Posts

How to Manage Newly Remote Workers in Your Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | How to Manage Newly Remote Workers in Your BusinessIn these uncertain times, more and more of your employees will become remote workers. In many cases, this will be a straightforward transition in terms of technology and logistics. However, there can be some other underlying challenges along the way. It’s not just businesses that face difficulties when it comes to working from home; it’s the employees themselves. So how do you mitigate these to get the right balance for both the business and workers?

Take a look at some of the common challenges of remote working and how you can resolve them to create a harmonious balance.

Challenges of remote working

To understand how to make remote working a successful practice for your business, you need to understand the challenges it presents. The main areas to focus on include:

Lack of face-to-face interaction and supervision

While research indicates that many people are productive in a remote setting, supervisors often worry that employees won’t be without supervision. On the flip-side, employees may also lack confidence when there is not someone available to offer support and guidance.

Issues accessing information

In the workplace, we just chat to someone or pick up the phone to get the information we need. This immediacy of information is something that is not always available when you’re working remotely. While it should be just as simple, there can be interpersonal challenges to overcome.

Home environment distractions

Naturally, at home, there are a lot more distractions to deal with, especially if children are also at home. At this time, managers should expect a different remote working environment to normal as many people are in sub-optimal conditions as they transition to this type of work. Supervisors may also need to compromise with more flexible working arrangements while employees are juggling home and work life.

Increased loneliness

This is one of the most understated challenges of remote working, but it is one of the most common complaints. Workers may struggle to deal with the lack of connection that comes from being in the workplace, and the longer remote working ensues, the more this can impact someone’s life.

How employers can support employees with remote working

There are several ways to face the challenges mentioned above to ensure your employees feel happy in this new working environment. By making small adjustments and inexpensive alterations, you will also see an increase in productivity.

Take a look at some of the primary ways you can support your remote employees:

Create structure in the working day

Much like if they were in the office, create a structure such as check-ins and catch-ups to ensure everyone is happy with their workload and daily tasks. However, this shouldn’t feel like you’re checking up on them. You could also make this time a collaborative effort by involving everyone on the team. This time could include a morning brief or team meeting to help sort out issues anyone is facing. Plus, it gives everyone a chance to catch up without it feeling too formal.

Monitor their working conditions and encourage healthy habits

While it might be ok in the meantime for employees to be camped out on the kitchen table with a laptop, after a while, their health may be affected. Happy and healthy employees are more productive, and although they are not in the workplace, it is still a good idea to care about their working environment and wellbeing. Help them make a better choice about where they work in their home, such as dedicated space. Allow them to take an office chair home to encourage better seating. If they spend a lot of time on the phone, supply a specialized case with EMF protection to minimize harmful radiation to the body. Other things to consider is whether they have a break during the day, as getting away from screens can be more challenging at home.

Create boundaries for everyone

One of the most significant frustrations for remote employees is it can feel like they need to be constantly on-call. To avoid this, think about when they are working in the office. If they have an important task, they are usually given ample time and space with limited interruptions to complete it. The same should be done in a remote setting. If employees feel they are getting urgent requests and even messages to their phones every five minutes, this will affect their overall productivity and willingness. Boundaries should be set on in regards to messaging services used by your company. It’s great to have functionality such as Slack or Zoom available. Still, it is not viable to expect an immediate response from someone every second of the day.

Encourage vigilance surrounding company information

Your remote employees will have access to everything they need at home, so security is an important area to think about. If you handle sensitive data, establishing secure connections and remote access to company data is vital, but this isn’t all you need. You also need to ensure that a risk assessment is in place should information be compromised in any way. To encourage better data and security management, suggesting a dedicated space to work is an excellent idea. This helps to keep work information away from home life.

Provide emotional support when needed

The mental well-being of your employees is paramount. They’ve had to deal with a lot in the past few months, and the ‘new normal’ is unlikely to change much going forward. Stress will be natural alongside frustrations with other remote working aspects. To assist with this, be sure to provide emotional support when it is required. It could be a case of merely asking questions to help employees talk about their experiences, or providing information on where they can get specialized assistance.

