In recent years, the formula for an office job has been pushed to evolve. In our current digitally-driven climate, the 9-5 structure has become almost obsolete. Employees are more inclined to work “remotely” or “telecommute” throughout the work-week. Rather than sitting at a desk for eight hours, remote workers conduct projects, meetings, etc. either from home, or from an alternative workspace. In 2013, The Forrester Research’s US Telecommuting Forecast revealed that 34 million Americans worked from home, with predictions that the number would only continue to grow. A Wired article from the same time noted:
“From a talent acquisition perspective, remote working opens up a “treasure trove” of candidates from across the world. Companies and organizations that encourage such practices enjoy enhanced employee productivity for reduced infrastructure costs. Flexible working arrangements also boost employee job satisfaction levels and quite often, retention.” GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com reported that at-home employees has grown by 103 percent since 2005. Additionally, about 50 percent of the jobs held in the US can be maintained remotely. Another study, from Leadership IQ, found that out of 3,478 participants, remote employees were 87 percent more likely to say they “loved” their job.
How to Stay Engaged
With all of the positive statistics, it may seem as though there are no difficulties when it comes to telecommuting. And while there are huge benefits with being able to hire employees from any where in the world, there are also steps one should take to ensure constant engagement and connectivity on all levels. Whether you're working with employees an ocean away, or just a few miles, here are a few bits of advice to keep in mind:
Give it a Shot
The many myths and misconceptions about remote workers often dissuades companies from allowing employees to telecommute. Before you write it off, try it out. If you want to convince your boss of the benefits, provide a solid pitch and ask for a trial period. Or if you're working to restructure your business, give employees the opportunity to work remotely a couple days a week. Keep track of the progress made in and out of the office. Have open discussions about what works and what doesn't and use that feedback moving forward.
Take Recruitment Seriously
Hiring new employees is a difficult process to begin with. Add in an extra level: they don't live in the same country. Telecommuting opens so many doors, but it also widens the pool of potential employees. Don't let the intimidation factor prevent you from exploring all the opportunities. Develop a thorough vetting process to ensure you're finding the best employees you can. The time and effort involved in recruiting will pay off in the long run.
Once you've hired remote employees, you need to trust in their abilities. Don't waste your own time constantly checking on them. You've hired them for a reason; let them prove they're capable.
Use Time Zones to Your Advantage
Obviously it would be most beneficial if your remote workers live within the same time zone, but don't be discouraged if they don't. Just be sure to establish clear rules surrounding communication.
Focus on Long-Term
Don't worry too much about the day-to-day goals and instead focus on the big ideas. Everyone works in different ways, and it can be more beneficial to allow employees to set their own goals in relation to completing the final product. Keep communication flowing to ensure employees are on the right track, but don't stress if they're moving at their own pace. Number8 operates both from our headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky and also from San Jose, Costa Rica. Our employees from both locations work together tirelessly to deliver the highest quality software in the business. If you're looking to learn more about remote workers, and offshore employment visit our About Us page here, or give us a call at (502) 890-7665!