According to Global Workplace Analytics, 50% of the U.S. workforce already works in a type of remote role and anywhere from 80 to 90% of all employees say they’d like to work remotely during some duration of the work. If you’re a manager or owner of an automotive repair business, this could be a difficult pill to swallow. How can you trust a remote team to do what you need them to do when you aren’t in the same working environment? It could add challenges that you haven’t faced in the past. However, it could also boost productivity, team cohesion, and prepare you for the workforce of the future.
Here are 5 tips for managing a successful remote workforce:
- Treat remote employees as local hires: Your local technicians get to stop by your office whenever they want and see you in and around the business. Allow your remote technicians to have as much access to you as possible. That way, they don’t feel restricted or limited.
- Engage regularly: Every day, there needs to be some sort of communication with your remote workers. It could be through email, Skype or Go-To sessions, texting, or phone calls. Set up a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual face-to-face meeting. The frequent communication will help remote technicians feel included and valuable to the business. No matter what, never cancel a one-on-one meeting with your remote employees. This is the one-way ticket to resentment and them not feeling as valuable as their more local coworkers.
- Trust: One of the reasons why some companies refuse to open up remote opportunities is because of trust. They have a difficult time believing that remote employees will do the same work as an on-site employee. To achieve this trust, you can set up what’s known as, “work-from-home guidelines.” These include emails that must reply within 24 hours, no calls between certain hours, text for urgent matters, regular status reports, etc.
- Get to know them (really): If you take time to build rapport with every technician on your team, remote and on-site, then you can see who they are as people. Their work ethics may be fueled by wanting to create a promising future for their newborn child or debating chasing hail for a season. Whatever it may be, getting to know someone for who they are as a complete person will help you understand their motivations. Not to mention, the connection will make them like working for you more.
- Set clear expectations: Everyone has their idea of a job “well done” or a task that needs to be completed “quickly.” Be sure to show examples of what needs to be done and have these expectations clearly laid out for your remote workers. Have a deadline and perhaps try calendar sharing. There are many collaboration tools available. Find the ones that work best for your business needs. The more tools your team has available to them (other than the ones used for the actual repair), the more prepared they are to get the work done effectively.
If you follow these tips and have trust in your remote team, your business can be thriving with employees across a region or all over the world. It’s challenging to do, especially since you have to keep everyone on track wherever they are, while also making them feel like valuable assets. But if you want to expand and are open to what can happen through remote opportunities, then you’ll build a team of hard-working and trustworthy employees that will help you reach your goals sooner.