Everyone should be aiming to get the best out of remote working as possible, but times are hard, and stress is high. By working with your employees to create a balanced and respectful environment, you can all learn and grow together during this period.

Building A Team Without Taking On Employees

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | Building A Team Without Taking On Employees

Getting to the stage when your business is ready to start building a team can be a great achievement. Not only will you have already proven yourself and the concept that your company is built upon, but you will also be getting to the point that you can feel secure in your business. Of course, though, taking on employees is extremely expensive, often taking up the vast majority of a small company’s resources. This doesn’t have to be the case in the modern world, though, and this post is going to be showing you how to overcome this sort of issue with a business of your own.

Freelancers

Freelance work has been increasing in popularity over the last couple of decades. With the web enabling people to work at home and look for opportunities outside of newspapers and job adverts, it’s become easier than ever to take on a team that you don’t have to directly employ. Tools like Snupit make it incredibly easy to find freelance employees without having to spend weeks searching for them. Thousands of workers are on sites like this, making it much easier than you might expect to find freelance workers that won’t come with the cost of hiring someone.

Remote Employees

While permanent employment is an expensive game for businesses, looking at the idea of remote employees can be a good way to save some money. You will still have to pay to hire them, including things like pensions and health benefits, but you won’t have to fork out the costs of additional office space. People are getting more and more used to working at home, making it a great time to start looking for employees that can work from their own place. As time goes on, this sort of work routine is only going to get more popular, especially if companies continue to push for it.

Service Businesses

Service businesses make it possible to have the jobs that you would usually hire someone for covered by someone else. There are companies that can handle your marketing, web design, tech support, and a wealth of other services that you would usually have to hire a dedicated employee to handle. Not only does this make it cheaper to run your business, but it also gives you the chance to improve your productivity without having to hire more people to work for you. It’s always worth reading reviews before you choose to pay for something like this, with many companies offering very different levels of service.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of building a team without employees. This sort of process can be tricky, with many companies finding themselves struggling when they can’t afford employees but need to take on a team. Thankfully, though, the modern world has you covered.

Why Outsource To Grow Your Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Outsourcing|Why Outsource To Grow Your BusinessAll businesses have one main goal: to grow. There are lots of ways for a business to grow, but the big question is, should you outsource your operations or perform them in house in order to grow most effectively?

Outsourcing is the strategic use of outside resources to perform tasks usually handled by internal staff.

Why Outsource?

There are many reasons to outsource, including cutting your costs, improving focus within your company, and making sure you internal resources aren’t over-stretched and are allocated to tasks that are fundamental to your business. There are also some requirements to meet if you’re going to outsource successfully.

The basic principle is to make sure that activities that carried out inhouse actually add value to the business, and tasks that are outsourced are ones that can’t be managed by your existing, such as to manage IT providers. To outsource successfully, do your research and make sure you have these things:

  • Clear goals for the company
  • A clear plan for the business
  • A clear selection process for the people you outsource to
  • A plan for how to keep in touch with your contractors
  • Clear and properly written contracts

Is Outsourcing Practical?

Outsourcing means more efficiency. We’ve all heard the saying ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. Managing multiple tasks at once time means the productivity drops. Counteract this by outsourcing.

By moving tasks off your plate, outsourcing makes you more efficient and more productive. What it doesn’t do is cause you to lose control over your business. Outsourcing activities like content marketing, bookkeeping, and admin is popular with business experts, and can all help your business to grow. Outsourcing based on the areas that your company is developing in can help you be more successful, and save you money in the long-run.

Outsourcing can be a solution to operational issues too. If you outsource non-core business functions, you have more time to focus on the things that are core to your business. It also allows you to seek out the best people for the job without time constraints and geographical boundaries.

