Now more than ever before, companies are switching to remote work strategies to maintain productivity in an evolving workforce.
Thanks to the cloud, software as a service, and various mobile solutions for collaboration, we’re discovering that work doesn’t need to be a place you go to each day. Instead, you can accomplish amazing things wherever you are, just by having the right tools.
While remote working opportunities deliver a lot of benefits to employees and employers alike, they present challenges too. For instance, distance working can make your team members more productive while reducing overhead costs.
However, it can also lead to burnout if your people don’t know how to maintain a work-life balance.
So, how do you help your staff get the balance right?
1. Set Policies for Work/Life Separation
The online world has made it easier than ever to run a business remotely. We have tools for communication and collaboration that employees can access anywhere, from their laptops or smartphones. This also means that it’s complicated to disconnect from the office.
Although it’s important to ensure that your employees work the right amount of hours on their projects, they also need to know when to switch off too. Setting policies for when your employees should “log off” each day can be a great way to encourage them to stick to a healthy schedule.
You can also ask your employees to respect “presence” features on collaboration tools. For instance, if an employee is offline away, you should avoid messaging them until the next day.
2. Agree on a Suitable Schedule
The great thing about remote work is that it allows you to hire a wide range of employees from across the globe. A challenge you might face is that you might have people in your team that can’t deliver the same hours as your in-office employees.
When hiring someone new, take the time to sit down and discuss what their schedule is going to look like. Think about different time zones and the unique needs that the employee has for things like childcare.
For instance, you might agree that your remote worker needs to be online for one group meeting a week, but the rest of the time, he or she can create their own schedule.
A time tracking tool or app could help you to check that your employee is logging in to work for the right amount of hours each day.
3. Avoid Pushing your Employees too Much
A lot of companies worry that hiring remote workers will mean that they have a less productive team. But that’s rarely the case. Remote employees can be just as productive, if not more efficient than their counterparts.
Once you’ve agreed to a schedule that works for both of you, try to stick to that, without insisting on things like overtime and extra work unless it’s absolutely necessary.
You can always just let your employee know if you could use some extra work from time to time and let them decide whether they can afford to take on the additional responsibility.
If your employees are having a hard time getting everything done in the hours they currently work, maybe you could look into some better time management strategies for them to use. For instance, do they know how to plan and organize their projects properly?
Improving Work-Life Balance for Remote Workers
Many people assume that work-life balance is better for remote employees than in-office team members because there’s usually more freedom to manage your own schedule.
When your living and working spaces are one and the same, it’s easy to get caught up in the demands of work and forget to stop. As a business leader, it’s up to you to ensure that you’re encouraging a good work-life balance in your team members.
Introduce your employees to different schedules and see which one fits them best. Discuss things like time-management, and help your employees to use the hours that they do have “at work” as productively as possible.
Focusing on maintaining the right work/life balance for your team members will ensure that you can unlock all the benefits of mobile employees, without the negatives of burnout and talent churn.
Ashley Wilson is a content creator, writing about business and tech. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.