Remote employees are no longer a novel concept, but they remain a challenging one (especially for companies and teams that are not accustomed to having them). Understanding this and creating solutions to meet these challenges is key. Here are some tips for successful remote employees in any industry.
1 – Establish Training Timelines
Technology is critical for remote work. With a greater reliance on technology, employers must dedicate more time to training employees to effectively use those tools. Training manuals typically focus on procedural aspects of using a system, but not necessarily on how to apply it to business processes. Thus, providing a training manual is simply not enough. Personal training sessions, practice sessions, Q&A sessions, and a focus on the application of technology to accompany the documented guidelines is a must.
2 – Make Them Feel Welcome and Part of the Team
When your team works remotely, making everyone feel welcome and included takes extra effort. In addition to an email introduction to the team, consider having a video call for everyone to meet new team members and reconnect with existing ones. Be sure to have everyone share a little bit about themselves, not just the new team members. And make sure team members have one another’s contact information including their role on the team. Send a welcome package to new remote employees with a personalized handwritten note from a supervisor or manager. Lastly, take the time to orient new remote employees with key clients or vendors, so they understand more about the company and the people they will be working alongside.
3 – Schedule Routine Check-ins
It’s easy to become disconnected when working remotely. To avoid this, schedule routine check-ins. Make an effort to connect and strengthen relationships by avoiding jumping straight to business on phone or video calls. Take a moment to connect and strengthen relationships. Ask questions like, “How is your week going?” or “What are some blockers you are experiencing?” to begin a dialogue. Successful remote employees need to feel connected and valued, despite being physically disconnected. Just as you would chit chat with employees in an office and gain insight into their personal lives, the same effort must be given to remote employees whenever possible.
4 – Create an Open Dialogue
Another important tip for successful remote employees is to establish open channels of communication and be careful not to rely solely on email. Employ instant messaging, video calling, and other available communication methods. Check out Viber and Slack for alternative methods of communication between employees. Utilizing multiple communication channels to fit different issues and needs that may arise throughout the business day will ensure employees stay connected and informed. It’s also a great way to make announcements, collaborate, get advice, and ask questions of the team. Lastly, in addition to meetings that include the entire team, consider adding smaller roundtable meetings in which employees can participate in more intimate focus groups or even get one-on-one time with their co-workers. This guarantees remote employees will not only feel more connected to their team members, but they’ll also feel more in the loop about what’s going on within the company.
More Tips for Successful Remote Employees
If you are considering working virtually or want to dive further into successfully training remote workers to maximize their productivity, check out our productivity blog, where we discuss establishing good time management skills and focus on ways to be more productive when working from home.