How to keep remote workers happy
- Combat any potential for loneliness by keeping in regular contact using digital communication channels and face-to-face where possible
- Remember to highlight your remote workers' achievements to the whole organisation to help keep their motivation high
- Consider training your remote employees and their managers in overcoming common issues in remote working
- Keep check on workload and hours to ensure your remote workers are able to switch off from work
Remote workers can benefit your business in a variety of ways, including providing flexibility in location to visit clients, hours to cover customer service and allowing your business to grow without increasing your office space. There is a skill to managing employees who are working remotely, to ensure you both reap the benefits. Clarissa Seymour, a business development specialist, shares her top tips.
Working remotely is becoming more popular than ever before. In fact, in a recent survey into remote working by Buffer, 99% of respondents said that they would like to work remotely for at least some of the time over the course of their career. However, remote work comes with challenges too, so what can your business do to keep remote workers happy?
Make communication easier
If remote workers feel included in their team it can be very rewarding for them and stave off any loneliness. This is why you should be doing everything you can to make it easier for your team to communicate with each other. Thankfully there are many messaging technologies now available that can simplify this process.
Options such as Microsoft Teams, Slack and Twist can do a great job of keeping all lines of communication open and allowing remote staff to keep in touch with each other, and their managers, without using lengthy email conversation.
Promote great work
Many remote workers are able to have productivity levels that rival, or even surpass those of workers in the office – however, they are not always recognised so readily for their efforts. The old adage of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ can sometimes apply here; managers simply forget to extol the good work of remote workers because they don’t see them on a day-to-day basis.
It is important to make a point of recognising the efforts of remote workers, based on what they are actually doing for the company. It can also be useful to promote this good work throughout your organisation. This has the added benefit of making your whole staff more aware of the great stuff that remote employees are doing.
Provide them with training
It is definitely worth remembering that remote working can be a skill in its own right – not everyone understands how to effectively manage their time, stay focused and motivated, and keep on top of their work when they are working away from a shared working environment. Indeed, many people take remote work by necessity rather than by choice and may be more used to an office environment.
Remote working is a skill that can be learned. You can consider providing specific training, not only for remote workers, but also for those managing them to help supervisors understand how to get more from remote staff. When remote workers feel that they are being given access to information and skills, and their managers are more in tune with them, they are more likely to perform well.
Stay in regular contact
The Buffer report on remote working revealed that after difficulties in unplugging from work, loneliness is the second most common challenge for remote workers. To keep your remote employees' morale and motivation high, it is important that team leaders and managers stay in regular contact with every member of their team, including those who work remotely.
There are many ways that you can do this, such as by having a phone call during the week, or even better, setting up online video meetings to give a better sense of human connection. This can act not only as a way to ensure that staff are keeping on top of their workload, but also give them the chance to discuss any issues and stay up-to-date with what is going on in the business – something that on-premises workers can often take for granted.
Get everyone together in person when you can
It is a great idea to ensure that your team meets up in person as often as possible. This can be an important way to create a sense of community and ensure that your team works well together. Of course, meeting up in person is not always practical, but if it is possible, then you should aim to do a team meeting together at least once a month.
It is vital that you foster a genuine team atmosphere amongst staff. When remote workers feel like they are part of a team, they are more likely to be able to be engaged with the business and do a fantastic job.
Encourage balance as well as flexibility
While it can be great for your business and your remote employees to be able to enjoy flexibility in their work schedules, it's a good idea to regularly discuss their workload and hours. Many companies have time tracking in place and this can highlight if your team member is regularly finding it difficult to switch off after work.
Just as you would check in with office-based employees if you regularly saw they were coming in very early and staying very late, a supportive conversation can ease any concerns on both sides.
Clarissa Seymour is a business development specialist with a wealth of knowledge in remote working.