Managing your employees efficiently, even if they are few in number is a Herculean task.
To ease this, you could adopt this new and upcoming management strategy named 'ROWE'- which stands for Results-Only Work Environment. Here, employees are evaluated based on their performance with respect to the work given to them or against standard goals, as opposed to rating them based on the time they spent at the office desks. This strategy has proved to increase the productivity of employees, while saving company money, and thus, is widely used by major companies like Best Buy and GAP.
The concept is simple. When you decided to quit your job and start something on your own, one of the benefits you experienced was that you could come and leave your workplace whenever you wished, without owing your time to anyone. As the number of employees in your firm increases, what you fail to realize is that many of your staff may wish the same thing too. Your argument would be that since you pay them, they do owe you their time-which is completely untrue.
What they owe you is their effort, the work they do. Showing up for work on time, does not mean they are productive for all the eight hours they are in office! Hence, you could implement a more flexible approach by allowing them to work from wherever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done on time and is within the required performance standards.
You could unleash this strategy in phases- starting with managers. Study how their work gets impacted by the new policy and how it affects their subordinates. Typically, productivity and morale would increase as people would try to finish the work fast and use the time for personal work, rather than spend time watching the clock tick away till it reaches log out time. In most cases, the employee begins to feel guilty and comes back to office. However, this pang of guilt makes the employee more accountable to his work. This will also help in time management as one will learn how to draw the line of separation between work and personal work, thus leading to a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Once you are satisfied with the results of this method, introduce it to the rest of the team. Continuously measure and evaluate the performance of various teams and the work in general. Although this has proved to produce great results in big companies, you need to test its effectiveness, as you would test any new policy you introduce into your company. You may face initial hiccups related to team work like team meetings, communication or client interactions. However, deal with each issue individually, within the realms of this workplace flexibility.
Other than increasing productivity, this concept works well for the company, especially during an economic downturn, as employees are paid based on their performance and not simply for 'being there.' Employees, too, would welcome and appreciate this change, as they experience the advantages of flexible hours, working from places they choose and above and all, being there with their family needs them most, all while being productive and valuable for the company.