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5 Ways to Increase Accountability for Remote Employees

Posted by Insightlink on 03/22/16

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When Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer changed the company policy, banning work-from-home employment, it was met with ire from employees and consternation from business leaders. She cited accountability as a driving factor for the policy change. Notably, other large companies have taken the exact opposite stance, seeking remote workers in order to bolster their hiring pool. 

The spectrum of opinions from the world of business shows that there are significant benefits to utilizing remote workers, as long as they have accountability practices integrated in the job function.  

Share the Desktop  

Windows-driven computers have a remote desktop protocol (RDP) function that allows software to gain access to a computer remotely. Using a RDP platform, the worker can have an in-office computer and a traveling computer that are synced to use the same files in real time. Doing this will eliminate inefficiencies associated with trying to copy and send files or merge duplicate work. From a managerial point of view, RDP software lets supervisors tap into the worker’s computer, monitor workflow and communicate directly via the synchronized connection. RDP programs are a good way of minimizing the divide between remote worker and the office.  

Work on the Cloud  

Another way to share virtual space is to use cloud-based data backup and sharing. At the turn of the millennium, software as a service (SaaS) platforms came to the forefront of cutting-edge business software services. The idea is that software packages and storage space can be shared offsite, saving the company the costs of software and hardware purchases and updates. It also opened businesses to the opportunities that come from global employment strategies. Since cloud platforms are, by definition, offsite, they make everyone a de facto remote employee. Businesses should use them and include appropriate policies and procedures on document sharing and timestamping to increase accountability with all of their staff, not just the remote workers.  

Have a Weekly Meeting  

Staff meetings are the gateway to employee accountability interactions. There is something useful in being able to have staff report progress and spitball new ideas. Twenty years ago, distance communication with video was expensive, requiring specialized equipment and cabled landlines. Now, almost every mobile device has video capability. Just because staff members are not local does not excuse them from weekly meetings. Skype, Facetime and Google Hangouts are all free video meeting applications. Hangouts even has included applications that allow for screen and notes sharing. Businesses should let the tried and true staff meeting be their accountability check with remote and local employees.  

Use a Checklist  

Research has found that management style is a significant influencer of employee efficiency. Managers that place a large amount of trust in their employees generally see better results. Businesses can develop a checklist of responsibilities and then assume that they will be accomplished. Most employees will rise to the occasion. Managers just need to be sure to allow for mistakes as people are not perfect and life can get in the way of productivity.  

The New Crowdsourcing  

If managers want to know how an employee is doing, they should simply ask. A new concept in remote employee accountability is the use of crowdsourcing to gauge effectiveness. In this social media driven culture, businesses want their remote employee to be integrated into their company brand as a whole. They can use social media to measure their employee’s engagement with the rest of the world.


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Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.

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