5 tips on managing teleworkers

Australia recently said goodbye to the office for a while, with the launch of the first ever National Telework Week in November. One of the aims of Telework Week was to highlight the benefits of remote workers (teleworkers) to employers; which include increased productivity as well as lower rent and amenities costs.

Plus, research by Deloitte has found that teleworkers experience fewer sick days and increased workforce participation, which in turn lifts employment rates and gross domestic product (It is estimated that it could add an extra $3.2 billion a year, the equivalent of 25,000 full-time jobs).

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The research also shows that 73% of part-time and casual respondents would take up telework if it were made available. For employees, it means no more commuting, less stress and better work-life balance, leading to happy, engaged workers. It also facilitates greater participation for older workers, full or part-time carers and those with disabilities.

According to a study by the University of Melbourne, Australia is well behind the global average when it comes to teleworking:

  • only an estimated 6% of Australians benefit from a teleworking arrangement*.
  • the global average for teleworking stands at 10% (these people work from home every day).
  • 20% of global workers are teleworking for employers overseas.

*(The aim of this government initiative is to increase this percentage to 12% by 2020.)

However, managing teleworkers is an issue in terms of processes, culture and legislation which should be fully assessed for possible implications before proceeding with such an arrangement.

Here are our top 5 tips for managing remote workers

  • Ensure the employee is operating in a safe working environment.
  • Create and implement a solid teleworking policy, which covers working hours, location and expectations in terms of productivity.
  • Technology is your friend. Use video and live chat as well as collaborative editing.
  • Create “Smart Goals” which are measurable and deliverable so that the expectations you laid out in your policy are easily monitored.
  • Group initiatives will maintain a team mentality, try creating quarterly goals and themes (we do it, it works!)

Successfully managing a remote workforce is no longer a future issue. Getting to grips with it now will benefit businesses in the long run in terms of growth, productivity, retention and recruitment.

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Melinda Gibson

Melinda is a HR Manager with Employment Innovations (EI), based in Melbourne; she primarily assists clients in the retail and hospitality industry. With over 10 years of experience in human resource management, Mel provides advice and training on HR practices and employment law, assisting clients with the implementation of effective human resource tools and strategies. Visit www.thinkei.com.

Top image: Jeremy Levine Design

3 replies on “5 tips on managing teleworkers

  • Rashida Tayabali

    This initiative would be great for stay-at-home mums wanting to get back into the workforce. Such flexibility however is sometimes not even considered by organisations.

  • Kasia Gospos

    Interesting stats from Deloitte! managing remote employees is not easy but possible and more organizations consider it to be a future. Something that hasn’t been possible 10 years ago now is an option: skype and other VoP solutions, less traffic, more time on more meaningful tasks than driving a car, more time with a family, flexibility to work with different time zones etc. I can see though an importance of personal contact with people. I guess the best set up for an employee is somewhere in the middle

  • Anna Danes

    Thanks for the article! When managing teleworkers the role of the manager more important than in non-virtual jobs, the manager needs to be present more often and needs to create spaces for the team to meet, increase communication and listen to the team. If the manager or team leader is not visible the team will not achieve its goals or the company will have a higher turn around. I love to hear that in Australia you are taking the issue so seriously and that you start your list talking about safety and comfort! Thanks!

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