More employees are now working remotely than ever before, making it essential to think about developing a remote work strategy for your business.
There are many benefits of working remotely, including flexibility, cost efficiency, and an increase in employee satisfaction. Yet along with these come potential challenges of remote working like a lack of engagement or inadequate technology. Use the following tips to keep your business on track when going remote.
1. Provide the tools employees need
You can overcome many of the challenges of remote working simply by ensuring your employees have all the technology needed for success, right from the start. Although a laptop and smartphone are key pieces of the puzzle, you’ll also need to think about choosing a communication platform and productivity apps for remote work collaboration. Will your employees need high-quality microphones and cameras for video meetings? These should be supplied up front.
2. Keep the conversation open.
Communication is an important part of employee management in any business, but this is even more important when it comes to remote work. Keep the dialogue open with each employee, taking the time for a daily check-in via phone call or chat box.
3. Set clear objectives and expectations.
Employees feel secure and are more productive when they know what your expectations are. Be sure to explain each employee’s role in the company thoroughly, focusing on accomplishments and expectations. You can illustrate this with examples and share calendars with the whole team to make sure everyone knows what’s expected.
4. Engage with your team.
Part of engagement involves daily communication. To further engage with your employees, use remote work collaboration channels, from Zoom to Slack. These can be backed up with well-planned training and development programs. One of the primary challenges of remote working is finding a way to make everyone feel like they’re part of the team. Consistent interaction helps create an inclusive atmosphere, particularly if you can link up remote staff with local points of contact should they need in-person support.
5. Trust your team members.
While consistent engagement is important, you don’t want to push the interaction over into stressful micromanagement. One of the challenges of remote working from the employer’s end is knowing when to back off and trust your team. Give them all the tools they need to succeed, and then give them the space to work.
6. Focus on the goal, not the process.
When employees talk about the benefits of working remotely, they often focus on the flexibility involved. Workers should know what your expectations are, but don’t get so bogged down in the daily details that they need to log all activity from one minute to the next. Focus more on achieving outcomes, rather than internal processes – they’ll find their own methods of operation.
7. Recognise remote achievements.
In addition to the tips for working remotely mentioned above, you should also celebrate achievements. While in an office you can simply give a verbal congratulations on a job well done, this can be lost in translation over email. Consider giving additional benefits like online vouchers or other tokens of appreciation. Company-wide recognition can also keep employees motivated.
8. Involve multiple departments on calls.
Another way to replicate the camaraderie of an office environment is to pull other remote workers into your calls. Group chats can be very effective for remote work collaboration. While you can’t physically grab another team member and pull them into your office for a meeting, you can loop in multiple department representatives into your video calls.
9. Make time for the occasional in-person meetup.
While you can try to replicate the feeling of an office remotely, ultimately nothing really compares to face-to-face interaction. In addition to the tips for working remotely we’ve already discussed, consider scheduling regular meetups in person. Whether it’s an industry conference, corporate summit, or group reward for a job well done, in-person gatherings let remote workers bond which leads to a more tight knit team.
If your business budget doesn’t allow for this, get creative with your remote meetings. Try synchronising a virtual pizza party, pub quiz, cinema night, or awards ceremony. With more ways to connect than ever, remote working is a trend that’s bound to continue.
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