Managing the work schedules of your employees is perhaps the biggest challenge. With mobile workforces rapidly becoming a part of businesses, scheduling their work hours becomes even tougher. Since these employees are not physically present at your location, you may feel apprehensive about creating schedules for them and ensuring that they adhere to them.
What can managers do to create effective schedules for remote employees? Is it impossible to manage their work hours and shifts without being in the same location? Tough as it sounds, the challenge is not impossible to resolve. You can still do it, provided that you take the right approach and leverage some effective tools. Here are some remote employee scheduling tips for smart managers.
Know your challenges
Even before you start working on creating schedules for your remote employees, you need to understand the challenges involved. The biggest challenge perhaps pertains to the limited communication between remote employees and management and fellow team members. Moreover, they seldom have established work hours and you cannot expect them to work in 8-to-5 shifts. Since they are not present at the company location, they are less likely to be engaged. This is also the reason that there is a lack of company culture for them. Once you know your challenges, you will be able to work on employee scheduling solutions that address them effectively.
Build a strong communication system
Even if your resources are working remotely, they are still a part of your team. Having a strong communication system in place is, therefore, mandatory. Stay connected with them via emails and phone calls. Even better, invest in an enterprise mobility solution that serves as a communication app for the team. While such an app ensures communication between remote and on-site resources, it also enables the remote workers to access data and information from the remote location as and when they need it. Use video communication as much as possible because it keeps the workforce engaged.
Implement an efficient scheduling app
An efficient employee scheduling app empowers your business in any case, more so if you have a remote workforce on your payroll. It enables you to create schedules for them and communicate the information as well. Look for one that enables you to manage your schedule from virtually anywhere so that you can streamline shifts for everyone. The best part of implementing a scheduling app for your business is that it keeps the resources connected and you can always keep them informed about schedule updates even if they are not on-site. This ensures adherence to the schedules and prevents absenteeism and conflicts.
Manage leaves and absence
Managing the shifts and schedules of the remote workforce is just half the work done. You also need to manage their leaves and absence because sudden leaves can disrupt your business. The best approach that you can take is to make absence management a part of your scheduling system. Establish rules related to absenteeism so that employees take leaves only when they have genuine reasons. Be particular about attendance and time tracking systems as well because this will have the remote workers always on their toes.
Anticipate and plan
One of the biggest challenges related to remote employee scheduling is about handling unforeseen events and emergencies. As a smart manager, you should be able to anticipate such events and have a backup plan in place. For instance, if a remote employee suddenly falls sick or gets stuck in a traffic jam, you should have a backup resource to step in their shoes. After all, you cannot disrupt your services just because an employee goes off-duty. Similarly, you may need to get more people working during peak seasons and busy hours. An anticipatory plan of action always helps.
Prevent overlap and conflicts
Since there is a physical gap between managers and remote workers, the chances of overlap and conflicts are always higher with them. There may be multiple workers working on the same tasks, which can lead to overlap and wastage of resources. On the other hand, a conflict could arise when employees may not want to work on specific shifts. You need to smarten up your scheduling system by preventing such overlaps and conflicts. The best bet is to leave scheduling to a software tool because it can create a fair and just schedule for everyone.
Besides streaming shifts and schedules for your remote team, you should keep track of their time and work constantly. Consistent monitoring will ensure that they always give their best in terms of performance and productivity, both of which matter the most for any business.