Many managers have been experiencing working alongside remote employees for the first time recently and 90% of remote workers would recommend remote working to a friend, so if you haven’t already, it is definitely time to delve into the world of remote employees.
1. Feedback is your biggest ally
In our recent blog on giving and receiving feedback, we explored the importance of feedback and how to deliver it effectively. This becomes even more crucial to remote workers since they aren’t sat in an office where managers can walk past and quickly slip in a “nice work” or something along those lines. This means that there should be a greater focus on reviewing met goals and giving plenty of feedback during meetings so that your employees can feel involved and motivated to continue doing their work to the standards set.
2. Out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind
The number one issue with remote workers is that they are susceptible to loneliness since they will be spending hours at home alone. It may be easy to hire and forget about a remote worker but you need to be aware of the negative effects this causes. Without regular check-ins, you could be leaving your employee unsure of certain tasks or goals which could leave blank spots in their work or lower standards than what was expected. Someone who is experiencing loneliness isn't likely to stay with a company for a long period of time or may take multiple sick days due to poor mental health experiences. Remote work is ideal for many employees for multiple reasons, but one of those reasons is not to be left alone unguided.
3. The remote experience is dynamic
The remote experience will be forever changing due to the fact that their office is also their home. If they start out as an all-perfect happy employee, do not expect it to stay that way, life is unpredictable and there are many factors that can affect an employees motivation, mindset or overall productivity. Things such as wifi issues, house moves, renovations and a whole bunch of at-home occurrences can change schedules, mood and behaviour. You can ease the effects of these by allowing flexibility and encouraging open and honest communication at all times.
4. In-person connection is still important
Yes, your employees are remote but that doesn’t mean every interaction has to be remote too. Don’t slack off on team building days or in-person group meetings because they are still useful and will always prove effective. Although some team building activities can be done remotely which is a great option, the options are far more limited than in-person opportunities, as well as it being easier to form deeper connections in person. Time in the office or out with the rest of the organisation will help employees feel connected to each other and the business which will strengthen teamwork, communication and encourage a healthy workplace culture for any in-office days.
5. The onboarding process is crucial
This statement is true for employees who will be working in the office too but you may be unsure how to even begin the onboarding process with a remote employee. If your employee will be working partly remotely and partly in the office it is recommended that the onboarding process happens in the workplace and then they can transition to home working. Otherwise, clear up their first week in your schedule as much as possible, you will need to be prepared to work closely with them over the phone until they are comfortable, set meetings or check-in calls when possible and make sure to review their work together.
The top 3 things you will want to do during the onboarding process is to;
1, Create a sense of belonging to avoid imposter syndrome
2, Encourage collaborative learning if possible
3, Provide a digital handbook with information, checklists etc
6. Growth opportunities are everywhere, take advantage of them!
With the advantage of working from home, employees may find themselves with extra time here and there, in the workplace, it’s easy to find some extra work to do, but what about when they’re at home? Well, extra time is a great opportunity for you to provide your employees with some personal growth. Sometimes employees will have a unique set of skills that aren’t being utilised within the company as much, it is always a great idea to discuss these personal skills and find even small tasks where they could be useful.
Another great option is to provide training or coaching over a long period of time so that it can take up those few hours that are dotted around each week. Employees will always value the opportunity to gain more skills or strengthen what they already have
7. Flexibility can still work alongside a structured plan
77% of remote employees say they’re more productive when working from home, why is this? Remote employees are able to set their own schedules and work at the hours when they are at their most motivated and focused. For example, someone who considers themself a morning person can work the early hours where they’re feeling most productive, and then someone who considers themself a night owl has the ability to sleep in and work at the most convenient hours for them. Flexibility brings many positives for employees as well as teaching them the responsibility of time management which is an important skill to have, especially when looking to progress to bigger roles in the future.
Although flexibility can seem like a daunting thing for any leader who is more accustomed to structured days and tight schedules. Fear not! These two can work alongside each other just fine with good communication. Plan regular meetings in order to catch up or go over what needs to be done over the upcoming weeks
8. Accessibility will help avoid common issues
Since remote employees aren’t in the office, they lose the ability to have a quick chat face to face or leave a note on your desk when something is needed. Their alternatives are usually email, text or a call, do you have these things available for your employees and how often are you checking them? If you are inaccessible to your employee there is already a drastic amount of poor communication and you may lower your employees' trust in your leadership. Of course, you cannot be expected to reply within seconds and be there for every call, but your best efforts should be there to reply in a reasonable time or make your employees aware of when you are least to most available.
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As people operations and performance consultants, we work with your business to identify and improve performance gaps so that you can be more profitable and professionally develop your people. Over 12 years of expertise in people operations and performance with results to back it all up. Why settle for the average when there is a world of possibility when you know how to achieve it? Untapped potential - Let's go get it!