Long before anyone had heard of Covid-19, the demand for remote work was already growing.
Both business leaders and their employees discovered that remote work had many benefits and very few disadvantages. For instance, working remotely reduces the overheads that business owners need to pay for electricity and desk space.
Remote work also means that your employees can spend less time on their commute, and more time getting things done. It’s no wonder that 50% of the workforce is set to be operating remotely by the end of this year.
Now that a global pandemic has pushed countless companies to experiment with remote work, it seems certain that more flexible working policies will begin to appear. The question for today’s employers is how they can create a remote work policy that supports their team.
1. PROVIDE THE RIGHT TOOLS
In a standard workplace, your employees will have a selection of crucial resources they use every day. Depending on the kind of company you run, this toolkit might include printers, desks, computers, and more.
As people in your team move into the remote environment, it’s essential to ensure that they still have the tools they need to thrive. Start by assessing the job description of each employee in your office that’s going to be working from home.
Make a list of the tools they need to use now, and which extra solutions they’re going to need at home. Along with essential business software, your teams might need a time-tracking app to keep track of how much they’re owed from each workday.
You can also think about the tools that your employees will need to keep data safe, like VPNs for data protection.
Don’t forget to consider the mental health of your employees too, and their desire to stay in the loop. Communication tools like instant messaging solutions will help to keep everyone connected.
2. CREATE CRUCIAL POLICIES
You probably already have a handful of policies that your employees adhere to now. When you begin implementing your remote working strategy, you’ll notice that a few other requirements begin to emerge.
Above, we already discussed using a VPN to protect data. However, your company’s information might also be at risk if your teams are logging in from unsafe locations.
Letting your employees know that they should only work from a secure environment is crucial to keeping them and your business secure. It’s also worth including information on how you’re going to handle meetings in the policies.
For instance, is everyone expected to attend a monthly meeting? Do they need to make sure that they’re in a quiet place with no eavesdroppers?
Consider the kinds of rules and guidelines that are necessary to keep your company safe and compliant when your team isn’t in the office. You might even put your employees through basic training on how to avoid cybersecurity issues and what a secure password looks like.
3. KEEP IN TOUCH
If you want your remote employees to remain productive when they’re working from home, you need to ensure that they still feel engaged with the business.
Although there are many benefits to remote working, it’s important to note that some team members can feel isolated when they’re not in the office. This can lead to problems with motivation.
Regular check-ins are essential to ensure that your employees are on the right track and striving to reach their goals. Some of these check-ins might be simple, like a message sent over Slack to see what your team member is working on. Other conversations might need to be more comprehensive.
You might decide to have a full video conference with all of your remote employees every three to four months to see what’s happening from their perspective.
Ask them what they think would make them more productive in their roles. What do they like and dislike about being remote? This is an excellent opportunity to adapt your strategy to suit your team.
4. CENTRALIZE ESSENTIAL INFORMATION
Finally, it’s important to note that remote employees often have more problems with their work when they don’t know where to find the necessary information. Remember, your mobile and work-from-home teams can’t turn to their colleagues and ask for help if they’re lost.
To get the best results from all of your employees, make sure that you have all the information your employees need in the same place. This will save your team members time on tracking down resources.
At the same time, it means that supervisors and team leaders don’t need to waste as much time answering questions.
Along with basic information about the company and the projects your employees work on, your essential information base might also include tips on how to increase productivity or make the most out of a flexible schedule.
There will be many things that your new remote employees need to adapt to, so try to make it as easy as possible for them. This extra guidance will help your employees find a way of working that suits them and keeps them motivated and productive.
ADAPTING TO REMOTE WORK
The remote work revolution has exploded with popularity in recent months. Now that countless companies have seen first-hand how successful remote workers can be, it’s unlikely that the world will go back to traditional office work – at least not entirely.
The good news is that switching to a more flexible working style can be an excellent thing for your company. It’s a chance for you to improve employee satisfaction, attract new talent to your team, and reduce overheads.
All you need to do is make sure that you implement the right strategies to guide your team members into a productive remote working experience.
Remember to keep track of the success of your remote working campaigns. Measuring metrics like employee satisfaction and turnover could give you a better idea of which efforts drive your business’s best results.
This guest post was written by Michelle Laurey and may not be copied or published without permission. Michelle works as a VA for small businesses. She loves talking business, and productivity, and share her experience with others. Outside her keyboard, she spends time with her Kindle library or binge-watching Billions. Her superpower? Vinyasa flow! Talk to her on Twitter.