management | 9 mins read

Everything You Need to Know About Remote Employees

everything you need to know about remote employees
Dakota Sheetz

By Dakota Sheetz

Remote employees have greater levels of productivity, increased job satisfaction, better employee engagement, and higher retention rates.

Introduction

Research states that remote employees are more productive than employees who commute to the office every day. 43% of employed Americans work remotely from a home office for at least part of their workweek. If employees worked remotely just half of the time, businesses would save on average $11,000 per year.

What is Remote Work?

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Remote work is a working style that provides business professionals with the opportunity to work outside the traditional office environment. Previously, working remotely was less common than it is today. Savvy employers understand the benefits of a remote workforce for improving employee engagement and company culture long term.

Remote workers have the freedom to work wherever they feel comfortable doing so. Some employees feel most productive in a home office while others find a coffee shop or communal workspace most beneficial. Remote work allows your employees the ability to work collaboratively in varying time zones and provides them with the ability to travel.

Some business professionals wrongly assume that a team working from different time zones only occurs in large scale business operations. Surprisingly, smaller companies are twice as likely to hire full-timeremote employees than their larger counterparts.

Business owners may worry about managing remote teams and tracking the time remote workers spend on the clock. However, research has shown that remote employees get more work done and have higher employee engagement levels than their office working counterparts.

Technology has provided collaboration tools ranging from time tracking applications to team meeting platforms with video conferencing features to help remote workers function most effectively in their roles. A remote team member can hop on a video call every day or give end day check-ins to everyone on their team.

In fact, when employees work remotely they are able to create and maintain their own team building best practices which may include unconventional methods ranging from social media engagement to face time calls. In-person meetings are often unproductive and ineffective, whereas utilizing collaboration tools provides the right tools for employees to maximize their efficiency.

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The Benefits of Remote Work

34% of Americans spend four to five business days working from a home office which is an 11% increase from 2012. The benefits of remote work are extensive, ranging from higher employee engagement levels to time management optimization. Benefits of remote work include-

  • Employers saving $10 to $15 million in annual real estate costs.
  • Employee absenteeism is decreased by almost 60%.
  • 25% lower employee turnover rate.
  • 33% less time spent on hiring new employees.
  • 39% of remote workers work extra hours.
  • 90% of remote employees report improvements in their family and personal life, 85% felt stress was reduced, 80% had improved employee engagement and morale, 62% felt more respected and trusted, and 93% reported collaboration was better than before.
  • 45% of remote employees get more sleep, 35% get more exercise and 42% eat healthier than onsite employees.
  • Remote workers are more productive than regular employees.
  • Remote employees have higher levels of job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
  • Remote employees have higher employee engagement levels and a higher company culture connection.

93% of employees report that they get prefer to get crucial work finished in their home office as opposed to a traditional work environment. A home office can provide fewer distractions and allows remote workers the opportunity to spend the time they would spend commuting towards their business objectives.

With an average commute of over 26 minutes, remote employees help the environment and business costs. Additionally, personal employee expenses from business clothes to lunches out are decreased by an average of $5,240 annually.

The Challenges with Remote Work

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Whether a company is transitioning to managing remote employees or improving how existing remote employees work there are tips to confront any challenges that arise including-

1. Company culture concerns- Business professionals may worry when managing remote workers that their company culture will be negatively affected. This is a common misconception as a high performing new remote worker will find the best ways of team building through collaboration tools and team building platforms.

Remote workers are innovative in finding ways to connect and understand the importance of regular check-ins and remote team collaboration. Businesses that provide the right tools to their remote workers do not need to worry about company culture issues.

2. Proper communication practices- Communication is crucial for managing remote workers and making sure they are provided with the resources necessary to succeed from their home office or abroad. Use collaboration tools including social media and video conferencing to bridge communication gaps when in-person meetings are not accessible.

Whether you use face time or a video call any two-way communication platform will provide employees the benefit that an in-person meeting normally would and promote a company culture of collaboration.

3. Time tracking applications- When full-time workers are in their home office employers may worry that they are not being productive. Although studies clearly show that a remote employee is more productive, time management applications can help ease unfounded fears.

