Remote workers are an increasingly prominent part of the workforce. Almost half of all employees in the United States spend at least some time working from home, according to a recent Gallup poll. Today’s workers are demanding the flexibility that remote employment provides – it gives them more freedom in how they plan their days, the ways they manage their obligations, and where they live.
The option tends to work out well for employers too. Remote work is a value-added perk that makes a job offer more competitive. However, managing remote workers can be a challenge. When you don’t see someone every day, it is easy to lose touch but following these best practices for managing remote employees can help.
1. Create Connections
Start by focusing on ways to create connections between your company and its remote workers as well as between your employees. Too many remote workers feel isolated from their co-workers, which isn’t surprising when many of them have never met, and most of them work from very different locations. To help your remote employees feel more connected, it is essential to give them time and opportunities to interact. Using video chats or phone calls can help workers bond, but the most successful work-from-home situations include opportunities for face-to-face meetings.
2. Encourage Collaboration
Leveraging project management apps is a good start. Many of these programs, such as Trello, Asana, and MeisterTask help employees stay connected regardless of where in the world they happen to be working. They include schedules and workflows that everyone can follow, so the entire team stays on the same page. These apps facilitate communication and often provide an option for discussion, whether it is a video hangout, chat, or a comments thread. No matter which you choose, the collaborations that form from teamwork-focused apps can only help your cause.
3. Empower Independence
Take steps to empower independence in your remote team too. This helps them feel like they are part of something bigger and a vital component of the team. Make sure that assignments include tasks that can be done independently as well as those that require collaboration.
4. Check In Regularly
Check in with your remote workers regularly. When employees work from home, even on occasion, there is no such thing as over-communication. Leverage tools like Slack or Perch to help everyone on your team stay connected throughout the day. When employees are integrated into the same communication channels, everyone is part of a larger conversation and part of the same group by default.
5. Protect Workers
Make sure that you are taking steps to protect your remote workers. When your employees work outside of the office, they do not benefit from the same security measures you may have on your computers at work, but that doesn’t mean they need them any less. Subscribing to a service like LifeLock will help your employees keep their personal information safe and avoid identity theft.
Best Practices for Managing Remote Employees
Allowing your employees to work remotely comes with a variety of benefits. Your potential pool for employees is larger, and productivity often improves; you may even be able to attract more qualified employees for less money. However, it takes some effort to make the situation work smoothly. Create connections and develop collaboration while still fostering a sense of independence. Make sure your employees have a way to communicate throughout the day and help protect your remote workers. Your business will thank you!