Working remotely is something that’s becoming more and more popular at companies and organizations. But from a management perspective, it requires a bit of extra consideration. When you can’t see that employee, how can you be sure they’re actually getting their work done? And with them being out of the office, how can you make sure they still feel engaged?
Those are just a few of the things managers need to think through, but according to Anna Hofmeister, Partner at Tate & Tryon, Nicole Banks, Associate Director of Membership at the American Welding Society, and Kimberly Mosley, President of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, there are actually 10 key variables managers need to take into account when working with remote employees.
Here’s a recap of those variables, which they presented (along with a lot of other great info!) at the American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) 2018 Annual Meeting & Exposition:
1. Work environment
- Will the employee have an environment to work in that’s going to be conducive to work?
- Will there be any background noise (children, pets, etc.)?
- What needs to be put in place (hardware, software, security, etc.) in order to allow the employee to work well?
- Will the employee use their own hardware or hardware provided by your organization?
- What security precautions will be put in place?
- Will they need to sign something saying they’ll comply with security rules (ex: updating their passwords regularly)?
- Does the employee have a personality that will allow them to work well from home?
- Note: Not all people can work well at home. Some people work better when surrounded by other people.
4. Work style
- What does the employee’s work style look like?
- Are they an independent worker?
- Will you need to check in regularly?
5. Work hours
- What will the employee’s work hours look like?
- Will it be ok for them to work 4 p.m. to midnight if that’s when they perform best?
- If so, what does it mean when a project is due EOD? For many, EOD might be 5 p.m., but for them, it might be midnight.
- How will you manage the remote employee to ensure their work is actually getting done?
- Will you require them to complete tasks daily? Weekly?
- Will you require them to submit weekly reports (Here’s what I did this week…)?
- How will you communicate with the remote worker?
- Through email? Slack? Zoom?
- How frequently will the employee need to check in?
8. Work/life balance
- How will you ensure the employee doesn’t experience burnout?
- Note: When some people work from home, they have trouble “shutting down” in the evenings. How will you ensure they’re stopping at a certain time to maintain a healthy work/life balance? What behavioral cues can you keep an eye out for?
9. Maintaining staff engagement
- How will you make sure remote employees still feel included?
- How will you build that personal relationship?
- What will in-office events translate to for them?
10. Defining expectations
- Note: Nothing is more important than this!
- How will you define expectations to make sure it’s a good arrangement?
There’s a LOT that goes into managing employees - both in-office and remote. And as a manager, you know that success starts the moment a new employee starts. You MUST onboard them effectively.
For tips on how to do just that, check out our free guide, Best Practices for Onboarding New Staff!