How to manage remote workers effectively

Using remote workers as a part of your business comes with plenty of advantages. In addition to reducing overheads, your employees may experience less stress, they won’t need to commute as far, and you can easily hire people around the world. At the same time, remote working requires employees to have a high degree of self-discipline. This means you need to know how to manage remote workers effectively.

Create an onboarding process

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that a remote worker doesn’t require any onboarding. However, failing to provide them with an induction in the same way that you would with office-based workers can result in a sense of apathy. Make sure your onboarding procedures include information about how your company does business, the team members they’ll be working with, and details about the software they use. Your onboarding processes should also include any documents pertaining to IT and NDA agreements.

Establish communications processes

If you and your remote working team are going to touch base with one another, you’ll need to establish communication processes. According to some statistics, around 50% of the United States workforce will soon work remotely. If remote working practices are going to run smoothly, communication and regular updates must become a priority. You may find that scheduling regular catchups using VoIP is mutually beneficial as other people can join in on the calls where needed. Make sure the communication processes you use extend beyond just yourself and the workers. Encourage them to communicate with each other as this generates a sense of loyalty.

Create a project management database

Always remain wary of micromanaging your remote workers. Although you want to know that they’re dedicating themselves to their projects throughout the day, constant calls, emails, and video conferences aren’t conducive to productivity. As an alternative, you may want to create a project management database with actionable tasks, details of who’s been allocated to them, and updates. When you and your project managers can see where progress is being made, it’s easier to promote productivity among your workforce while remaining assured they’re working efficiently.

Use time trackers where necessary

Although you don’t want to fall into the trap of micromanaging, it’s normal to want to make sure that your workers are doing their fair share while telecommuting. One way to oversee this is by using time trackers. Time trackers track the amount of time a remote worker spends on their tasks, before sending accurate reports back to you. They prove especially beneficial when your remote workforce operates on a billable hour basis rather than a fixed salary agreement. Employees may feel disinclined to dip into non-work-related tasks when time trackers are in use, which then makes them more productive.

Support your remote workforce in creating a productive environment

With remote working comes the temptation to slip away from productive environments. You should support your employees in making sure they’re in an efficient setting by establishing workplace ground rules. This may include keeping home offices free from distractions, not carrying out sensitive work using public WiFi, and not working late into the night in order to use morning hours for other activities. You should remain flexible to promote a sense of independence among your employees, but it’s okay to help them establish a sense of stability too. Also, keep security in mind. Research suggests that nomadic remote workers prefer using co-working spaces, so make sure your team is working from ones that are safe.

Using the right IT tools, you can create a remote worker environment that’s productive and useful. Always remember to prioritize communication with those who represent your business, and provide as much virtual support as you can without becoming overbearing.

How to know you’re getting your money’s worth for consulting services

It’s perfectly understandable that some business owners hesitate at the thought of retaining consultant services. They’re outsiders, not part of the company’s culture or history, and there remains the lingering question of whose interests take priority—theirs or yours.

The fact is, a consultant’s success depends upon your success. It is in their best interest to provide you with the very best advice and service possible. As for being outsiders—many times, an outside perspective may be just what your business needs—particularly if it’s stuck on a problem and not experiencing meaningful growth.

You may also find value in a certain IT consultant’s specialized knowledge. Their assistance could fill a temporary need or serve as a specialized resource for situations where outsourcing is more cost-effective than hiring new full-time employees.

But how do you know if you are getting your money’s worth?

The answer is in determining whether they are providing the useful services you need.

Project planning

Starting a new project—especially one intended to help grow a business—can be both an exciting and daunting process. But where to begin? Where to end? How to get from beginning to end in a manner that wastes neither time nor money?

You undoubtedly know best in setting and meeting goals for your business. But you probably don’t know how best to apply recent technology developments to reach those goals with a minimum of time and cost. Consulting services will bring you the expertise and experience in current IT trends and capabilities to guide you toward the plan that works best for your specific business needs.

From there, your consultant can help map out the best strategy to go from project launch to successful completion.

Project management and tech support

Once the scope and underlying strategy for a project are determined, how prepared is your business to follow through? Once your consultant makes technology recommendations, you may find it useful to have them assist in acquiring and installing your new technology to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Consulting services can also offer tech support—either in-house or remotely—to help keep downtime to an absolute minimum and manage software and security updates, freeing you to commit more time to developing your business.

Does your business have a disaster recovery plan to protect your data during your project? Consulting services can help you create a backup and disaster recovery plan (BDR) to help keep your business data available without loss or interruption.

Digital transformation  

For most businesses, growth is driven by how readily your business can adapt to changing technologies and customer needs. Even in 2019, there are still companies that rely too heavily on manual processes, incomplete data and obsolete technology.

An expert consultant can review your current technology capabilities and resources to determine how to keep your business working ahead of the curve.

Whether your team needs to digitize records, redesign the network, address cybersecurity concerns, or customize an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to centralize all communication and data, your consultants can guide you through modernizing your business and maintaining a competitive edge.

Business communications and remote access

How efficiently do your employees communicate? Does everything run through a single phone system or, at best, basic e-mail?

Consulting services with expertise in communications systems can review your business and determine the benefit of updating your traditional phone system. Migrating to a more flexible voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone system can enable you to securely integrate office phones and mobile devices to support video conferencing, multichannel messaging, shared workspaces, and more.

Can your employees access your computer network remotely? The ability to access inventory, place orders, handle customer support, build customer databases, and conduct other business from anywhere can significantly increase your business efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

Access and security may be challenging at first, but with an IT consultant guiding you or managing your system, your organization will gain improved and reliable communication options for your future.

Creating IT solutions

What other IT solutions might benefit your business?

The goal of every IT consultant is to help you and your business find the best technology strategies and solutions for your specific needs.

Reaching your goals can be challenging even for the strongest organizations. But with the help of technology consulting services, you can efficiently and thoughtfully navigate those challenges to maximize your consulting dollar and your results.