As the internet impacts modern business, more and more companies are offering remote capabilities for their employees. Remote capabilities are a benefit for both employees and organizations for various reasons, one being the work-life balance workers crave nowadays. Upwork reports that two-thirds of companies employ remote workers, allowing them access to resources beyond their local talent pool. On the other hand, working with remote workers has its challenges as well. From feeling left out of the in-office group to having a hard time communicating, companies need to be conscientious of how their remote workers feel. In order to do so, companies need formal strategies and plans for including remote workers. Here we’ve broken down some of those key phases and top strategies for managing remote workers throughout them:
Onboarding a remote team
Once your company has hired remote employees, carefully integrate them into your workforce by putting them through a formal onboarding process. This process should include routine steps such as obtaining important financial information, doing background checks and setting up benefits packages. It also should include the process of training new workers in your procedures and your company culture. To do so, introduce remote employees to supervisors to discuss onboarding goals via video conference. Discuss goals such as completing paperwork, meeting new team members, and introducing workflow procedures. Provide your remote employees with the most efficient tools as soon as possible to maximize productivity. Rather than sending a phone company in to hook up a company line, utilize Voice over IP phone services so they can start taking calls on day one and from anywhere that has a WiFi connection.
Collaborating with remote team members
The key to having a successful remote working strategy is implementing a robust collaboration process. Collaboration processes depend on implementing communication tools, such as instant messaging, video chat, email and more. Be sure to choose communications tools that can be used both for both one-on-one communication and group messages. This way, you can utilize them to host meetings with remote employees interacting and providing value in real time. Scheduling these video meetings and staying in contact via group chat will help keep remote projects on track and also keep remote workers engaged. Your communications tools can also be integrated into collaboration software to allow you to manage projects, assign tasks, schedule deadlines, share files, and track progress. These collaboration tools include Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Slack, and Google Hangouts.
Retaining your remote workforce
Recruiting and replacing former remote employees with new ones is expensive, so it’s in your best interest to create a retention policy. One of the most important factors of this retention policy is worker engagement. Employees who work from home tend to be less engaged than employees in the office. This is often because of a lack of personal contact with coworkers. To help combat this, implement policies that promote a greater sense of connection with remote and in-office coworkers. While there are a vast number of options, a few of the most popular include:
- Assigning new remote workers with in-office mentors/ buddies
- Scheduling regular video conference meetings to give remote workers the opportunity to see other workers face-to-face
- Creating social media groups or group chats for remote workers to chat with other workers about mutual interests such as reading, sports or hiking
- Hosting in-person events where remote workers can meet other workers
No matter which of these policies you choose, be sure to remember your goal of making remote employees feel included.
As more companies adopt remote capabilities and employees take advantage of them, having formalized remote policies will be a huge benefit. This will allow organizations to manage their remote workers more efficiently than the rest of the market and maximize profits.