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Many companies that have shifted to remote work still run their businesses and hire employees as if they have traditional offices. The “on-site” mentality lingers.

About 40% of managers lack confidence in their ability to manage workers remotely, and 38% say that employees perform worse when they are not in the office. Such office-minded companies have largely missed out on the increased productivity and efficiency that come from effectively managing remote teams.

Hiring professional remote workers and managing them effectively are essential for maximizing productivity and efficiency in today’s world.

Develop the right structure

The U.S. has become a remote economy in which 42% of the labor force works from home full-time. Remote-first businesses are positioned to thrive while many office-minded companies merely survive.

Positioning your company for success starts with repositioning it around remote work. According to a CMSWire article on what enterprise leaders need to do to manage remote workers, key factors to consider include: 

  • Required roles
  • Workforce size
  • Tools needed
  • Budget
  • Remote options

Some jobs are better suited for remote work than others. Though a technician that maintains equipment on-site may not be able to work from home, a financial professional who does their work on their computer could. Consider your company’s needs and how remote work could meet them.

Find talent that has already been successful working from home

Office-minded managers and employees often wrestle with challenges of working remotely, such as struggling to produce good work and manage time effectively while at home. You need a remote work talent strategy focused on reducing cost and lowering enterprise risk.

Dave Padmos, EY Americas technology, media and entertainment, and telecommunications industry leader, discussed this issue in a TechRepublic article on what the future of work will look like:

In 2021, we will see companies evaluate opportunities to geo-shift work that will enable talent sourcing focused on finding the right skills regardless of location, reducing total cost by sourcing and placing employees in remote locations, and improving employee satisfaction by reducing limitations on work location. 

Perhaps you need an accountant with deep expertise on a specific subject, like multi-state tax law or international subsidiary transfers and price optimization. Or maybe you want to hire a part-time CFO that can adjust your financial reporting so that you get the information that you need to be successful

Ultimately, your business will benefit from sourcing talent for the expertise that they will bring instead of where they live.

Communicate effectively

There really is no substitute for stopping by an employee’s desk to discuss a project. But you can keep your remote team on track through technology such as online chat, video conferences and project management software.

Establish a communication cadence like daily updates, weekly reviews and regular messaging and calls. 

Streamline hiring and onboarding

The future of work depends on finding highly qualified, highly skilled people and helping them contribute immediately. Many companies find that freelance talent best meets this need for speed. 

Professional remote workers ramp up quickest by drawing upon their industry expertise and experience working on specific projects. For example, one company found a bookkeeper and then an accountant through the same freelance marketplace. Both hires made such immediate and lasting impacts that the company expects to use more freelancers as the business grows and becomes more complex.

You also should be able to onboard remote talent without meeting in person. Project management tools let you confirm that new talent has all of the information they need, and you can schedule videoconferences or other virtual meetings to introduce team members.

Improve performance.

Office-minded managers tend to overcompensate for their lack of confidence in remote work by checking in with employees more than they should. The key is to find talent with a history of successfully working remotely and then let them perform.

Set expectations for your remote workers, then track performance and productivity accordingly.

Build upon the best practices that you followed while working on-site, like acknowledging work that is done well and constructively critiquing assignments that need improvement. Constant feedback is essential for remaining connected to remote workers and ongoing discussions will optimize performance.

Taking an employee out of the office doesn’t necessarily take the office out of the employee. If your company is currently working remotely, you may not be maximizing the benefits of remote work if your managers and employees are clinging to an office-first, “on-site” mentality.

Managing remote workers effectively will position your company for success in the new normal and the new year. Start by hiring professionals who were working remotely before the pandemic forced people’s hands if speed and quality are top priorities for your business.

Learn tried-and-true solutions of a remote workforce from Paro’s leadership and experts. View our on-demand informational session on “Remote Done Right” to get actionable insights you can implement right away into your new “business as usual.”