Businesses looking to grow their virtual teams need to consider a number of support incentives and tools that will allow remote employees to thrive.
If your company is looking at hiring remote workers or considering to expand into this flexible working style, here are five ways employers can set up remote workers for success.
1. Determine means of communication
Communicating with co-workers who are working remotely remains one of the most obvious challenges.
Employees may find it challenging to communicate virtually because they do not fully understand the benefits and difficulties of non-traditional forms of communication. Communicating verbally is the most natural way to communicate with co-workers but, outside the regular office, communicating face to face isn’t always an option.
Remote workers rely on emails, messaging platforms, phone calls, texts and video calls to discuss work. Businesses can establish a system of communication that is best for each situation. For example, day-to-day updates around projects can be discussed through emails, but video conference calls would work better for brainstorming sessions.
2. Give feedback: even if it’s bad
You should never sugarcoat feedback. By not providing valid feedback to remote workers, employers are hurting their business in the long run by letting problems fester.
Employers need to let their remote workers know when they’re happy with their work (ideally face-to-face, using video conferencing). Otherwise, employees will not know if they are meeting the mark and continue to make the same mistakes.
3. Nurture collaboration
Relationships developed by employees in the office have an immense impact on their productivity and job satisfaction. In 2015, Virgin Pulse conducted a survey of more than 1,000 employees. 66% said their co-workers positively affected their focus and productivity. Furthermore, 40% said that working with their co-workers was what they loved most about their job.
Remote workers spend most of their working hours outside of the office, and can therefore begin to feel disconnected from the rest of the team. Depending on the circumstances, some members of your virtual team will never meet in person. Communicating and working with faceless co-workers all day, can make remote workers feel somewhat lonely.
Employers need to properly introduce all members of a virtual team. If possible, it’s a good idea to have them meet in person, so that a face can be put to a name. Your team of remote workers should develop trust and understand each other’s strengths and skills.
If the right type of collaboration is encouraged among employees working at home, their relationships can be as strong as those in-office.
4. Make use of daily reports
Daily reports are essential — and one of the most important rules for managing remote workers.
Being clear about what your virtual team is working on, helps everyone know where they stand. It also prevents overlaps and miscommunications, and allows employers to easily schedule tasks and deadlines.
5. Access to technology
It’s important that full-time remote employees have access to the right technology to complete their tasks. Whether it’s hardware or software, no employee should be required to obtain the right equipment on their own, unless an alternative agreement is reached.
Investing in hardware or software for remote workers will ensure that your company has direct ownership of the technology; and for security reasons, it ensures that employees aren’t using personal devices to complete company work.