How Managers Keep Remote Worker Productivity High

BY Kathy Crosett
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The latest Gallup data indicates that up to 43% of employees do at least some of their work remotely. Increasingly, managers don’t understand how to keep remote worker productivity high. While some government agencies have pulled back on allowing remote work, private enterprises have not. One of the key reasons for permitting a remote work situation is because it “is a policy that the most talented employees desire,” say Gallup analysts.

Employee Desire to Work Remote

Employees want remote work options for quality of life reasons. Some team members see no need to grind out hours in traffic on a daily basis just to get to the office to do work they could do at home. Other employees may have moved to another geographic region because of a spouse’s job, but they want to continue working for the same company.

Challenges of Keeping Remote Worker Productivity High

Employers like to keep team members happy with options like remote work policies, but Gallup analysts point out that the true goal is higher engagement. Employees who have the flexibility they want are happy to work harder, and they pay more attention to what they’re doing. All of the positive vibes improve profitability.

Can too much remote work negatively impact productivity? It’s possible. Gallup data shows that employees who work from home three to four days a week have the most engagement. If your team members work across a wide geographic region and can’t get into the office regularly, use technology like video chat during meetings. Seeing your team members’ expressions and body language during these meetings can help you understand how they’re feeling. If possible, bring everyone together a couple of times a year for company meetings. These gatherings help team members build connections with managers and co-​workers. They also help you ensure that everyone is working toward the same goals.

Flexible Work Hours and Retention

In our competitive marketplace, it’s not easy to hold onto top-​performing employees with coveted skill sets. We know these employees want to contribute in meaningful ways. You can help them do that by also allowing flexible work schedules. With about half of the current workforce considering a job change and about the same number willing to change jobs to get a flexible schedule, Gallup data says, employers should be putting these policies into place. Recruiting of good employees can also improved when companies promote the flexible work hours options.

As employers make this shift, they should consider how to establish tasks, workflow and checkpoints. They may also need to shift coaching strategies to be certain that remote workers are getting the job done efficiently. When you combine maximum flexibility with good oversight, your employee engagement and retention will improve.