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The Do's and Don'ts of Management with Remote Workforces

Remote work flexibility has become a common thing for companies in 2021 and it can ultimately lead to them retaining their staff. After the COVID-19 pandemic, people got a real taste of what working from home was like and this was probably one of the biggest adjustments companies had to make as the dust settled.
A study by the global staffing firm, Robert Half, shows that about 1 in every 3 professionals working from home due to the pandemic would look for a new job if they were required to return to the office full-time. Here at AccountingDepartment.com, we have been a fully remote company since our beginnings in 2004 and we've learned a thing or two as time went on about keeping your employees happy, engaged, and sticking around.
Today, we are going to review some of the "must-dos" and dont's management should avoid when switching to a remote workforce.

First, however, let's cover some basic benefits of a remote workforce. The most stand-out benefit for a company owner is simply winning the talent war. You have an infinite range to pick your employees from! According to AccountingFly, remote work options attracted 8x as many candidates and this could mean applicants from all over the world that can be more qualified than what your local area has to offer. In addition to this, you face higher retention rates from your remote employees due to the additional flexibility they could have by working remotely. Employees can move where they want and still work for your company.
Reducing the office space in which your company occupies can be a cost saver as well. Not having as much overhead of a building lease, electric bills, and other general office expenses can take away some of the cost burdens for your company. For more benefits of remote work, check out our other articles here.
Now it's time for the "must-dos" of remote work management.

Must-Dos:
  • Develop a Plan
    • When COVID-19 hit, companies were sent home without any planning. Now, however, you can develop a plan to handle remote workers and it will surely drive you to success as you make the shift. Come up with regular meeting agendas, set performance metrics, offer inclusion events to build a firm company culture, and be flexible with your employees!
  • Digital is Everything
    • Your company must be digital! Everything from your workflow, documents, and collaboration (both internal and external) but be set up to be digital. It will make everything easier, trust us. There is software out there to do just about anything, and utilizing some of this software will make communication and collaboration between you, your employees, and your clients much smoother, organized, manageable, and secure.
  • Budget for Working Remotely
    • While your company is saving money on office expenses, you have to recognize that working remotely will require some additional costs that you should be prepared to cover. Funding a stable and high-quality remote access solution is key. Having the server capabilities to operate a business off of is like having enough printer paper in the office. While you will be saving money with other expenses, some new expenses will be incurred.
  • Finding the Right Remote Employees
    • Not all candidates or employees are a good fit for remote work. Look for motivated, independent, self-starters that can work in isolation and still meet their deadlines. Someone that has remote work experience and understands the work that they will be doing. A solid ability to communicate is also an important feature you'd like to see in a remote employee. While not seeing someone face to face every day in an office, you want your employees to feel comfortable with approaching co-workers with updates, suggestions, and issues.
  • Establish Employee Trust
    • Trust is everything when it comes to having someone work for you from their home. You have to instill a level of trust in your employees that they will be getting their work done in order to avoid possible micromanaging situations. Let's be honest, no one likes working for a micromanager after all.
  • Establish a Suitable Workplace
    • Ensure that your employee can accommodate a work-from-home lifestyle. Sitting at the kitchen table with a laptop on a day-to-day basis while the hustle and bustle of an average household take place is not suitable for productive and efficient work. Make sure your employees have appropriate office spaces, desks, and separation from others in the house during work hours.
The Don'ts (Excuses)

Right Networks shared a list of management misperceptions that we found interesting and common with companies that are considering making the switch to a remote workplace. However, if you follow the steps above, none of these should have an impact on you hiring or changing employees to remote!

"If I let you work remotely, everyone will want to"

"Too many distractions at home"

"How do I know you're really working?"

"We are a family organization - we will lose our culture"

"I'm probably paying them to do their laundry!"

"Our work is complex and can't be done remotely"

"It's easier to collaborate when we are in the same room"

"Working from home puts our client's data at risk!"

Remote work options are the future when it comes to employee morale, retention, and more. If you're in an industry that allows, don't get left in the dust with forcing in-person workforces and utilize some of these tips to climb to the top!

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