Another big reason to outsource is to cut your costs. Outsourcing also improves your company’s ability to be flexible and innovative, as you will have access to ideas and knowledge at the cutting edge of different business areas. Outsources lets you form partnerships with those at the forefront of innovation, keeping your company in the lead.

Reasons Not To Outsource

Despite the many advantages, outsourcing is not the right answer for everyone. Some people feel that outsourcing is not the answer. One concern is one of quality control. If you don’t employ in-house to take care of business functions, then it is much harder to have much control over the quality of the work that is done. There are ways around this, as people develop more in remote teams and get better at communicating with each other in non-traditional working environments.

Some think that outsourcing also makes your business less flexible. Any changes to your business have to be passed down to your outsourced vendors, which means time spend on retraining.

Some companies are now choosing to bring back function in-house that they previously outsourced. But why are businesses minimizing outsourcing now? One reason is that the vendors they worked with didn’t meet their expectations. For example, an outside contractor might not be as commited to the values and ethos of your company, so don’t put in the same level of work. Wage inflation in outsourcing markets also puts pressure on how much outsourcing you can do, which makes the idea a little less attractive.

Deciding whether or not to outsource will be different to every business. The decision should be made carefully, and it’s essential to do your research. What skill gaps do you have in your company that would benefit from an expert contractor? What can you outsource to save time and money? You must thoroughly vet any contractor you plan to work with. Make sure they can deliver the service you need and do it inline with your company’s brand values, ethos, and guidelines. If you need to closely monitor an outside company, then you aren’t saving any time, so you may be better to move these activities in-house or look for another partner. Remember too, that outsourced services can also work alongside your own teams, such as outsourcing SEO to allow your PR team to focus more on other areas. IT is a common area to outsource to work alongside internal staff.

How to Bring in Remote Workers

StrategyDriven Talent Management ArticleRemote work is being spoken about more and more as the years go by. You may have already heard of this term in passing, if not know someone who is a remote worker. Some choose the lifestyle as a result of the convenience and comforts of working at home, while others may choose it given the fact that they often travel from place-to-place.

The fact is, remote work is advantageous to businesses. The question then becomes, as a business, how do you bring in remote workers? There is a three-step process this article will outline. First, the hiring process, followed by the day-to-day communication tactics and lastly the ‘meet up.’

Hiring process

The very first step to bringing in remote workers requires you to hire them. Throughout the process, you must keep in mind to look for people who would be cut out for remote work. There are certain qualities to look out for – such as self-starters and good writers, both required skills for a successful remote work career. The same way your company would hire a prospective employee; you must start sending out online applications so that people can apply for the remote work. Ask questions during the online application process such as ‘why is remote work a good fit for you?’ Eventually, you will find the right person for the job.

Using technology

By nature of the name, a remote worker will not be in the office to complete their work. That brings you to factor number two – using technology to bring the worker into the office. Who says they have to physically be there? Using technology to communicate with one another on a daily basis is just as effective as if everyone were in the room together. Facetime, Skype, pick up the phone or keep in constant contact via email. It will seem as if the worker is in the office, only via technology. It’s the way of the future!

Technology will also be used to coordinate work between those in the office and those that are working remotely. Turn to an organization such as theaccessgroup.com, as they can provide safe and secure cloud hosting for your company. A Vcloud Director will, for instance, offer various beneficial features for the company to manage their own private cloud system.

A physical meet up

Now that you have hired remote workers and are bringing them into the office every day via technology, there comes the physical meet up portion. It is true that a remote worker does not work in an office, nor do they follow the 9-5 routine necessarily. That being said, there should be at least one time a year that everyone working for that company meets up in a location! This will be beneficial to building employee relationships.

Remote work is slowly becoming a more predominant career choice given that it is talked about more now than it ever was before. This is also partly due to the fact that more companies are thinking about hiring remote workers. The numerous steps you must take to hire a remote worker are not so different from hiring someone to work in the office. You must consider how they will fit in with the company, as well as consider having them connected to the company via technology and even the potential for a meet-up at some point between everyone.