This article was updated on Sept. 12, 2018.
Work-from-home and telecommuting options come with many advantages for both employees and employers. After all, these types of working arrangements often allow for more flexible schedules and potential cost savings, especially when it comes to office resources. However, it's important to note that a remote workforce can come with a few challenges, as well. Here are three best practices for managing operations when most of your employees are working remotely.
Make Time for Face-to-Face Interactions
Lack of face-to-face time is one of the top operational challenges small business owners face when their employees are working remotely. Without this type of communication, you may find it difficult to ensure that your remote workers are in tune with the company culture and are on the right track to meet company goals.
However, there are a variety of different strategies you can use to keep your remote employees engaged. For instance, you can set up regular, one-on-one meetings via video conference to ensure that everyone on a given team is communicating as necessary. Additionally, if you have the necessary time and resources, you may want to set up occasional in-person meetings, as well.
These interactions will serve as opportunities for you and your management team to relay company expectations, discuss a particular employee's progress and get feedback on important business topics. In turn, your remote worker may feel more engaged and start to develop a sincere interest in achieving company milestones.
Recognize Individual Accomplishments
In a remote environment, it can sometimes be difficult to recognize and reward your top-performing employees. As a result, the actual responsibilities of a remote worker can seem like a mystery to the rest of the team. In turn, a remote worker may go unnoticed and feel underappreciated.
In an effort to overcome this obstacle, you should try to implement a remote employee recognition program to broadcast each individual's accomplishments. You can choose to share this communication with your team through an online forum or a company newsletter. You may find that a simple shout-out goes a long way.
Protect Your Confidential Data
Your remote employees may have access to sensitive company information. If you don't take the necessary steps to protect this data, you could be putting your entire business at risk.
As such, it's crucial that you develop thorough security guidelines and make sure that all of your staff members are in compliance with these rules and regulations. Make sure to create policies that outline specific best practices for handling sensitive information, and then communicate these policies clearly with your entire team.
Additionally, if your on-site workers receive security awareness training, you should offer the same training to your remote workers, as well. This can help your business stay on top of any potential security threats or breaches.
By keeping an eye on these three areas, and being proactive when potential obstacles arise, you can help put your remote workforce and your business on the path to success.