The remote working arrangement is growing more popular by the day. Experts believe that by the end of the year, 50% of the workforce will be away from the office most of the time.
The good news is that a remote team comes with many benefits. Not only are these mobile employees less expensive to care for, requiring fewer overheads and less office space, but they’re more efficient and productive too.
Because they have better access to work/life balance, remote workers are more likely to deliver exceptional results for their employers.
Building a successful remote team means tackling a few unique challenges too.
Most managers are used to handling employees that they can interact with daily. If you don’t have that face-to-face connection with your staff, how do you make sure that they stay motivated and productive?
Here are five ways to help your team adjust to the new age of remote work.
1. Deliver the Right Equipment
First, it’s essential to ensure that your employees have the tools required to excel in their roles.
Various cloud applications make this very easy. Businesses can deliver everything from critical marketing tools to state-of-the-art CRM equipment, ideal for working with customers.
Depending on your company’s structure, you can even choose cloud telephony, so that team members can make calls using the same business phone number from a distance.
Remember, when giving your employees access to critical equipment, you need to ensure that the right security is in place.
Two-factor authentication and other encryption measures will be essential to protecting business and customer data.
If you’re not sure whether the internet connection your team member is working from is secure enough, you may also need to consider investing in a VPN.
2. Update Your Communication Strategy
Communication comes in a lot of different flavors in the remote working space. When your employees don’t have the face-to-face conversations that they used to get with team members in the office, they can start to feel isolated and lonely.
Update your communication routine with instant messaging tools like Slack so that you can keep the conversation going in your workplace.
You can also maintain stronger bonds between members of your team by investing in video conferencing tools. Video tools are the easiest way to replicate the nuances of face-to-face conversations with people working remotely.
These services can even come with file and screen sharing options to boost context too.
A regular meeting where everyone gets in touch and shares their experience from the last couple of days is a great way to keep the conversation going.
3. Support the Right Work Schedule
A lot of business leaders worry that giving their employees the chance to work remotely will mean that they won’t put as much time and effort into their work.
However, the opposite is often true. If your team members are committed to their job, they may start to work overtime, adding more hours to their schedule than necessary.
Although overworking employees might look good for your bottom line at first, they can become a problem when your staff members start to burnout.
Exhausted team members rarely deliver the best results. Encourage your employees to spend the right amount of time on their work, but also find time for regular breaks and time out too.
Tell your other staff that when an employee “logs off” for the day, they’re not to be bothered with work issues.
4. Create a Great Knowledge Base
Your employees will need guidance from time to time.
Sometimes, this will mean sending a message or email to a supervisor. Other times, your team members will be able to support themselves and answer their own questions if they have access to the right resources and knowledge.
A comprehensive digital knowledge base stored on the cloud can offer an excellent environment for your team members to find all the answers to their questions.
For instance, your knowledge base might include information on how to stay secure online, or tips on how to use the equipment that they need at home. You could also include advice on how to maintain a healthy work/life balance in the same environment.
Listen to your employee’s feedback in this area and make sure that you’re delivering the right information they need to solve common problems in their remote working schedule.
5. Teach Some Basic Tech Skills
Finally, since it will be harder for your employees to get hold of IT experts to come and solve their problems when they’re working from a distance, it’s crucial for them to have some essential tech skills.
Find out which technology and operating systems your employees will be using at home and give them some basic tips on how to use those tools.
For instance, if your employees are using a Windows computer, they should know how to do things like troubleshooting issues and speeding up PC performance on their own.
The more your employees know about how to fix their tech troubles, the less likely they are to find themselves stuck at home, unable to work because they can’t get a crucial program to load.
If a problem becomes too significant, you can always arrange for video-conferencing sessions with IT experts where your team members can share screens and learn how to overcome particular issues.
Support Your Remote Workers
Supporting and managing remote workers is a very different experience from supervising in-office employees. As the world of work becomes more digital and globalized, business leaders will need to ensure that they have the right strategies in place.
You’ll need to create an environment that allows for remote work in your business, but it’s also vital to ensure that team members have the tools they need to thrive in this new environment.
From crucial communication strategies to basic tech skills, empower your employees to do their best work, wherever they are.
Jump-start your content marketing with 15+ quality publications on Remote Work, Digital Nomads and Online Business, that accept contributors.