibility to figure out ways to leverage remote work and make it work for your business.

One Benefit of Remote Work – Increased Productivity

Perhaps the first assumption owners and managers have about remote work is that employees will not work as hard when they are not working on site. This does not appear to be true, however. An older Stanford study found that employees who work at home actually improved their performance by 13%. Another survey found that remote workers work more than traditional employees – up 1.4 days a month. Of course, productivity depends on the person and the job. It’s not static.

How do businesses take advantage of increased performance and leverage remote work to their benefit? Below are our tips.

How to Leverage Remote Work for Your Business

Make your expectations clear – This is especially important if your company has both in-person and remote workers. You want every employee to understand what you expect of them explicitly. This will vary from business to business and manager to manager, but all employees should know what your policy is on checking in (when and how often), tracking their time, attending group meetings, and updating their team leaders on their work progress.

Managers must be transparent about when they will be available to their employees too. Employees should know when they can contact their manager and how long it will take to get feedback or a response based on the time of day or the seriousness of the issue.

Manage but do not micromanage – One very real benefit for remote workers is that no one is literally looking over their shoulder. The temptation for managers will be to overcompensate for the fact that they can’t see their employees working by continually asking for status updates, progress updates, or check-ins. This can be stressful and counterproductive for both parties. Pivot your management style to focus on employees meeting specific goals or outcomes rather than direct overseeing, using technology like time tracking tools and apps where necessary. If the work is getting done to satisfaction, on time, does it really matter what the employee is doing at 1PM? Or if they are working at odd hours of the day or night?

Some companies may find, over time, that it will help to create a managerial position focusing on their remote workforce. They may also have to modify their hiring process. Not every employee has the discipline or the temperament for remote work. For many, the traditional work space will have many advantages. A good manager will be able to hire based on employees’ strengths and needs.

Engage with remote workers – Not every worker needs hand holding, but regular emails, messages, calls, or video conferences can go a long way towards building relationships with employees, establishing accountability, and reducing turnover. Don’t assume that communicating via group video meetings or phone calls is enough. Regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings, as well as team meetings, and group meetings will help keep employees accountable and engaged. You don’t want to lose a great employee because they are wandering around in the virtual wilderness feeling unseen and unappreciated.

Use technology where possible – There are so many technology tools available to make planning, communicating, and information sharing simple. Video conferencing, screen sharing, document sharing, time tracking, and project management tools make it simple to get ordinary tasks done. It’s possible, with a little tweaking, to make video and messaging do the heavy lifting of maintaining company culture when some or all of the workforce is remote.

Don’t forget to encourage and motivate your remote workers – It’s easier to read body language in person and to get to know people when you see them every day. But if you want to retain and train your employees to become leaders within your organization, you need to make the extra effort to motivate them. Remote workers still need career development, training, and feedback. They also want recognition for their hard work and opportunities for advancement. Don’t forget about your remote workers just because you don’t see them as often.

Remote work is here to stay after COVID whether business owners and managers like it or not. By using the above tips, though, you can leverage remote work to make your business bigger and better for everyone – management, workers, and customers. If you are finding it difficult to make the transition, Prometis Partners is here to help. Call us today to talk about your challenges. It’s our job to help businesses grow and succeed.

Vincent Mastrovito

Vincent Mastrovito

[email protected]
(616) 622-3070
250 Monroe Ave. NW, Suite 400 
Grand Rapids, MI, 49503

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