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Productivity for off-site project workers

PM News
March 11, 2015

A more connected world means people can get their job done whether they’re sitting next to co-workers or hanging out at a café thousands of kilometres away.

“As more organisations open the door to the possibility of working from home, it’s time to figure out a strategy and adjust work-from-home policies, or risk losing valuable talent and productivity,” said Matt Goss, managing director–Australia & New Zealand at Concur.

“The thorny issues of local versus off-site employees can begin to solve themselves, with ever-improving technology offering more tools for workers in remote locations. Having a hybrid workforce, where workers come into the office from time to time but still work remotely on certain days, can provide a good balance.

“Whatever the make-up of the workforce, employers need to communicate expectations clearly and often, so that everyone knows how to deliver their very best.”

Three ways to keep off-site workers productive:

1. Set reasonable expectations

Just because an employee is at home doesn’t mean they’re at play. With a comprehensive productivity plan, businesses can ensure that remote employees are making a valuable contribution. Assigning projects with deadlines will keep businesses in charge of what really matters.

Alleviating employees of painful administrative tasks like tracking time worked or manual expense reporting by implementing automated solutions can give back much-needed time for creativity. A goal-oriented approach lets workers motivate and regulate themselves, helping them become more responsible, and more productive.

2. Make communication a priority

Important conversations don’t just have to happen at the water cooler or in the break room anymore. In fact, they can also occur on a collaborative messaging platform or during a video conference. Although these methods take more planning than bumping into someone in the lunch room, the payoff can be even more rewarding. Not only will people have a chance to think before they speak, but there will also be a record of conversations that workers can reference as they move forward. Keeping at-home employees in the loop helps them feel valuable, included and invested in the wellbeing of the organisation.

3. Schedule regular check-ins

Even with clear expectations and good communication, the best plans can go awry. Schedule regular check-ins to go over the current plan to see what’s working and what can be improved on. Use the opportunity to see the big picture view of what projects employees are working on, which ones they’ve finished and what’s on the horizon.

When everyone is on the same page, it’s easy to stay on track. Check-ins also give employers the opportunity to see if everyone is working at capacity. Look to see if deadlines are being consistently met, and if the quality of work being produced is getting steadily better over time.

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