The remote workforce is no longer the exception, but is becoming one of the most common ways for companies to save thousands, and for workers to have the option of working from nearly anywhere. The beauty of both a digital world, the internet of things, and remote management solutions is that many tasks that once required you to be in an office now no longer require employees to be present.
From website creation to the generation of graphics and other content creation, the world of remote workers and freelancers has been around for a long time. However, now that world has expanded to include managers, human resources, sales, accounting departments, and almost every form of marketing.
Many companies have 100% remote workforces and don’t even have offices at all. Instead, they gather employees a few times a year for special events, but most of the time they work wherever they are. There are several advantages to remote work, and one is the timely completion of work. How do you accomplish this with employees you are not directly supervising?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but the temptation with remote workers is to give them a great deal of freedom. This is actually a good thing, but there need to be some clear boundaries and deadlines for certain tasks.
This will help them regulate their time, and help your productivity to be predictable. Historically this has been especially important when dealing with Adobe Bridge creatives, who tend to flirt with deadlines and leave things until the last minute. Setting early deadlines, project goals along the way, and holding workers to them will ensure that even remote projects are completed in a timely manner.
No single person works as efficiently as another at certain times of the day. On your team, you may have night owls who get much of their work done well after everyone else has gone to bed. You may also have team members who are early risers, and get more done before the average person starts their day than at any other time.
The beauty of remote work is that you have the ability to offer flexible schedules from the very beginning. This does not mean that no one has assigned work hours: customer service personnel and others clearly need to be available certain times of the day so that you have adequate coverage. However, you can offer employees schedules when they are at their best and most productive.
This offers a benefit to your customers as well. They will be dealing with happy people who prefer to work when and where they are. This flexibility also reduces attrition: employees who have a flexible schedule are more likely to stay in their jobs.
The Ideal Time To Work
Flexible scheduling is a huge benefit already mentioned above, but the biggest benefit is timely project completion. The reason is not just flexible schedules, but the fact that workers can produce more if they work within their most productive hours.
This is huge for timely project completion. No one is sitting at their desk brooding or trying to get past the 2:30 in the afternoon blues with an energy drink or coffee. Instead, they are napping if they have to, getting the rest they will need to be more productive when they are able.
This highlights the importance of project management online, time tracking or of billing projects by the task instead of by the hour. This means your people won’t be trying to fill in meaningless hours with time consuming tasks that do nothing to further your company goals.
The ideal time to work for timely project completion is the time that the employee or employees are most productive, and the amount of time they actually need for a project may be greatly reduced if they have this freedom.
Fund The Home Office
The other issue with remote work is that your employees need certain equipment, software, and other materials to efficiently do their jobs. If they are going to do this remotely, they still need these tools. There are options regarding how to provide them:
BYOD and Employee Funded: This means your employee pays for their own equipment and supplies, and also their own desk, chair, and other office furniture. The plus side to this is that it can save you money. The down side is the loss of security and control. The employee also gets a tax deduction. You do not.
Employer Funded: This is where you fund the home office for the employee. This can include any number of things, but usually allows the employee to pick some furniture, but you provide technology solutions including computers, phones, or tablets or any combination thereof that allows them to do their job. These can be imaged and restricted to work use only, or you can allow the employee to use them for other purposes as long as there is no conflict of interest.
The downside of this is both cost and the controls necessary. You are still responsible for security, tech support, and repair or replacement. The upside is that you do have control over the devices themselves, and you can dictate how the employee uses them and when. You also get the tax break for supplying this equipment.
Blended Approach: This approach means the employee pays for some things while you pay for others. They may pay for furniture, printers, and some other pieces without subsidy or compensation from you. As to the parts you do provide, you have a certain amount of control and you get at least part of the tax benefit from providing devices and equipment.
Funding the home office is a benefit you can provide to employees that can have some advantages for you as well. Whatever method you use, check with your accountant and with tax professionals about the potential consequences and long-term benefits or drawbacks.
Using A Bonus As Motivation
Finally, using a bonus as a motivation can get remote workers in the groove of completing projects early while maintaining quality standards. This helps them and you utilize your time and resources in a wise way, and you can include the bonus as a part of the expenses you use when bidding a project.
While remote workers are motivated by many more things than money, offering extra for timely or early project completion is typically a winning situation.
Remote workers can be one of the best ways to achieve timely project completion if you give them the tools and compensation they need to get the job done.
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