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So Close, Yet So Far: Effectively Managing a Remote Workforce

An increasing number of Americans are going remote. In 2016, 43 percent of employees said they worked remotely at least part of the time—up four percent since 2012. Similarly, the number of people who worked remotely one day or less a week shrank; the number of people who work remotely four to five days a week grew proportionally.

With modern technology at our disposal, it’s no longer necessary for everyone to gather in a physical office day in and day out. But effectively managing a remote workforce takes planning and dedication. You’ll likely have to modify your operations to make it work—from comparing business insurance quotes to cover your flexible workforce to implementing new training procedures.



Here are three areas that will require your attention:

Timely Communication

Communication is make-or-break for a remote workforce. After all, it’s what tethers them to the company! The best thing you can do for your staff (and yourself) is to set clear expectations. It’s generally helpful to share a document outlining onboarding procedures, daily quotas, deadlines, contact information, availability requirements, etc. This way, workers can head to this source for answers to their frequently asked questions.

On a daily basis, companies should emphasize transparency. Make sure off-site employees know how to get a hold of their colleagues. Try to answer emails, Slack messages, phone calls and texts in a timely manner so nobody is left hanging. It’s a good idea to hold regular, virtual one-on-one meetings to address issues and exchange insights.

Remote employees need tools of the trade, which could mean providing them laptops, mobile devices, specialty equipment, etc. In addition to making sure your property insurance covers this (often expensive) gear, you should develop best-practice guidelines for its use. Remember, it’s not fair or secure to ask employees to use their personal belongings for work.

Don’t let the “out of sight, out of mind” nature of remote employees lull you into a false sense of cyber security. Since these employees will likely access the same software (often cloud-based) as the rest of the staff, you’ll need to think about cybersecurity and cyber insurance more than ever. Make sure employees set strong passwords, report any lost or stolen devices immediately and keep up to date on antivirus protection.

Efficient Training and Delegation

Micromanaging remote workers rarely works out well. Instead, develop a training checklist to help workers get on their feet. From there, aim to be a helpful presence rather than a hovering nag. Employees require an adjustment period to build trust and get on their feet. However, make sure that they know exactly what they’re supposed to be working on and when it’s due. If they start to miss deadlines or show signs of disconnecting, it’s time to adjust the sails.

Remote workforces have shown the capacity for increased productivity, and employees tend to appreciate flexibility to work on their own terms. But business owners have to approach it the right way, through training, communication, equipment and insurance.

CoverHound can help your growing business find affordable, adaptable commercial insurance policies that fit your specific needs. Compare business insurance quotes today!

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