Remote working has become much more than just a trend, but rather an attractive alternative for businesses to hire top talent while reducing office overhead costs. The number of remote workers and employees working from home is increasing. The number of people telecommuting in the U.S. increased by 1,595 from 2005 to 2017, according to the American Community Survey (ACS) and Global Workplace Analytics.
Even office-based employees are now telecommuting. Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics says; “It’s important to note that full-time and even half-time telecommuters are among the minority. A far larger portion of the workforce, about half, works from home at least once a month.”
According to a Flexjobs survey, 76% of respondents wanted to telecommute 100% of the time. But trying to support these employees can be a challenge, particularly when it comes to increasing productivity for remote workers. How can companies make it easier to telecommute while still keeping employees connected and engaged?
Here are few best practices ensuring productivity in your remote workers:
1. Ensure Employees are Sufficiently Connected
Broadband access is going to be a must for most companies. If that service isn’t available, you may need to rethink the work-from-home strategy.
2. Modified Performance Evaluations
For remote workers, companies need to measure success through outputs, not face time or hours at the desk. Setting productivity goals for each week or month, and use those to gauge success.
3. Use Multiple Forms of Communication
Chat apps and video conferences can help keep employees engaged with each other throughout the day, and often provide a way to communicate questions or concerns more rapidly than email.
4. Establish Efficient Remote Technical Support
The IT staff should be able to access and view employee hardware and applications when there is a problem. This will minimize downtime and employee frustration. Cloud services can also help employees more quickly access and install needed business applications without time-consuming IT involvement.
5. Deploy Digital Mailroom Solutions
Companies still receive and process a lot of paper, and it’s unlikely that the physical delivery of documents can be easily extended to your telecommuters’ residences. In some industries, security and privacy requirements would actually disallow that. Using a digital mailroom solution, in which incoming mail is scanned and then automatically distributed to the correct employees/departments using intelligent software is key.
6. Embrace Using Digital Documents
The days of creating multiple hard copies and distributing them throughout an organization are over. By digitizing documents using enterprise-grade imaging equipment and document management software (and doing so as soon as they are created or received), companies can save time and reduce errors associated with having multiple copies of the same information.
Remote work and telecommuting can be a hurdle for some businesses. But with these six tips, your business can keep employees engaged, connected, and supported, ensuring you are meeting your workers’ need for flexibility while also improving productivity. Cloud resources and real-time communication technology can help streamline support while also maintaining a connection with the office. Digital document management and digital mailroom automation can further boost productivity by ensuring that these remote employees have all the information they need to do their jobs, while also avoiding the cost and complexity of managing physical documents.