5 Tips to Ensure Productivity and Engagement in Remote Workers

Online Recruitment SoftwareIt’s no secret that the trend toward using remote workers is littered with some doubts about the productivity and engagement of remote workers. People assume that if a worker isn’t watched and isn’t physically at the company location that they can’t or won’t perform to the standards of in office workers. This is both true and false. If you’re searching for a free online recruitment software system that you can trust in 2018, trust Recruiteze! Click here for a free trial.

The Truth About Employing Remote Workers

Companies brag about how hiring remote workers boosts productivity and there is data to back it up, but when recruiters hire remote workers and something goes amiss, the whole remote working trend takes a big hit in creditability. So, what’s the truth? Are remote workers more productive or less?

There are some hurdles in remote work. Because employees who work remotely are not physically present in the building and interacting with team members, communications can suffer. Any worker whether in the office or working remotely who feels undervalued will underperform. Sometimes management issues also cause illustrious productivity goals to be unmet because the structure just isn’t there to make it work. So, it is true that remote work can fail in the productivity department.

The falsity lies in assuming that because remote work is the variable that has been changed, and something doesn’t go as expected, the remoteness is surely to blame.

What makes remote work sometimes lead to low productivity and engagement are the same three things that will cause low productivity and engagement in any work setting: poor candidate choice, non-engaging management, and less-than-satisfactory communication.

Poor Candidate Choice

Any employee, whether working in the office or remotely, will need to be a good cultural fit and have the right skills. With remote workers, it is also necessary to select someone who is good at managing their time and easy to reach. Just because someone says they can do something doesn’t mean they really can, as it is with any other criteria recruiters look for in candidates. Avoid making a bad hire at all costs. Using our online recruitment software system can help. Click here for a free trial of Recruiteze.

Non-engaging Management

In office work is rife with productivity and engagement issues. Hiring remote workers is not going to magically override that, in fact, they may suffer even more greatly from the same factors. They don’t benefit from the pros of in person teamwork, so communication issues can be more detrimental. If a manager is difficult to work with, remote workers may only deal with that one individual. If a structure is not put into place to make team member communications quick and efficient, remote workers can be completely held up because their work may depend on communications.

If the corporate culture doesn’t provide quality positive and negative feedback, that is going to hurt remote workers also. Being out of the office doesn’t mean corporate culture doesn’t affect them nor does it mean they don’t require feedback to know how to provide their best work and to feel that their work is appreciated. Feeling unnoticed and unappreciated is one of the most common reasons for productivity and engagement to suffer for in office or remote workers. Again, remote workers may suffer from this even more than in office workers because they are not physically present to be noticed. Managers may also assume remote workers don’t need feedback, because they are supposed to be self-sufficient. While remote workers do have to manage their own time, they still need to be integrated into the workflow in order to produce quality results. For instance, a hand is very useful, but it must be attached to the body to work.

Less-Than-Satisfactory Communication

As has been danced all around in the previous paragraph, communication with remote workers is critical. It’s all that makes up the relationship between managers and employees. So that means it represents the entirety of the corporate culture for the remote worker, but slow, poor, or erroneous communications can also completely shutdown their ability to perform their own tasks. This gets exponentially more harrowing when the remote worker is working directly with a team. Communication between multiple remote workers and the management team must be sufficient or productivity and engagement will suffer. Just like with other resources, if crucial information is not available, work cannot be performed or not completed optimally.

Tips to Ensure Productivity and Engagement in Remote Workers

#1. Strategize

Don’t just hire a few remote workers and assume they’ll take care of themselves. No amount of self-motivation can make up for ineffective management. Plan if and how they’ll be working with other employees. Where possible, consider them in corporate culture, feedback, and assessment processes.

#2. Hire the Best Remote Workers

All remote workers are not equal. Some effectively manage their time and others don’t. Some take instruction well or need very little instruction. Some communicate well. Remote workers also need to be a good fit for the company culture. No, they may not be physically in the location, but they need to appreciate the goals of the company and understand and like the management style.

As with any other worker, screen remote workers for the skills you need and the particular skills that a remote worker needs like communication and self-motivation. Screen them based on their communications during the hiring process and consider trial projects before a permanent hire.

#3. Fix In Office Problems Too

Productivity and engagement issues often result from wider problems than simply remote work. Trying something new is going to be a trial-and-error thing, so some hiccups may occur while trying to figure things out, but productivity and engagement shouldn’t be an in office or remote work issue because their roots have so little to do with proximity or location.

In a previous post on remote work controversy, we described contrasting points about proximity and productivity centered around innovation. Sometimes teams working face-to-face perform better, and sometimes this proximity breeds more procrastination and less teamwork. The factors controlling productivity are clearly more complicated than where an employee is located.

We summed it up, “The only way to make sense of these contrasting concepts is to refocus our attention on how a team is managed.”

Dom Price wrote for MSN Money,
“There are perfectly good reasons to keep everyone co-located. But collaboration isn’t one of them.

That’s because collaboration doesn’t require co-location. If it did, no company would ever expand beyond a single office site. But expand we do. And the level of interaction between offices is only increasing.”

Work on company-wide engagement policies and improve feedback, and most of any productivity and engagement issues will be resolved.

#4. Prioritize Communication

Communication is 100% crucial to remote work. If a company is hiring remote workers, optimizing communication should be their top priority in managing them. Find the simplest, most real-time platform and method to communicate for the company’s needs. Consider chats. Incentivize the use of the c