Although most office workers are still working remotely, the age-old concern is still brought up: Can you really be productive outside of the office?
Anecdotal evidence suggests that those who have the freedom to work when and where they want to are actually more productive than those tethered to an office. With remote work only increasing, we have some tips for measuring (not micromanaging) the performance of your remote workers.
- Communicate Policies and Expectations Clearly—and Early
Having formal policies and clear expectations in place early for individual and team performance makes the measurement of performance easier. Not only does this help managers understand the metrics that should be evaluated, the employees also have a clear understanding of what is expected. While policies can be evaluated and should evolve with changing circumstances, organizations should avoid changing them too often.
- Focus on Results (Not Face Time)
Being productive at work is not the same thing as physically being present or seeing coworkers face to face—that is, one can be productive without the latter activities. Although face time is an important aspect to connecting on a more personal level, when it comes to job performance, the most value should be given to the results. Are your employees delivering their work on time and up to your quality expectations? When working in a results-oriented environment, employees often feel more control over their work, and subsequently put more time and effort into creating work they are proud of.
- Create Periodic Goals
Goal setting is an excellent way to make sure that managers and employees stay on the same page. Annual performance reviews have fallen out of fashion; instead, companies rely upon more frequent check-ins, structured around goals mutually agreed upon by the manager and team member. These more frequent check-ins are well suited for remote working arrangements.
- Meet Regularly as a Team
Meetings about goals and performance reviews should happen monthly or quarterly. More frequently, such as weekly or biweekly, you should hold team meetings to give remote workers an opportunity to address issues they have as well as share the progress they are making. Try making these meetings on video if you don’t often see people’s faces. When face time is limited, getting together as a team to discuss progress and issues allows for everyone to have a broader view of the big picture.
- Be Proactive
As a manager, it is important to be proactive about reaching out to your team. Don’t wait to hear from them, but make sure you have regular 1:1s scheduled. Employees will feel more bought in to your mission if you make them a part of it, and share what you’re working on as well as keep tabs on their important projects. These meetings are a great way to build trust and respect, keep individuals on track and the team working together to achieve shared goals.
- Consider Quantity vs Quality
There is a fine line between quantity and quality. For managers, it is important to evaluate these areas to ensure employees are staying on task while also producing quality work. Whether a high volume of work or higher quality of work is important to you, you want to communicate those expectations to your employees.
- Ensure Your Door Remains “Open”
Communication is an important part of a business, and even more so when people are working remotely. Evaluating the openness of communication can help with measuring performance. Some things to consider are:
- How often do you talk with each team member?
- Does communication feel easy or stifled?
- Are barriers often present?
- Is there ample time to ask questions?
- Is the employee proactive about keeping in touch?
The workforce advisors at CSH are available to help you effectively manage your remote staff with strategic consulting and timely thought leadership. For more information contact, Peter Olmsted.