However, many employees are productive outside of traditional hours, so time tracking and time management applications can become unproductive. When employees know they are trusted to perform in accordance with clear expectations and KPI standards, employees feel more satisfied and have higher employee engagement levels.

4. Scheduling issues- Working remotely allows for people in different time zones to collaborate as effectively and efficiently as possible. When managing remote teams make sure to set clear expectations about employee availability and preferred social media contact methods.

Use an online poll to find a time that works best for the video conferencing schedule. If you work with freelancers it is essential to compensate for the time remote workers spend in meetings. Set clear expectations regarding attendance and make sure employees get a fair warning to prepare for video conferencing and check-ins with other team members on staff.

How to Manage a Remote Team

Remote work is the future of business and successful business leaders are encouraging companies to learn how to manage remote teams as soon as possible. With a 140% increase in remote work since 2005, remote work is only getting more prevalent.

In the United States, 43% of employers report that they plan on offering new remote work opportunities to their employees in the upcoming year. This is great news for the over half of United States employees who express that they want to work remotely. Below are tips for managing remote employees-

1. Develop meaningful relationships- Build rapport with team members by getting to know them more personally. Ask them about their every day lives outside of work, for instance, about their loved ones and hobbies.

Use video conferencing as often as possible to maximize connection. Remember, over half of communication is nonverbal! Make sure to provide employees with internet budgets and equipment for their home office in order to avoid technological issues.

The open-door policy that you would normally offer office employees is not an option. Make up for that in-person connection and availability by increasing the time spent during check-ins with individual team members. Never cancel a one on one meeting with your employee. If necessary reschedule the meeting for a time that works best for both of you.

2. Time management training- One of the best ways to prepare for managing remote workers is by developing time management best practices that accommodate complex schedules. When managing a remote team there will likely be different time zones to consider and factor in when scheduling meetings.

An end day check-in for your time zone may be the middle of the night for another employee. Making sure to consider time zones and occasionally scheduling team meetings that privilege an employee who makes frequent sacrifices to accommodate the group is a great way to show solidarity.

3. Schedule annual meetings- Full-time remote employees should be provided at least one opportunity a year to meet in person with your team. Successful businesses will often use this annual meeting as an opportunity to reward employees by providing an exclusive getaway vacation..

If you need to cut costs and have the annual meeting at your business headquarters, make sure to provide the team with perks like paid meals and of course covering their travel expenses. These annual in-person meetings are a great opportunity for team building and can help workers feel more connected and valued.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

How Remote Work Saves Money

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Businesses who have fully remote workers can expect to save a lot of money in comparison to businesses with full-time office employees or even part-time remote workers.

Having predominantly remote employees decreases employee absenteeism by 63%. Unscheduled absences alone cost an average of $1,800 per employee annually and a shocking $300 billion a year for United States companies.

Workplace distractions cost businesses $600 billion annually. Remote workers are much more productive than their office worker counterparts. Not only do remote workers put in more hours but the hours that they put in are more efficiently used.

The average real estate savings for full-time remote workers is $10,000 per employee per year. Not only are real estate costs slashed for employers, but remote work also provides inexpensive ADA compliance for workers who need remote work accommodations.

With over 12% of the working-age population reporting a disability, this compliance can save you costs for discrimination lawsuits and expand your talent pool.

Traffic jams cost the United States $78 billion annually in lost productivity. Traffic accidents cost over $12 billion every year. Most importantly, half time telework alone would save more than 1,600 lives and prevent nearly 99,000 injuries that occur through traffic accidents.

How to Engage Your Team Remotely

There are many ways to manage remote employees creatively. Increase employee engagement levels with the below tips-

  • Consider creating rotating video calls for employees who have varying time zones and schedules.
  • Embrace those who work different when remote working by providing them the freedom and creativity to work flexible hours.
  • Effectively manage with highly engaging and interactive onboarding techniques.
  • Consider funding a communal workspace if you have many employees in the same area. Renting a few desks in a communal workspace is much more cost-effective than opening a satellite office.
  • Create extracurricular team-building opportunities ranging from book clubs to fantasy football leagues to increase company culture and employee engagement for remote workers.
  • Make sure your budget includes remote home office set up, maintenance, and improvement costs.

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