Scheduling is a nightmare for business owners who run a brick-and-mortar shop. Imagine then, the chaos online businesses face when working with remote workers. While the technological advances that have made remote work possible have opened up a lot of doors for people around the world, there’s also a lack of accountability when you don’t have to face someone every day.
With the right tools and a positive attitude, scheduling remote employees can be greatly simplified, saving you time and money.
Use the Right Tools
Using a scheduling app will help take the guesswork out of scheduling remote employees. It also creates a streamlined, centralized approach to communication. With software like Humanity (learn more at https://www.humanity.com/enterprise-employee-scheduling), you can set reminders that go directly to the employee’s mobile device about upcoming shifts. You can also empower your employees to handle their own shift changes, rather than getting involved in this tedious tasks.
Time tracking is another essential tool when working with remote employees. If you don’t have solid start-to-finish shifts and enjoy the idea of adding flexibility, you’ll need to track time online. Harvest is a popular choice for startups and online empires, as it allows you to separate your hours based on the tasks you are completing.
Use Video as Much as Possible
As many people know, it’s harder to disappoint someone if you have face-to-face contact, rather than conversing with a faceless name over email for the duration of your employment. Schedule regular update calls to discuss challenges and opportunities. Take this opportunity to chat with your employees and learn more about them and what they do outside of work.
Video messaging has revolutionized the way satellite offices and online enterprises do business, as video messaging prevents huge long-distance phone bills by using wifi. Using video will also give you some culpability as an employer, reminding you that the people who work for you are human and deserve to be treated as such.
Set Time Caps and Project Milestones
Sometimes remote employees will try to pad their hours and get paid for more work than they completed. By setting time caps, particularly by doing so within a tracking system, you ensure that your employee can’t abuse the system and invoice for more work than was completed. If you take this approach, you need to be honest and upfront with your employees, even going so far as to add it into their employment contract.
Another way to make this work is to track project milestones. You should have a general idea of how long it takes to complete certain tasks, and have your employee add bullet points to each day, summarizing what they did. That way, anomalies will be easier to spot, and you’ll be able to see if work is or is not getting completed.
Use an Employee Contract, Always
An employee contract is meant to protect both you and the employee from causing each other harm. By incorporating rules about how scheduling will be handled and the consequences for infractions, you not only make your expectation clear, you cover yourself if things go awry. For example, if you suspect an employee of padding their hours, having sections of the contract about time caps will help you control the situation.
It’s also important to outline what happens if an employee misses scheduled time or fails to check in on a regular basis. It’s all too easy to “ghost” a business as a remote worker, and making sure you have the proper procedures in place when this happens can save you headaches down the road.
When running a remote business, as with running a brick-and-mortar store, you’re likely to find a few bad eggs before you find a shining star. Stay vigilant, cover yourself, and use the right tools for success.