As remote employees continue to become a growing part of the modern workforce, the concept is taking on many different forms. Whether “remote” means work-from-home days for office employees or a team that’s scattered among far-flung cities across the country, it’s important to ensure that everyone is equipped, informed, and empowered to do their best. Here are some ways business are recognizing remote employees as well.
Create a Culture That Considers Remote Work, Well Work
Although remote work is looking more and more like the future, some companies struggle with the idea that work can be done well from anywhere. Luckily for those who prefer to spend 9-5 in leggings, this isn’t true. Without the distraction of deskside chatters and meeting overload, remote employees can maintain their focus on the day’s tasks in front of them. 77% of remote employees report that they are more productive when working out of the office, and 30% felt they got more done in less time.
When your company fully embraces remote work, employees working offsite will be more connected to those in the office because they’ll be considered part of the team, no matter where they’re based. By embracing, you can:
- Invest in visual meeting tools that enable remote employees and office employees to see one another and share each other’s screens.
- Include remote employees in all-company meetings, training, and on-site happenings that will connect them to the happenings at your home office.
- Send them a digital lunch card when you host a lunch meeting at the office, and they’re required to attend. Remote employees need to eat, too!
Still not sold? Start small by allowing employees to choose one day per week to work from home and see how it works on an individual basis.
Provide Remote Employees with the Tools That Ease Communication
The tools your company uses to keep communication flowing can make all the difference both in and out of the office. These affordable, efficient options can help remote employees field quick questions, provide helpful suggestions, and maintain an effortless sync on projects from anywhere in the world.
- Slack: From curated channels and video chat to file uploading capabilities and an extensive library of emojis, Slack keeps coworkers and teams connected with ease.
- GoToMeeting: Through video and screen-sharing capabilities, this virtual conferencing tool makes employees far and wide feel like they’re in the same room.
- Google Docs: Collaborating on content is a breeze using Google Docs’ handy Suggesting feature, comment capabilities, and sharing preferences. Enable everyone to work in a single doc with 24/7 access to the most updated version.
- Basecamp: With collateral comment capabilities, message boards, and customizable project fields, Basecamp provides teams with the ability to manage, organize, provide feedback, and iterate on files and documents for projects big and small.
Set Ground Rules and Expectations for Remote Employees
Employees working remotely won’t know how and when you expect them to check-in, turn in assignments, and collaborate with colleagues unless you tell them. For the sake of everyone on your team, establish a company-wide remote work policy that includes:
- Remote work availability: Are employees able to log in when they please or are they required to be logged in at a specific time (for example, 9:00 AM to 5:30 AM)?
- Chat etiquette: When someone reaches out via chat, how soon after are remote employees expected to reply?
- Meeting preparedness: What types of tools should remote employees learn how to use so they can work effectively in meetings?
- Check-ins: How often should remote employees connect with coworkers and managers? Should they participate in a daily standup meeting?
Allow Remote Workers to Include Run Meetings and Manage Projects from Afar
When team members aren’t physically present, it can be difficult for them to stand out as up-and-coming leaders. Provide your remote employees the opportunity to rally your team by running meetings and overseeing projects remotely. Not only will this help them gain leadership skills, but this practice will also provide them with the opportunity to be ultra-connected through high-touch projects that bring everyone together, both in and outside of the office.
Don't Forget to Include Remote Employees in Team Celebrations
FOMO is real for remote employees. From project launches and holiday lunches to birthdays and work anniversaries, loop in team members who can’t attend in person by giving them digital gift cards that allow them to celebrate in their way.
Keep Tabs on How You Can Improve Remote Work Processes and Policies
Remember, when you consider remote work part of your culture, communication, and collaboration are easier to maintain. It takes everyone to make remote work effective, so be sure to continuously ask everyone on your team how your remote tools and policies can be enhanced and improved via bi-annual surveys and on-the-spot feedback. The remote experience is a relatively new one. Still, with open communication, your company can evolve your policies and invest in tools that best fit the needs and culture of your company.