The future of work is remote, according to statistics, and more employers are making accommodations to meet the trend. Whether they're meeting the demands of a tight labor market or the necessity of a public health scare, employers are integrating telecommuting, flexible work days and remote workers into their workforce at a rapid pace. There are plenty of questions surrounding these accommodations - the right tools, the right technology - but the most important component in a successful remote workforce is the right employee.
When implementing a new telecommuting policy, can employers trust remote workers?
Buy In to the Idea
Instead of making assumptions that your remote employee is having a drink on a beach instead of fulfilling their responsibilities, take a moment to understand why remote work is so important for your business. Here are some recent statistics about remote work1:
- Studies have revealed an increase in productivity among those who work remotely.
- Employees are more willing to stick around for employers that offer flexibility.
- Hiring more remote workers reduces employer overhead costs.
- Remote work may help diversify your workforce, with employees of different gender identities, race, ethnicity, geographic locations and age.
Of course, there is still the obligation of collaboration and the type of work to be done remotely. Certain jobs and technology increase the availability of a telecommuting option. Once these specifics are worked out and your business can buy into flexible work options, it becomes easier to recognize the value in hiring more remote workers.
Hire the Right Employees
As mentioned, not every job can be done remotely and not every employee is prepared to work remotely. From the beginning of the hiring process, the job description should include the availability of remote work. When reviewing a candidate resume and during the interview process, the hiring manager can inquire about previous telecommuting roles, a remote or home office and time management practices. The remote work policy should also include the necessity of the candidate's own technology or if the company will be providing tools such as computers and software. A strong candidate will be self-driven, trustworthy and communicative. A previous employment verification background check is recommended as well as personal references. It is also helpful to use an online hiring and background screening portal to ensure all hiring documentation is completed.
Set Clear Expectations
Remote workers depend on clear communication and expectations of their management. They aren't privy to informal meetings around the office or water cooler. The best way to build trust in remote workers is to offer guidance on their tasks and set goals for when and how those tasks are to be met. Projects should be prioritized and meetings scheduled to help remote workers manage their time and meet expectations. Feedback must also be shared quickly and efficiently so that remote workers feel as if they are a part of team all working together to reach success.
Remote Workers CAN Be Trusted
By hiring the right employees, setting expectations, communicating and providing the right tools, remote workers can absolutely be trusted to be productive members of your workforce. Build your telecommuting policy with these things in mind and, most importantly, give them your trust and they'll feel like an invaluable part of your team.