Appreciate Your Workers

Notice your engineers are smashing their KPI’s? Maybe they’re getting the job done quicker than everyone else? Has a customer left a stunning review? Let them know! Away from the limelight of the office remote workers may feel like their good deeds go unnoticed, making them feel appreciated will not only create a happier, more valued workforce but it ensure they are motivated to provide continuously great service.

Establish Clear Goals and Objectives from the Get Go

One of the biggest problems companies face with remote workers is sometimes they end up in a situation where neither know what to expect of each other, it’s difficult to gauge someone’s expectations if you’re very rarely in contact, be firm from the beginning and let your workers know exactly what you expect from them. Also, make yourself accessible for advice, make your employees feel welcome to ask questions if they are unsure of the tasks set.

Don’t Always Rely on Reports

Reports are great for keeping in check with what’s going on in your business, however, don’t become an invisible force within your business. Make visits to sites, visits to your workers and show them you’re not just sat with your feet on the table waiting for them to do all the hard work. Also, don’t leave the impression that you’re not interested at all, this can create an environment for laziness to breed. Whilst the cats are away the mice will play.

Visit Your Workers on a Predictable Schedule

On the flip side to this, whilst you should ‘keep an eye’ on employees don’t make them feel overwatched. Workers should feel motivated not like a character in George Orwell’s 1984. Make visits natural and generally, unless necessary, a non-formal occasion, intimidating surprise visits may come across as a tyrannical micromanagement approach which can create bad blood between workers and management.

Look Out For Warning Signs

Unhappy employees aren’t always vocal about how they feel, especially when they work remotely. It can be hard to pick up on the signs of an unhappy remote worker, however there are a few tips to take note of: short, blunt answers through email or text may be the first indicator, sure, sometimes a concise answer is needed but if their replies seem unnecessarily cold maybe it’s time to check in on them and check they’re okay. Avoid phone calls or important meetings, a decrease in productivity or perhaps an uncharacteristic dip in attendance. Don’t assume your employees are always happy, and if they seem a bit off then check. A happy worker is a much more productive worker.

Top Training is Essential

For anyone to feel comfortable in their position at work they need the correct training, even more so when you’re going to be in an often solitary position where it can feel like there’s no one around to help. Not only this, be supportive, on the rare occasion you do see your mobile employees remember to be as welcoming as you can, your employees are already physically distanced from you don’t make them feel emotionally distanced from you too. A workforce who feel open talking to their manager, whether mobile not, is a much more productive workforce than those who don’t.

Encourage Face to Face Communications

How can you tell if remote workers are unhappy if you can’t see them? Avoid your workforce losing their team morale, arrange as regular as possible face to face meetings. Working as part of a mobile workforce can often be isolating, workers can often feel like they’re working alone rather than as part of a larger team, this can cause them to lose motivation as they feel the only person they effect with bad performance is themselves. Face to face meetings and encouraging ‘water cooler’ conversation and out of work activities will help to ensure all of your employees feel like part of the team even those you don’t see every day. Maybe start out of work activities for people to join such as a group sport or a fantasy football league.

The Right Communications

In the case of not being able to arrange face to face communications make sure you use the right form of communication. Communicating without seeing the other person’s face or the tone and mood of what they’re saying is difficult enough, especially from someone you might not see on a regular basis who might not have your personality just quite figured out yet. If it’s short, to the point and doesn’t require much explanation then yes feel free to send a text or a quick Slack. However, the more detail they need to know, the more personal you should make the communication. Trying to explain a detailed plan to an employee over a short uninformative email will not only potentially come across as rude and impersonal but it also lacks the opportunity for your employee to ask essential questions that they may feel conscious about emailing. Similarly, phoning to ask them a simple non-urgent ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question can come across as overbearing.

Right Tools, Right Skills, Right Person

Ensure you have an efficient scheduling system, sending remote workers out to jobs they don’t have the skills or tools for is a waste of your business’ time, fuel, and money. It’s also a waste of your workers time, if workers feel they aren’t adequately being managed and their time is being wasted they can become demotivated and therefore productivity will drop or they might opt to seek employment elsewhere. Save bad feeling, wasted fuel and wasted time by efficiently scheduling your workers.

Invest in a Workforce Management System

We might sound bias for saying this, however, workforce management systems make managing workers who may be miles apart so much simpler. WFM software gives you and your workers the ability to automatically capture, share and access data wherever you or they might be. Less messy and frustrating forms for your remote workers and less tedious hours translating illegible handwriting for your admin staff. , WFM software makes keeping an eye on how smoothly your business is running much easier and not only that it makes your business run smoother with a streamlined scheduling process, access to all your data instantly, a simple forms system, a paperless nature, a route planning feature, asset management and reporting for auditing purposes.