5 Tips for Effectively Managing Flexible or Remote Employees
With the wealth of technology we have at our fingertips, it's undeniable that the future lies in flexible working. Employees now have the ability to work from any destination at any time of the day, and it's been proven to have a number of beneficial effects for businesses, not least a boost in productivity and employee wellbeing. If you're thinking of implementing a flexible working system for your employees, here are some top things and things to bear in mind:
Communication is Key
When employees are out of the office or working from remote locations, it can be a little isolating - for both the manager and the employer themselves. Be sure to have robust channels of communication in place for all of your flexible workers, and schedule regular sessions to catch up with them. There are so many ways it can be done nowadays, whether it's Skype, a phone call, an email thread or a video conference - try to aim for face-to-face contact at least once per week to ensure employees don't feel cut off.
Monitor Performance Levels
Implement a system whereby performance is monitored, to ensure that everyone can see progress is being made. Set concrete targets and KPIs that define how well an employee is using their time as a flexible worker - but if the targets are met, don't immediately remove all flexible working privileges. Work with your employee to find ways to improve the situation and boost performance.
Your employee will already know how to carry out their job, but flexible working also requires a number of other skills and traits - the ability to manage time and remain organised without a supervisor setting tasks is key. Providing training or e-learning in these areas can help increase productivity and give managers greater peace of mind, knowing that their worker is well equipped to deal with the challenges of flexible working.
Flexible Doesn't Mean Constant
One of the most important things for managers to bear in mind when working with flexible employees is that being 'flexible' doesn't mean that they're 'on call'. Try to recognise that people have a life outside of work, many with children and growing families, and these demands have often contributed to employees choosing to work flexibly in the first place. Try to restrict calls and contact to times when you?re sure the employee is actually working, to reduce the risk of stress and overload.