webmasterNovember 2, 2017November 2, 2017As we collectively approach the end of 2017, this is the perfect time to evaluate the idea of a remote workforce or tweak your existing plan if you have virtual employees in place today. Before I get into the strategy of making a remote workforce come together, let’s look at the overarching benefits and challenges to such a concept. Remote Employment Benefits Increased Productivity According to SurePayroll, 86% of those surveyed said they preferred to work alone for maximum productivity. What’s more, 67% of managers say employees who work remotely increase their overall productivity. Higher Morale A study by PGI, found that 80% of workers reported higher morale when working from home. Flexible Work Schedule Employees can work whenever they want as long as they as they complete their work on time. Expanded Talent Pool If you don’t limit a geographic area, the number of potential employees really expands. This can be key in finding hard to fill positions in such areas as IT and cybersecurity. Remote Employment Challenges Hard to Maintain a Connection If you have never physically met your employee or don’t see them face-to-face on a regular basis, having them feel like they are part of the team can be difficult. Technology May Not Work Well The Wi-Fi, computer and software at home must be as good as that in the office, which may actually cost the company more money and time than managing the office IT environment. Remote employees need the same software and collaboration tools at their disposal as every employee in the office. Uniform Implementation may not be Followed In order to ensure that your organization is not sued, you need to have a uniform implementation of a remote policy. This means if you let managers work from home one day a week, you need to let any employee that asks also have that provision. Work Product May Come into Question When setting up a remote work environment where employees use their own computers, operating system and apps, the work generated on those computers can become fuzzy as to who “owns” the work – especially if it is generated by a contract employee. 3 Keys to an Effective Remote Workforce Plan Dig into the Why Why do you need to have remote employees? Is it because you are having a hard time hiring and keeping good talent? Are employees complaining about the long commute and lack of parking? Are you out of space at the office and need to temporarily ask employees to work from home? Once you have established the why, make sure you have clear, formal guidelines that determine: How many days per week or month an employee can work from home What hours they must be available for conference or video calls How often they must come into the office How they will report their time at the end of each workday Give them the Right Technology According to a Softchoice poll of 1,000 respondents, 78% frequently experience technical difficulties when collaborating with remote workers. This can be very frustrating – both for the remote and local employees – because neither is productive when the technology doesn’t work. First, make sure remote workers have the right laptop rental, Wi-Fi configuration, and online and native apps to do their job. If their home Wi-Fi is too slow, you may need to upgrade it in order for them to participate in video calls or other intense applications. Collaborative tools such as Slack, Google Drive, Office 365 and Polldaddy are great apps that can be used anywhere and from any device. Video conferencing and screen sharing can be completed by a variety of tools including Skype, Facetime and Google Hangouts. Make it Personal Just like you make time for one-on-one meetings with local employees, be sure to check in at least once a week with remote employees too. Spend time getting to know them; don’t make the calls only about bad news. Hartford Technology Rental Has You Covered As a national technology rental provider, you can rent a computer and anything else needed for your remote workforce anywhere in the continental United States. When you are ready to rent technology, contact us at 888-520-5667 or complete our request form.