(This is a contributed post)
Even before the coronavirus pandemic happened, remote work was becoming increasingly popular. But now, it may be the new normal. More and more businesses have found in recent years that allowing their workforce to operate from home has wide-reaching benefits for everyone involved. Employees have a better work-life balance, and they are happier and more productive as a result. For the business, this will have an impact on profitability as well as cutting costs.
But a remote team needs support from their employer in order to work effectively. It is not enough to give them a laptop and expect business to run as usual. Managing a remote workforce is an entirely different ball game, and you need to know what you are getting into.
To obtain the best results from your employees, here are five essential tips to help you empower your remote workforce.
The best way to communicate with remote workers is through video conferencing. Although picking up the phone can do the job, an audio conversation does not allow you to communicate as effectively, since you miss out on subtle nuances and visual cues. It will also help to make remote workers feel like a more active presence in the company. Ensure all staff are using the same software and are trained in how to use it.
Not all remote workers have their own home office with high-end equipment, so you must ensure everyone is set up for success. This won’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. You might need to provide them with laptops, headphones, microphones, webcams or any other technology required to get the job done. They might not have access to the same resources that they would in your office, such as dedicated IT support. To help them get around any tech problems you could consider giving them an allowance for local laptop repairs.
Although working from home gives employees the freedom to work according to their own schedule, they will still have deadlines and other responsibilities. It’s important to set clear expectations and guidelines for how remote staff should work, to ensure everyone is on the same page. This could include rules for performance, attendance, work schedule and availability.
It’s easy to feel isolated when you work from home and have minimal face-to-face contact with your colleagues. Make sure remote workers are involved in all team meetings and discussions and that everyone is introduced. You could even implement a buddy system for new remote workers to give them a point of contact when integrating into the company culture.
When planning company events, it’s easy to overlook your remote workforce. This can lead to them feeling undervalued. Always involve off-site staff in on-site company activities. This might include networking events, nights out, team-building days, and other celebrations. This will make them feel like part of the time and valued within the company.
A remote workforce can be a hugely beneficial asset to your company, but only if they have everything they need and feel valued. By following these five tips, you can empower your remote workers and set them up for success.