As the world of business evolves with technology, more and more companies are adopting remote work capabilities. Remote work can benefit employers just as much as it benefits employees. In fact, studies have shown that employees are more productive when they work remotely. Conducting business outside of the office not only cuts down on distractions but also allows employees to tackle tasks that require a deeper focus than more menial tasks. For the employers, remote work allows them to save on office real estate costs, by providing companies the opportunity for open floor plans rather than assigned desks. Most importantly, offering remote work can help improve employee retention, which is a critical bonus in today’s competitive talent market.
If you are considering adding in remote work options as a benefit for your employees, here are a few tips to ensure that your employees have everything they need to succeed.
1. Provide them with the best communication tools
There’s no denying that communicating is easier when everyone is working in the same office. This is greatly due to the layers of additional information that individuals can read through body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. Luckily, opting for remote work doesn’t have to mean the loss all of these face-to-face communication benefits if you utilize the right tools. Keeping in regular contact with remote employees through advanced unified communications tools can help bridge the gap. From video conferencing to instant messaging, today’s technology will help you stay in constant contact with coworkers. Although you may still lose some of the spontaneous information exchange that occurs when you’re sitting with your team all day, you’ll be able to build a stronger relationship when you communicate frequently and casually via these tools.
2. Encourage Social connections
Because a lot of remote workers find themselves feeling excluded from the in-office group, help foster and encourage building relationships online. After all, one key to success of a virtual team is connection. Despite their physical distance, team members need to feel connected to the work they are doing, the company they are working for, and the people they are working with. Even the most independent of remote team members need to feel that they are a part of the bigger picture. To kickstart these relationships, set up working partnerships or small groups to provide remote employees with an in-office connection. These connections should serve as a point of contact or liaison for remote workers to rely on for updates, information, and answers to questions. Foster relationships that spring up organically as well, and make that possibility more likely by providing the proper environment to help these relationships grow.
3. Set clear and realistic expectations
One of the most valuable things you can do for your remote employees is to set realistic expectations and open up a dialogue around goals and deadlines. As a general rule, try to keep deadlines for remote workers in line with those you set for team members in the office. Just because a remote worker doesn’t commute doesn’t mean they should be expected to dedicate that extra time to work. Encourage your remote employees to dictate what their working hours are on a calendar their teammates have access to. This way, boundaries can be formed around when they are available to answer questions and when they are “logged off.”
Adopting remote work capabilities for your company will provide benefits that both employees and management will feel good about. Ensuring that you adopt the proper tools and policies can save yourself difficulties with productivity and feelings of inclusion down the road.