COVID-19 has forced many companies to allow employees to work from home, and there’s a chance that the pandemic will cause this to continue for quite some time. Measuring and reviewing performance was already a struggle for many managers, and adding it to remote workers can seem near impossible to accomplish. Regardless of what some may think, it is possible to measure performance and provide feedback to employees working out of the office. The key is creating a useful metric and ensuring the employees have a clear understanding of what is expected. Below are six ways you evaluate the performance of employees working remotely.
Goals and Expectations
Working from home does not mean getting less done, and in fact, it can often result in higher productivity. Creating a checklist of weekly expectations for employees and managers will show them what they need to achieve each week. Have the list include; goals, project updates, timelines, deadlines, performance expectations, and agreed-upon work schedules.
Goal setting is the most productive way to make sure that everyone stays on the same page. It is best if the manager and employee touch base each week to discuss goals that would be good for the team and the worker. Once the goals are set, they can be used as a metric to gauge the employees’ performance and placed in their personnel files to reference during quarterly evaluations.
Every remote worker must have adequate equipment, and an employee who keeps their equipment up to speed shows their dedication and commitment to their job and the company. Up-to-date equipment accelerates productivity and reduces the amount of time spent on technical issues. Ensuring employees have access to computers/laptops, cameras, microphones, phones, chargers, and fast and secure internet will aid in the quality of work your remote workers perform. If employees plan to work from home, make sure they agree to keep their equipment current and secure. Remind then that they will be evaluated on this aspect of their job during their next performance review.
Communication is an essential part of a business. Frustration mounts when people do not know how to reach one another. Developing communication guidelines will keep everyone on the same page and give you ways to measure employees’ performance in that area.
Determine the appropriate communication channels for given situations such as sending an instant message for urgent matters versus an email for things that can wait. Have each remote worker let others know when they are available to collaborate with the team and when they plan to be unavailable to their coworkers.
Quality not quantity
When employees are evaluated based on the quality of work versus the number of hours, they feel a heightened responsibility and often put more time and effort into creating a result they are proud of. Ensuring employees know what (and when) outcome is expected can help managers monitor remote employees’ performance and productivity.
Especially during the COVID-19 crisis, when schools and businesses are adjusting to the changes, allowing employees to be flexible with their schedules will mean a lot to and keep them loyal to your business. Giving employees some flexibility with their time can help build loyalty and trust. As long as each person knows what he or she is accountable for, it can increase productivity and morale.
When face time is limited, getting together as a team to discuss progress and issues is necessary to keep everyone connected. Let remote workers know that they are expected to maintain relationships with managers and coworkers while working from home. Ask them to create a plan of action on how they will make it happen and use that to monitor their performance. Consistently remind remote workers that contacting management and coworkers is routine behavior necessary for business operations, and should not be viewed as “interrupting” someone at home.
To keep the team running smoothly, managers need to reach out to employees on occasion to offer assistance or open the door for a discussion. This connection will build trust and respect in the relationship and also helps employees to remain on task.
In conclusion, productivity for remote workers increases when management ensures that employees have what they need to perform their jobs. To ensure that performance doesn’t slip, create clear expectations and guidelines for each individual and use them to evaluate employee performance. When employees know what is expected of them, they will be more productive and your business more profitable.