Managing a Remote Staff – Navigating the New Normal
The recent pandemic and the need for social distancing has caused a significant rise in the number of people working remotely. While businesses have tinkered with the idea in recent years, many have found it to suddenly be the best way to keep their business afloat. Some are even considering making the switch to either a partial or completely remote staff permanently. With so many business functions being performed online, this may seem like a relatively simple transition. However, it’s not without its own unique set of challenges.
While strong communication is important when managing an in-office staff, it’s even more crucial when managing a remote staff. Without daily face to face communication, it’s easier for important information to be lost or miscommunicated. However, keeping your entire team fully informed is vital for success. To keep everyone in the loop, there is communication and project management software such as Basecamp, Asana, and more. These types of programs make it easier to share information, allow everyone on the team to remain informed, and contribute to and follow the progress of all projects.
Onboarding and training new employees can also be challenging when working remotely. There are a few different options for tackling this issue. You can start by creating online onboarding procedures that a new employee can easily access the necessary paperwork and complete and sign it digitally. When it comes to training for specific tasks, the trainee can work with an experienced team member one on one. This can be in person if geographically possible or it can be done using online video conferencing software such as Zoom and utilizing their screen sharing features. It is always a good idea to document the procedures for correctly completing all tasks, creating a resource center. This can be with text and graphic or with tutorial videos created with apps such as Chrome’s Loom.
The importance of company culture has been a hot topic in recent years but how do you maintain a strong company culture with a remote staff? While remote employees like the perks of working at home such as eliminating the time and expense of commuting, they miss the day to day interaction with the rest of the team. If your company isn’t completely remote, have monthly or quarterly in-office days. These will provide management with the opportunity to have a team meeting and check in with staff one-on-one if need be. This also gives employees the chance to collaborate and bond. If your team is completely remote and there is no office, rent a conference room periodically or plan recreational team building activities. You can also encourage remote employees to have smaller satellite meetings at the local coffee shop or even at a team member’s home if they’re willing to host. All of these personal connections are the basis for a strong company culture and you shouldn’t underestimate its importance.
This is probably one of the biggest challenges of managing a remote staff. For a smaller remote staff with a well-established company culture, this may not be so daunting. It can be as simple as turning in detailed end-of-day (EOD) reports including links or attachments to their work assignment, both completed and in progress. These would be reviewed daily by the business owner or manager. For companies with a large number of employees working remotely, this type of productivity monitoring may be inefficient.
Some businesses are using productivity monitoring software to handle this process. While these can be more efficient at monitoring productivity, proceed with caution. Some of these are so advanced that employers can monitor employees’ computer keystrokes, take periodic screenshots, track travel by GPS, and even assess how an employee communicates by monitoring their tone of voice, posture, and body language. Other activity monitoring software activity monitor software can record the time spent using a specific app, collaborating with a co-worker, and allow screenshot capture, screen recording, visited websites control, URL blocking, and keylogging.
While monitoring productivity is vital when managing a remote staff, over monitoring can lead to employee anxiety and stress. Even the most conscientious employee can become anxious if their productivity is constantly being scrutinized. The best solution is a combination of monitoring and trust. It’s important to let your remote staff know exactly how they will be monitored. Their permission is typically required and there may even be other privacy issues involved, especially if they are using their personal computer when working from home.
Transitioning to a Remote Staff
Putting all the proper tools in place when transferring from the office to remote work can take a bit more capital than you have on hand. CFG Merchant Solutions offers a variety of funding options that can provide a fast, effective funding solution for your business. These include small business and merchant cash advances which provide businesses with funding based on future sales. We also offer invoice factoring, purchase order funding, and equipment financing. In some cases, we are even able to provide funding for businesses with less-than-perfect credit or brief credit histories.
Our team brings to the table more than 60 years of institutional investment banking experience in the credit, commercial finance, and capital markets. Whether it’s a merchant cash advance, equipment financing, or any of our other funding options, we will guide you in choosing the perfect funding solution. Contact us or apply online today