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Strategies for Setting Remote Employees Up for Success
Posted by Insightlink on 10/14/22
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way that many companies think about how they run their operations, especially when it comes to how and where their employees work. While it used to be traditional for people to work out of physical offices, safety precautions, including the need to socially distance, required many businesses to transition to a remote workforce. It worked so well that many companies are sticking with the idea and having more of their employees work from home.
Some may feel like a remote workforce is too hard to manage and keep on task, but it really just takes some good advice and proper planning, and your team can be as productive as they were at the office. Let’s talk about strategies that you can use to set your remote team up for success.
Create a Productive Home Environment
The first step is to create a productive home environment that is similar to what your staff experienced in the office. Be sure to provide all of the technology that they need to do their jobs to their full potential. That means providing a suitable computer, phone, and a reliable internet connection. You can either provide internet service to them or reimburse your team for the internet that they use for work purposes.
It is also important to ensure that your staff has a proper home office setup. Start with an ergonomic office chair that will help the employee sit upright while supporting their back and neck, so they can stay focused without feeling pain. They should also have a suitable workstation that allows them to keep their computer monitors at eye level to avoid neck strain. If the desk is not high enough, then provide them with a monitor riser.
One of the downsides of working remotely is that the home office setup requires a lot of electricity, which can cause higher energy bills. Thinking about paying the utilities can cause unneeded stress that can affect an employee’s work performance. So, provide your team with tips for how to lower their electric bill. Ideas can include installing energy-efficient LED bulbs, keeping the thermostat at a reasonable level, and, if possible, situating their desk closer to the window so they can work while bathed in natural light and avoid the need to turn on lights altogether.
Communication Is Key
The other major downside that many employees face when they work remotely is that they can have feelings of isolation and even depression. That is because many people are used to the idea of working in an office and seeing their coworkers day after day. We need that connection to other human beings to thrive. Management can simulate in-office workplace culture for remote employees by practicing open and transparent communication.
In addition to regular emails and phone calls, consider looking into an instant messaging program that will allow the team to communicate seamlessly throughout the day. It is also a good idea to have a weekly meeting over a video platform like Zoom, which will allow everyone to see each other on the computer screen. It is the next best thing to being in the same physical space. Use this time to have team meetings or plan a fun activity every Friday so your staff can blow off some steam and feel less alone.
Mental health is very important with a remote team, so management must have an open-door policy where employees can easily reach out when necessary to express their concerns. When they do, you need to actively listen and provide real solutions, and if you don’t have one at that moment, then offer to find out and get back to them. You can also offer suggestions for micro-habits that improve remote productivity and mental health, such as writing in a journal every night or talking to a therapist. If your company’s benefits package provides therapy options, then mention the fact and lead them to the resource.
Keep the Team on Task
Yes, it can be a bit harder to manage a remote team than it is to supervise employees in an office, especially since you cannot see them. But that just means that you need to set your expectations and then hold the team accountable. Start each day or week by setting a quota or guideline for what work should be completed and when. Keep in mind that you are not micromanaging them but giving them a goal that will keep them on task. Employees need training on how to work remotely because it’s something that hasn’t come naturally to them in the past.
When we work from home, it can be easy to get distracted by family members, the television, or the many sources of entertainment on the internet. However, as a manager, you must ensure that these distractions do not prevent your team from doing their work. Remind your associates that they should work in a quiet part of the house and that they shouldn’t use the TV during work hours. You should start off with the honor system and trust that your employees will comply, but it may become necessary to restrict their work computers to only websites that they need to complete their jobs or turn to other similar solutions.
Finally, when your remote employees do a good job, make sure to reward them accordingly. While a gift card or an extra hour off at the end of the day is nice, often, a reward can be as simple as publicly acknowledging a team member during your weekly video call or sending out a congratulatory email that everyone on the team can read. Some employees may use that as inspiration to improve their work performance as well.
As you can see, there are many strategies that you can try to keep your at-home employees on task and as productive as they are at the office. Consider these tips, and you’ll be ready for the future of remote work.
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AboutInsightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.
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