While working remotely can result in benefits such as reduced office costs and increased staff productivity, they can also raise a number of concerns for employers.  A study by research house Vanson Bourne found that 62 per cent of businesses felt flexible and remote working resulted in limited interaction between workers. More than half (55 per cent) of business were worried about information security and 59 per cent felt there was a lack of management control over staff. How are you at managing remote workers?

So what can be done to resolve these concerns and how can organisations make sure they are effectively managing remote workers? Huddle’s top tips are below:

  1. Out of sight, but not out of mind:  Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, there are now numerous communication tools available that ensure colleagues have full visibility of each other. Instant messaging, such as Skype or Windows Messenger, let staff know who is online, whether they are on a call, busy in meetings or out for lunch. The real-time nature of these services also means that colleagues don’t waste time waiting for responses to emails or play telephone tag.
  2. Share and share alike: Staring at computer screens, waiting for large files to hit their inboxes isn’t the most productive way for staff to spend their day. Saving big files on a local computer or server and emailing them to and fro results in wasted time, mislaid   files and people working from the wrong versions. Instead, stay away from email and use file sharing tools such as Dropbox to enable staff to upload material that can be instantaneously accessed by everyone involved in a project regardless of where they are.  You can use Huddle for more control over who has access rights to view documents. Rapid improvement guaranteed: people won’t spend hours sifting through their inboxes for attachments.
  3. Get your workforce up to speed: Fast-working comms apps need fast web. Without a fast internet connection, staff will be sat twiddling their thumbs while they wait for these tools to work.  Businesses that have a flexible working policy should consider including a home office broadband supplement in their benefits package so everyone is up to speed. And how about throwing a mobile broadband dongle in?
  4. Be sociable:  People use social networks, such as Facebook, on a daily basis to stay in touch with friends and family, so why not use it in business? With the right policies in place, building a social network for staff will ensure that they know what their colleagues look like and how they can be contacted.
  5. Don’t be cheap: While some employees may love going to the gym and keeping fit, it’s unlikely they want to build their muscles by carrying their laptops. Laptops needn’t weigh a tonne these days. If you want your staff stay mobile, invest in lightweight hardware. iPhones and Blackberries, provided by a company, won’t go amiss either. Remember, you are in control of the tools that you provide for your employees.
  6. Don’t be a control freak:  Trust is key for organisations with out of office workers. Resist the temptation to call and email to check up on your out-of-office staff. Time tracking and project management tools give you full transparency of what people are working on and upcoming deadlines, so it’s clear from the outset who is delivering what.
  7. Get together every once in a while: While working flexibly and remotely has huge benefits, getting  staff all together for an offsite day is a great way to strengthen relationships and make everyone feel like they’re part of the team. Rather than sitting in a boardroom, why not get everyone outside?

How are you managing remote workers? let us know in the comments.

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