Managing Employees Who are Working Remotely

Dr. Ryan Giffen

Working remotely is nothing new, and many business professionals have carried out their everyday duties from home for years. There are several benefits to this type of work environment that both the employer and employee can benefit from. The employee has a more flexible schedule in most cases, with the freedom to work from any location. They are also able to save on travel fees. The company itself also benefits from having remote workers. They don’t have to have as much office space to accommodate as many onsite workers. Also, fewer employees take sick days when they already work from home. 

Helpful Management Techniques for your Remote Workers 

It’s widespread for employers to wonder if their remote workers are taking care of business as usual while they are working from home. But it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Here are a few tips for managing your at-home employees if you are new to the process. 

Do Not Worry That They Aren’t Working 

Those who have never worked from home often have a common misconception of remote workers. They believe those with remote jobs sit around all day and do the least amount of work as possible to get by. But that isn’t the case. Research shows that remote workers record, on average, around four more hours each week than their equivalents, which work on site. This information was taken from Gallup's 2013 State of the American Workplace report. There have also been similar studies conducted that show remote workers do as much as 13 percent more work overall than traditional workers. So, you can be assured that your reliable employees are just as loyal while working at home as they were in the office. 

Don’t Expect Them to Work the Traditional 9 to 5 

One of the most significant advantages of working from home is that remote workers have more flexibility and don’t have to stick to strict scheduling. That allows them to take care of other appointments and errands throughout the day, such as picking up kids at school, all without interfering with their work. While it is reasonable to ask your remote workers to be available during specific office hours, do not expect them to hold the same hours, including when they have their breaks or lunch, as they would if they were on site. 

Ask Them for Timesheets and Invoices 

Your remote workers may have more freedom with their schedules. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to have proof of the hours they have logged in. Be sure to request accurate timesheets regularly. That will give you more insight into what your workers are doing each workday. To make the process easier, there are many apps and software programs available that can help with logging time remotely. 

Request For Regular Face to Face Time Even if it is Still Remote 

While working from home has its benefits, being able to work with others in the same location can also be useful. Communication and socializing can help make workers more creative and assist with problem-solving. If your remote workers are in your local area, you could schedule some onsite meetings to touch base with your remote workers, so they feel less isolated. Communicating via Skype or other webcam services is also a good option for those who work from a long-distance away.