The COVID outbreak turned remote work into the central operating procedure at many businesses. It became the salvation of many firms during the crisis and will likely play a key role in corporate life moving forward. However, the structure comes with tradeoffs. You have to build a meaningful infrastructure so that work-from-home becomes a shortcut rather than a detour.
Even before the pandemic shook up the economy, remote work represented a growing trend. Even in 2018, about 5 million people worked from home, according to a study conducted at the time. That means 3.6% of the working population.
COVID, of course, has accelerated this transition. An updated projection from Global Workplace Analytics, made after the outbreak, estimated that, by the end of 2021, between 25% and 30% of the U.S. workforce will engage in remote work at least a couple days a week. On the high end, that would represent an 8x increase from the pre-pandemic situation.
You need to catch up with these statistics. If you only have limited experience managing remote workers, you need to develop that skill set quickly. Here’s how to get the most out of your WFH workers:
Know Your Employees
Not everyone can thrive in a work-from-home structure. Some workers require constant supervision and the presence of on-site support. On the other hand, other team members reach their highest levels of innovation and productivity when they can maximize their self-sufficiency.
Knowing which workers you can empower is foundational to a successful WFH operation. It’s critical to know whether your workers can handle the challenges that come with remote operations. As such, create structures to understand your workers and your incoming job candidates more clearly. Make discovering remote-working traits a key component to your screening and interview processes.
Motivation, Not Micromanagement
Micromanagement often causes more problems than it solves. It slows down progress and stifles innovation. What’s more, it undermines team morale. At the same time, it becomes nearly impossible under work-from-home conditions.
Instead, turn to management strategies that leverage motivation instead. Empower your staff and push them to achieve as much as possible on their own.
Guidelines, Timelines, and KPIs
Just because WFH renders micromanagement impossible doesn’t mean you don’t have any tools to guide your staff. You still need to keep everyone on track – a task made extremely difficult when your team members are scattered to their individual homes.
The key is to set goals and constantly monitor progress. Establish transparent key performance indicators or KPIs. These represent the way you will judge an employee’s output. WFH makes it challenging to manage the production process. So, instead, you have to manage the results.
Foster Relationships Through Video
Staying connected is a core aspect of a remote-working scenario. Communication represents the beating heart of your WFH attempts. Use every potential medium to get the most out of your staff: text, phone calls, emails, teleconferences, and messaging tools.
Video provides the capstone of these efforts. Virtual meetings let you maintain team spirit, even though people can’t share a physical space. You can leverage video to stay connected, to build personal connections, and to underline the sense of shared goals. These factors give the medium added value, beyond what you could get through text and teleconference alone.
Build the Right Team
When COVID came, you didn’t have much choice. You had to send your team members home and find out the hard way whether they could succeed in a WFH situation. However, going forward, you have more control over the situation. You can purposely target the work-from-home skills as you make your future hiring decisions.
A staffing agency can help. A strong recruiter, like Recruiting In Motion, can help you build the ultimate work-from-home team.
Contact Recruiting In Motion today to find out more. Also, check out the eBook detailing the future of recruiting in the post-2020 world.