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Productivity of your employees can be a hard enough thing to manage and encourage when your employees work in the same office as you, let alone employees who work remotely. While it’s a dream for many to work remotely from home, very few employees find they can pull it off. For those that do, bosses need to ensure that they’re as productive as onsite employees.

Here’s five tips on how you can better connect with and manage your remote workers, freelance or otherwise, to help ensure optimal productivity.

Establish workflow
As your employees work off site, they will set their own hours. This means they have to rely on their own discipline to get work done. Because of this, it will be hard for you to set/control their hours, which means you’ll have to trust them to get their work done. You should be aware of when they prefer to work, simply by talking with them, and be flexible with their schedules.

Working with remote workers is a two-way street, and while you should know your remote employee’s schedules, they should also know your schedule, and how you work. If you answer emails in the morning and have meetings in the afternoons, be sure to let them know that you expect/will answer their requests before lunch, for example.

Communication is key
As in most businesses, communication is key to both a happy and productive workplace. You, as the manager, need to ensure that an open line of communication with your remote employees exists. This could be as simple as a telephone number or VoIP account that’s always on, (within reasonable hours of course), or an instant messaging platform. It’s important to ensure that you find out if your employees have the tools to complete their job.

Two-way feedback, both positive and negative, is also an important part of the communication process. You need to provide near constant feedback, even on small issues that would ordinarily be glossed over in physical interactions, while encouraging your employees to do the same.

Remember: you’re the boss
Many bosses with remote employees find that the employee seems to run the show, and getting projects or tasks completed on time can be a bit tough. As the boss, you need to clearly explain what is expected of remote employees, why it’s expected, and the consequences of not meeting expectations. If there’s a problem it’s up to you to try to fix it.

Most importantly, if you work with strict deadlines, you need to ensure that remote employees are not only aware of the deadlines but are held accountable for them. If deadlines are missed, you may want to find another employee, remote or otherwise.

Provide a secure platform
While the majority of remote employees connect to the office from their home, there’s a chance that they may connect from other locations, like coffee shops or libraries. A large percentage of public Wi-Fi connections have little to no security, and the last thing you want is to have your data breached due to unsecure connections.

This means you should provide remote employees with a secure way to connect to the office. Some solutions include virtual desktops or a secure laptop. Providing a secure connection isn’t enough, you need to ensure your systems can actually handle remote connections and that IT support is available for remote workers. The added benefit to this is that you can better monitor productivity, as the systems can be monitored using the same software as is used for computers in the office.

Judge by the final product
Productivity is not easy to judge when you can’t physically see someone sat in their seat. For remote workers, the easiest way to monitor productivity is by the quality and consistency of the final product turned in compared to the time it took them to provide it. In reality, remote workers should complete tasks in about the same amount of time it takes employees who work onsite. The time and date of submission shouldn’t enter into decisions unless there are deadlines.

Employees that connect remotely can offer companies who employ them many benefits too and if you’re interested in employing remote staff, why not contact us. We can help find a solution that will work for both parties for best productivity all round.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Optimal productivity of remote employees

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There are numerous trends related to the different social media services out there. One of the more popular being the hashtag. These tags have seen great success with Twitter users and social media platforms like Facebook also starting to support them. Because of this, many businesses are trying to use hashtags but are unsure as to how to effectively leverage them.

If you are looking to use hashtags on Facebook, it is going to take some time to master how to do so effectively. Here are three tips that should help make using hashtags easier.

Create a personalized hashtag
Because the hashtag has made its way into mainstream social media, it has become another way for companies to promote and grow their brand. If they can develop a personalized hashtag and use it effectively, users will likely start to use that tag when speaking about the company.

When tags are used, they can be clicked on and users can see other posts that have also added this specific tag. If you have used tags in your own statuses before, these posts will also show up, which could prompt people to visit your page, interact with your content and maybe even continue onto your site.

There is no official way you can claim your own personalized hashtag. What you can do is come up with a few ideas related to your company or brand and do a search for them on Facebook. If you see a tag has been used on numerous occasions and doesn’t refer to your company or Facebook Page, then try another one. When you find one that has either been used for your company or hasn’t been used at all, start using it in posts and other content. Be sure to use it on a regular basis and it’s highly likely that your followers will start using it as well.

Be warned however that companies struggle with this. Some Facebook users will use the hashtag to troll, or post negative comments. It is a good idea to track comments that use the tag to see if this happens. If it does, it may be beneficial to stop using it, or try another one. That being said, if it works, it can work really well.

Use hashtags to emphasize
While putting tags into posts and content will make them searchable, there is another effective way to use hashtags. If you create posts and want to emphasize certain words, hashtag them. This will change the color of the word and make it stand out, drawing the viewers attention.

When this is done correctly, it has proven to be quite effective. For example, if you are selling a car words like #reliable and #efficient could really make the post stand out.

Just be careful to not overuse these tags, as this will detract from the emphasis. Aim to use a maximum of two tags, three if the post is longer.

Use hashtags to identify and latch on to trends
Some of the most popular and efficient social media campaigns leverage current events and trends and the hashtag has made it even easier to find and track these trends. The easiest way to be effective with this method is to latch onto bigger events. For example if your company operates in Austin Texas, and you are hosting an event or having a sale related to the F1 race in November, you could put the #F1 tag in your posts promoting the event if you notice that it starts to trend.

It is important to remember that mastering hashtags and seeing a benefit from them takes time and effort. You are going to have to try a number of different approaches, but one should eventually work. If you are looking to learn more about Facebook and how your business can leverage it to full effect, please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Published on 13th September 2012 by Jeanne DeWitt.

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