Work from home has always been and will always be a hot topic. With the recent pandemic of COVID-19, this topic is taking off even more than normal. Companies who have flexibility and work from home options in place are ahead of the game. However, companies who have no work from home policies in place are scrambling to find a way to effectively manage their workforce. In addition to effectively managing a remote workforce, you might need to consider how to hire sales professionals with an entirely remote interview, hiring and onboarding process. Regardless of the Coronavirus, work from home policies will always be a key topic of discussion. Here are a few things to consider as you build your work from home sales team.
Why is Work From Home Beneficial?
Work from home can be mutually beneficial for both you and your employees. The reasons are obvious for an employee but how can this be beneficial to your business as you manage a team of high output sales professionals?
There has been extensive research done on this subject. One of them by Nicholas Bloom, a professor of economics at Stanford University, who teamed up with Ctrip, in order to test some ideas about telecommuting. Over the next nine months, about 250 workers volunteered for the experiment; half were randomly chosen to work at home and half in the office. At the end of the experiment, employers found that the remote employees worked more than office workers — 9.5 percent longer — and were 13 percent more productive. They also were judged to be happier, as quitting rates were cut 50%.
In addition, workers who spend none or all of their time out of the office reported feeling equally engaged last year. Those who spent 60 percent to 80 percent of their time away from the office had the highest rates of engagement. The conclusion found that “in spite of the additional time away from managers and co-workers, they are the most likely of all employees to strongly agree that someone at work cares about them as a person, encourages their development and has talked to them about their progress,” Gallup reported. Those who spend three or four days a week working remotely were also the most likely to report thinking that they had a best friend at work and had opportunities for professional growth.
What this research shows is the stigma and old views of a work from home employee being lazy or unproductive are simply not true. In addition, these employees had a higher retention rate to those going into an office daily. The benefits for you are almost as simple; happy and more productive employees that stay with you business longer.
There are many tools to ensure your employees are working as hard as they claim. Many CRMs have dashboards and login tracking features to view who is logged in and for how long. There are also many different metrics, depending on your business, that you can utilize as gauges of how productive your employees are being on a daily or weekly basis.
Some of the largest and most successful companies have been a remote environment for years. Here are some best practices:
- Regular one-on-one meetings: Have daily meetings and treat them as if you are in the office. Be formal, have an agenda and do not reschedule these
- Real time collaboration: Utilize different apps that will engage your employees in real time. G-Chat or Slack offers more than just “chat”
- Virtually “drop-in”: Ensure your workforce is doing their job. Randomly drop in by video call or phone call to see what they are working on
- Mandate a camera: Some people like work from home because they do not have to see other people but this also means they can hide, if they have a webcam for virtual meetings, you can continue to check in on them
Tools to Operate Effectively
There are many tools out there and there are a lot of options to go through. You need to establish a work from home budget, prioritize what is important for you and your team, what tools are a must, what is a nice to have and what you can do without. As you go through all the options, you can start to develop your work from home policy:
- Slack/G-Chat/Skype or another chat application
- Calling solution: CloudCall, Google Calling, etc.
- VPN (Virtual Private Network)
- CRM that provides good tracking dashboards, reports and tools
There are many other tools out there, you just have to do the research. Work from home can be a powerful solution to your bottom line, employee engagement and retention. If you need help recruiting, interviewing or hiring a remote workforce, Treeline can help get you up and running. Contact us today for a free consultation.