Perhaps you’ve considered telecommuting as an option for your employees. Or maybe you’ve been forced to adapt your company to a remote workplace because of weather or in order to retain top talent for your business. Whatever the reason, it’s not always an easy transition – particularly if you don’t have the right telecommuting technology solutions in place.
In this second of three blog posts on telecommuting, we discuss which mobile technology and management expectations you need to transition smoothly to a mobile office. In the first post, we addressed the benefits and challenges of working remotely. And in the third post, we’ll cover telecommuting technology tools and how to implement them for your remote employees.
Preparing Your Business for a Mobile Office
In order to take advantage of the benefits of telecommuting – and to steer clear of its negative consequences – follow these steps to prepare your business IT infrastructure and your employees for a smooth transition.
Step 1: Harness Multiple Technologies for Communication
Team members may not be in the same location, but they still need the right tools to communicate and collaborate with each other on tasks. Before employees start working remotely, ensure that they have the right mobile technology and access to their files and/or projects, including:
- Phone and texting platforms
- Video conferencing
- Email accounts
- Instant messaging clients, such as Microsoft Lync
- Project collaboration tools, such as Google Drive
- Other document management systems, such as SharePoint
(We’ll cover telecommuting technology further in our third post in the series.)
Step 2: Establish Your Expectations For Productivity
To avoid the negative consequences of a mobile office, communicate your expectations in writing for employee availability and accessibility.
For example, when a team member has chosen to work from home due to a late-morning doctor’s appointment, you should have a clear understanding of his or her availability for meetings or questions later in the day.
Establishing these boundaries and benchmarks early saves you time and effort with telecommuting employees – time and effort you don’t have to spend crafting a new policy every time someone makes a fresh mistake.
Step 3: Hold Remote Employees Equally Accountable
When some of your employees work in the office and others work remotely, you might be tempted to hold in-person workers more accountable for results. After all, if their work isn’t productive or they aren’t staying on task, the evidence is easier to find.
With telecommuting employees, however, your expectations for productivity must be consistent with their in-office counterparts. Otherwise, your company loses time and money on its ineffective remote employees.
Train your telecommuting personnel to hold themselves accountable to your well-defined expectations. Ensure you address issues such as:
- Differences in time zones
- Plans for technology failure
- Availability and scheduling
- Timeframes for completing tasks
- Communication protocols for informal vs. formal meetings
Coach and monitor those remote employees who regularly struggle with time management or frequent distractions. You should know your team members well enough to determine who may need extra guidance when telecommuting. Without this consistent guidance, they won’t be as productive as when they’re in the office, costing – rather than boosting – productivity.
Transitioning your business from a traditional office to a remote workplace isn’t as simple as connecting to wi-fi. Instead, it involves implementing these telecommuting technology essentials and establishing clear guidelines and expectations for your remote employees. When you do, you not only flex with changing employee needs, but you prepare your business to drive productivity and growth.
Look for part three of this series on telecommuting to arrive at the Technology Solutions blog next week!
Continue the conversation on mobile technology solutions for your business IT infrastructure by contacting a PointMan™ from Lazorpoint today. Click below to brainstorm the mobile office solution best fit for your business.