09 Jan Help Your Remote Workers Stay Connected
Many companies are increasingly embracing virtual teams and allowing some employees to work from anywhere. An IWG survey found that “70 percent of [global] professionals work remotely – a phenomenon known as telecommuting – at least one day a week, while 53 percent work remotely for at least half of the week.”
Ideally, working remotely gives employees more flexibility, no commute time, and the ability to stay connected while on the go. However, many companies have not taken the time to ensure employee engagement at home and help virtual workers feel more connected to colleagues. According to the Future Workplace Report from Upwork, “64 percent of hiring managers feel that their company has the resources and processes in place to support a remote workforce, yet the majority (57 percent) lack a remote work policy.”
To help workers feel like part of the team, leadership can make a few key changes that will go a long way.
(1) Onboard thoroughly.
As workers are hired or transitioned into a telecommuting role, department managers and HR must have procedures to prepare employees for working remotely. If possible, having the person come into the office for a few days to receive training and hands-on feedback is beneficial, though this can also be done via video calls. Remote employees should have an understanding of technologies used and where to go for help should they need it.
(2) Promote engagement activities.
Companies can host a variety of engagement events, but make sure to keep in mind virtual employees when planning. Even small things, like making sure to ask for feedback and questions from people on the phone or having lunch delivered to remote workers’ homes if having a lunch meeting in the office, go a long way to make employees feel appreciated and connected.
(3) Use video conferencing.
A huge way to help virtual employees feel more connected is to always use video when on calls, even if a larger number of employees join. This increases engagement and allows everyone to feel human interaction (even virtually) instead of simply crowding around a speaker in the office’s conference room.
(4) Train leadership.
Having a good boss who understands the challenges and benefits to remote working can help employees overcome obstacles. Managers should be trained on how to engage employees and help each succeed in a virtual environment. Managers should give employees the tools needed to work efficiently, acknowledge the work they do, and host regular meetings for feedback and updates.
Telecommuting will likely affect many companies in the next few years, and handling remote work correctly can increase engagement, retention and morale at your company.