Remote workers can lead to more productive employees and also reap cost saving benefits. A Huffington Post article earlier this year made the case in favor of letting employees work from home, and with the increased prevalence of productivity applications that leverage the cloud, it’s become easier than ever for companies to employee telecommuters.
Studies show more workers than ever are working from home. With this expanding digital workforce, businesses need to be prepared to field a multitude of inquiries from their remote employees about workflows, company culture and time management.
It’s important for organizational leaders to be prepared to answer these questions and ensure employees working from home are set up for success. Having answers to these five inquires up front will allow companies to encourage their teams to work from home with clear eyes.
How can I work on this project at home when it’s housed on the office’s server?
Providing quick access to different applications, documents and databases is the first hurdle remote workers must clear. Using cloud-based services makes it possible to access applications and information from any location, and there are many solutions available to make network access and file sharing free and easy such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote and Microsoft OneDrive. And look to add capabilities that extend the ability for remote workers using mobile devices to capture and securely insert documents and images into file hosting services and business processes.
My coworker and I both need to do work in the same file, what do we do?
Just having access to documents isn’t enough for projects that require collaboration. When multiple team members need to be able to work on the same document at the same time, putting together and editing projects can be a nightmare. Working on the same Google Docs files isn’t always enough. Tapping PDF software tools will allows workers to turn any document type into a standard PDF file that can be securely edited, annotated and shared.
How can I become a part of the office’s culture when I’m not in the office?
Office culture sometimes doesn’t translate well when teams are spread out, but it is important to maintain communal integrity to build team chemistry. Applications such as Skype or Slack enable team members to communicate authentically in real time with easy-to-use interfaces. This ensures the culture of the office translates remotely and keeps team members engaged.
What’s the best way to manage my time and plan accordingly?
Time management easily translates from the office to remote work, and one way employees can make the most of their time is to set up public calendars with Microsoft Outlook or Google. Updating itineraries in real time, in and out of the office, allows remote workers to coordinate around meetings and conference calls to make sure they can get their work done and still participate in office strategy sessions.
How do I make sure my coworkers and I are on the same page when I’m working from home?
Having consistent workflows can eliminate possible miscommunications or missed deadlines. Establishing internal process management and guidelines ensures that all team members are on the same page. As important is having online process management tools accessible to all employees, near and far. Managing to-do lists and project schedules using web applications like Basecamp will keep operations on-schedule, and make it easy for coworkers to collaborate.