I'll get straight into it. The concept of work from home might seem new to some people- laptops and desktops became popular very recently after all. But here's a thing- people have been working AND earning from their homes even before the electronic media got into the mainstream market. Truth be told, the Internet has made this entire process even more feasible.
There's nothing more disastrous than the way this nature is hitting humans this 2020. But is it too bad to work from our bedrooms with a cup of coffee beside us? I don't think so.
There are, indeed, challenges while your employees work remotely, especially when you are an SEO company that deals with a lot of sensitive data. It is very tough to manage employees when they are not working around the corner of your eyes, but it's certainly not tougher than COVID-19 itself. Do you want to know how? Bear with me as I dive into it.
Before getting into how to section, let's answer the why first. Well, a recent study suggests that 86% of employees feel more productive when they work alone. But how can we rely on this information when it is merely an interpretation of what employees think they do.
Is there any statistical backup? Certainly not. But the points that I am going to mention are just a compilation of what employers have actually observed when employees work remotely:
- Delay in the completion of tasks.
- Goldbricking among telecommuters.
- Miscommunication between co-workers.
- Data breaching and security issues.
- Internet and System errors.
Okay, hold on. Don't panic. This article is nothing about elevating your anxiety and concern for your organization. I am here to tell you how to cross these hurdles in the best possible ways and brag about it later. (Just kidding, you don't have to)
With COVID-19 spreading like wildfire, there's literally no other option than telecommunicating. And come on, can work from home REALLY hamper your business? It cannot, only if you recognize the errors and act as mentioned below:
1. Delay in Tasks:
Let's face it, how is it possible to not get distracted when your sibling plays EDM on the speakers, and your dog sits right beside you? One of the main issues that remote workers face is the lack of concentration on the assigned task.
The result? Delays. Lots of delays. Delays become a part of the work culture, and seldom does someone finish a task before the deadline.
Solution: Keep regular updates of what your employees are up to and ask them about their work status at regular intervals. Allot them a deadline, and make sure they complete it by then. Always ask them to work on shareable and editable files like doc sheets and keep checking their work history every now and then.
Keep up the discipline among the online work premises. Take necessary actions against the employees who violate the rules and appreciate the ones who complete the tasks before time.
You will always find two sets of people- the ones who actually do their best to finish a task and the ones who do it just for the sake of doing it. In short, some people get paid for doing less than their co-workers; I'm not even kidding. And obviously, they will work even less when their bosses are not around at their homes. (Duh!)
This phenomenon is known as goldbricking (for the people who did not know) and is pretty common among the telecommuters.
Solution: Keeping your employees' activities in check is important, as I already mentioned in the above point. But using employee monitoring software is the best way to capture everything that your employees do while they work from home. There are various options, like EmpMonitor, Teramind, Desktime, Hubstaff, etc.
Get regular screenshots of their screens, graphical records of the work they perform, analyze, and measure their productive and non-productive hours. Make use of constructive criticism and formulate better strategies to meet your goals.
Lack of face-to-face communication is a VERY BIG DEAL that people often do not take very seriously. But if you look closely, you will find many loopholes that indicate a disbalance among your workers only by virtue of improper communication.
Communication issues, when not resolved, create confusion, misinterpretation, delay in work, and may even instigate conflicts among the work from home employees. (Gulp)
Solution: Allot a single platform for communicating with your employees, for instance, a messaging application. Install it on all the systems of your employees. Make groups for separate tasks and assign them to work accordingly.
Apart from text messages, communicate with them via video conferences and voice calls. Hold regular meetings this way, resolve issues among the employees by allowing them to chat with their colleagues during the spare time while you still monitor them.
4. Data Breaching:
Here comes the point that is the most obvious among all. Any SEO company commencing work from home is worried the most about their data privacy. And boy, they're right! A recent report shows that a company protects only about 5% of its official data. Sounds scary? Yes, it is.
Maintaining data security is already a challenge in the office premises, and it gets even more difficult when sharing this data with your remote employees.
Solution: Create separate user profiles for your employees, starting from Google drive to everything else. Allow them to work on official tasks using only these accounts, and not their personal ones. This way, you get access to all the documents they handle and possibly avoid potential threats, if any.
You can also monitor their systems regularly and get updates about everything they do. Employee monitoring software also lets you track the user logs and keystrokes of the user. Meaning, you virtually know each and everything that they type and do on their laptops and PCs.
5. Internet and System Issues:
It is the responsibility of the IT team to look after the internet and system errors in the premises. But this responsibility shifts on a personal level when working at home. It becomes problematic for telecommuters to resolve system issues if they lack technical skills, and it gets worse if they bring their office PCs home.
The lack of high-speed Internet also hampers the productivity of these telecommuters. And not every employee is willing to pay for it.
Solution: As an SEO agency, having high-speed Internet is a basic necessity that you can never compromise. List the employees who do not have an Internet connection and let the company pay on their behalf.
Ask your employees to keep in regular check with the IT department and ask them to follow a set of protocols to ensure that there's no issue in the systems. And even if there is, ask the employees to call a software engineer immediately, let them talk to the IT department of your agency, and take necessary actions.
Ready To Rock The Quarantine?
Whether you are a startup or a big firm, self-quarantine is for everyone, and let's be honest, it's pretty boring too! So why not we start focusing on the long hours we get at home and utilize it productively instead of lying on the bed?
Be safe at home, but never compromise on your company's profits. COVID-19 has pushed people inside their homes, but that doesn't indicate any kind of a downfall if you follow some of the crucial steps, as I have mentioned above.
Do you have any questions? Do not forget to list them down in the comments below.
Renowned performance marketer, user acquisition expert, and a product fanatic from Bangalore. He is a prominent speaker in masterminds and events in the performance marketing space. Sumit is the Founder of Socioboard, which owns products like PowerAdSpy, Socinator, Gramboard, DominatorHouse, and mobile apps in the social media automation space which have millions of users.