Remote employment became a trend out of necessity in 2020, but 2021 is seeing more companies continue with or change to remote employment for the number of benefits it brings the business.
Remote work refers to an employee working somewhere other than the on-campus office space traditionally used for daily tasks.
Whether from home, a coffee shop, or a library, working remotely can improve employee productivity and reduce stress levels. To make the transition easier on your staff,
Here are several things to do to prepare for remote employment:
1. Develop Company Strategies for Remote Work
Left to work autonomously, some employees may take a break from their responsibilities and coast under the radar if there is no reporting to the office. Decreased productivity can be a problem, but there are ways to reduce the likelihood of employees “no showing” while working from home. Prepare company-wide policies for the transition, including clear expectations and processes that will be used to monitor productivity and progress during the change. Things to consider include potential time zone challenges, child care adjustments, acceptable working hours, and computer systems access after normal business hours.
2. Use Remote Employment Tools
There are many things about an office that can’t be replicated in a home or remote environment, but there are tools that can be used to fill in some of these gaps. Consider communication needs. Rather than having employees give up their personal contact information for vendors, clients, or other members of the team, let them use a second phone number and the benefits that come with the service. Ninja Number makes it possible to never miss a phone call, no matter how spread out your team may be.
Collaboration resources like Zoom and Microsoft Teams can keep your employees in contact with one another, but cloud-based software solutions can allow for file sharing across multiple devices and locations. Many of these services give employees the option to work on documents in real-time, preventing miscommunication or delays in project completion. An intranet is a great, comprehensive solution for collaboration for the company’s business needs as well as employee morale. These are few remote employment tools that are easy to use.
- Google Drive (good for editing presentations, documents, forms, and spreadsheets and comes with several storage options)
- Slack (instant messaging and real-time chat tool that organizes conversations by topic, group, or department and integrates with over 600 apps)
- Asana (project management tool that can track task completion, share documents, and give access to vendors, contractors, and clients)
3. Optimize the Office for Remote Work
More than likely, you will have some employees or members of the management team still working in the office while everyone else moves remotely. Your office should be equipped with the same resources that your remote employees have. You should also consider upgrading the tech in the conference rooms or offices to provide the best remote connection experiences. High-quality monitors, headsets, or virtual reality upgrades can keep employees and managers feeling like they are still in the office together when meeting virtually.
One way to save on tech upgrades for your business is to find high-quality refurbished equipment. Companies can save up to 40 percent on refurbished IT gear.
4. Establish Socialization Opportunities
If you have only recently transitioned to remote employment opportunities, you probably still have an employee base that is primarily local. Don’t let your team get bogged down with the emotional adjustment of working in isolation. Create socialization and collaboration events where everyone (or at least certain teams or departments) periodically meets in person.
You could establish mandatory days for certain groups to spend in the office, focusing the day’s agenda to cover important tasks or goals that need to be ironed out. Don’t forget about seasonal office parties, either.
Have managers take on the responsibility of remaining connected to their team or department. One-on-one meetings through Zoom or Skype show employees they are valued without feeling like they are being micromanaged.
Use an intranet message board to post company or employee news, such as birthdays, special achievements, or a manager shout-out. Discussion forums on the company intranet also give employees a way to informally connect with each other while physically distanced.
If you aren’t careful, your remote employment strategy may not take into account the functional and relational needs of your employees. The right tools make it easier to stay productive, and socialization and collaboration opportunities make it easier to stay engaged and supportive of the company culture.