In my office, there is one thing that every one of my employees is clamoring to do: work from home. What once was a idealistic dream-job opportunity is now far more realistic, as effective mobile hardware and unified communications tools have become more affordable and available for even the smallest of businesses. Even long-held beliefs that telecommuting makes for a black hole of productivity have largely been debunked. In fact, a Stanford University study found that remote workers can be 13 percent more efficient than their on-premises counterparts.
Still, though, if your company is considering a comprehensive telecommuting strategy, you have some serious planning ahead of you if you want to make it work. Taking a loosey-goosey approach to letting your employees get their work done without leaving their beds, cats and leftover pizza behind can blow up in your face pretty easily. Make sure you're prepared for the possible pitfalls of a remote workforce.
Committing to communication
I communicate with my close coworkers by yelling their name from my desk and waiting for their answer. For your more distant workforce, firm communications guidelines have to be set. Do they just IM you when they have a problem, or do they give you a call every hour on the hour? Sit down with them and work out how you will talk when you're here and they're there.
As Entrepreneur writer Kim Shandrow suggested, one of the hardest parts of having a telecommuter for an employee is keeping tabs on their daily work. Are they working toward their deadline, or are they catching up on "True Detective?" Without standards set in stone to chart their headway, you may never know. Thankfully, there are plenty of cloud-based software options for you to observe their work as they do it.
Work out not only what hardware is needed to make sure your working-from-home employees can stay productive, whether it's a laptop or Wi-Fi access, but also who is going to provide it. Give them everything you can to let them know you've invested in their comfy workday, and for everything else, they need to understand what they need to bring to the table.
Your employees need to make sure they have the tools they need to communicate seamlessly. Telecommuting works best when employees have the same tools regardless of location. The goal should be that people outside the company shouldn't be able to tell if your employees are working in or out of the office.
Technical difficulties can stop a telecommuter's workday in its tracks. Ensuring that your UC and business communications solutions are up to the task is, then, of paramount importance. For these concerns and more, give a Fonality specialist a call today.