Many digital nomads develop apps, websites, and more from a distance. They are employed because of their expertise and the quality of their work.
Their independence is their own choice, but it comes with some problems for nomad and employer.
Time is their friend
Nomads seek the freedom to work where and when they want. But, if they are to produce to the client’s needs, they still must find some schedule to govern their work.
While a plastic surgeon in Vegas might have to keep a set schedule, their very freedom from 8-5 workdays presents a strong challenge to their work and personal well being. For example, as contractors, they might have clients throughout the world. Juggling the work and fitting it into their time zone accessibility complicates their work.
Nomads and time
By Syed Irfan Ajmal, writing for Huffington Post, observed, “Many digital nomads solve this issue by simply having long work days – up to 12 hours or more – and taking longer, intermittent breaks throughout the day.”
This means that the apparent freedom is more restricted than it looks. After all, the nomad must be available at any time, ready to change direction, and start something new. And, if part of a wider spread team, they often have to negotiate time.
Employers and time
Managing these remote workers present employers with their own set of problems. If the nomad is a contractor, the time problem is one matter. If the remote worker is a regular employee, time is another matter.
Letting employees work from home, for example, can produce better and more productive work. Managing them doesn’t differ much from managing onsite employees. But, as Time notes, “Several studies show that many remote workers put in more hours because they’re always connected, and it’s too easy to work while sitting in front of the tube with the family, or to check in long after the workday has ended.”
This only presents risk to the employer. It lets employees burn out and risks violation of compliance on work rules for hourly workers.
Cloud-based time management like Clockspot offers a management tool for employers using remote workers. In their words, this time tracking website let’s you “See who’s working when and where, all in real time on the web.”
It lets workers enter time wherever they have internet access and, with authorization, to follow the time of their teammates. It helps employers complete accurate payrolls, monitor staff location, and everyone can trace projects, participants, and productivity.
Such systems track overtime where applicable, audits all changes, and manage leaves and PTO.
Nomads, home workers, or remote workers, whatever the case provide opportunities for workers and for employers. But, the value lies in the product they produce.
Employers want quality work when they need it. And, independent workers understand that. Still, a lot of temptations challenge their ability to get the work done.
Employers want to manage remote workers and still respect their independence. But, ownership requires them to manage the work even if it is from afar.
It’s up to managers to set boundaries on the independent workers’ independence. They are responsible for the scheduling, personal development, and project management.
Few things are more important to the success than communication. Managers need to talk to the remote workers one-on-one. They need to communicate with them by email. And, they work with workers in the field with day in day out time tracking and its connection with their productivity and value.
Michael F. Carroll
Title: Freelance writer at OutreachMama
Mike Carroll is a freelance contributor to Towering SEO and OutreachMama who helps businesses find their audience online through research, content copy, and white papers. He frequently writes about management, marketing, and sales with customized outreach for digital marketing channels and outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.