Responsible Remote: Delivering for our clients and employees
Consider this scenario. Your spouse begins going out every night after work for drinks with co-workers and potential clients. How do you feel about that? Are you threatened? Do you feel that perhaps they might be cheating? Or do you feel excited about the prospect of them landing a new promotion, setting you up to finally buy the house you've been planning for? The story you tell yourself will dictate whether you sneak a tracker onto their phone or begin planning the furniture you'll need for your new house. It boils down to trust.
Every relationship is about trust, whether it’s business or personal. When it comes to managing a remote workforce, some leaders have a basic lack of trust. Those are the leaders who put in the trackers. They have employees install time monitoring software, require detailed timesheets, and some even use cameras on laptops to take random pictures to ensure it’s actually you at the keyboard.
Tracking and monitoring might seem like a good idea—after all, we want to know that work is getting done and that employees are working while they’re on the clock. But this approach misses the idea of care. Focusing on managing time gets leadership trapped into a mindset where you have to have control. Leadership begins to believe that remote means loss of control because everyone’s not together in the same space. As a result, they go too far, trying to control everything. Too much control ends with employees feeling trapped, being treated like robots—not creative human beings. And care disappears.
At Clevertech, we’ve built a successful remote workforce numbering more than 150 staff. And we don’t track and monitor our people at all.
We work in a high-performance industry. Our staff needs to be available, working every day in order for us to deliver for our clients. But we don’t believe that translates to monitoring every second of their time.
Instead, we focus on expectations of care—the expectations our clients have from us and, in turn, the expectations our leadership has for our staff. We call it a success loop. Our culture is driven by our responsibility to our clients. When we deliver a solid working product to the client, they’re able to uplevel their own business and make more money. Which makes them more likely to come back—making us more successful.
We give staff the tools and the freedom they need to manage their workload responsibly and effectively. Here’s how we do it.
One project per person. Each person only works on one client project at a time. This allows them to focus and deliver superior service to our clients.
No timesheets. We don’t monitor our staff’s time. Instead, we monitor their work output, responsiveness to messages, and reports directly from them about how the project is moving along.
Be open and honest about timelines. This is a two-way street between us and our staff. We are open about the deadlines we’ve set with our clients and they, in turn, are open about whether or not they believe it’s manageable. If they start to become overwhelmed or it becomes clear that they need more time, we expect them to speak to us about it and we can adjust if necessary.
Set expectations that there will be hard work involved. Some people are excited about the pressure to do better and work hard because they know it makes them better. They know they have leveled up themselves. Those are the types of people that fit well at Clevertech.
Building a responsible remote workforce means that we focus on standards and expectations instead of being big brother and focusing on control. Our focus is excessive care—and in that way, we’ve created a responsible remote workplace that exceeds our clients’ expectations.