Remote work is becoming an increasingly popular option for businesses looking to reduce costs, retain top talent, and increase employee productivity. The remote workforce allows employees to work from wherever they have the best access to customers. These employees often have other responsibilities at their respective companies that make it difficult for them to meet face-to-face with colleagues on a regular basis. By taking precautions, you can successfully keep your remote employees connected to their work and build a more productive team culture.
Create an Effective Onboarding Process
The first few weeks after an employee joins your company is critical to their success – you can trip up your remote team by rushing this process, frustrating employees, and putting them at risk for burnout. To prevent this, it’s important to establish a smooth onboarding process that includes clearly defined expectations, a training schedule, and regular communication with employees. Use this onboarding process to inform new team members of their responsibilities, where they can find information and assistance, and how they can get assistance when they need it.
This onboarding process also ensures that you’re ready to deploy your remote team as quickly as possible. Offering training and continuing education online can help you stay on top of your industry and provide remote employees with the knowledge they need to do their jobs well. You can also host in-person training or virtual mentoring sessions to provide remote employees with a more personal experience. Remote employees often don’t have access to managers and teams that can answer their questions and provide assistance when needed. Offering remote employees the same mentoring and support resources you use for in-office employees can keep your remote team connected and productive.
Update Your Communication Toolkit
The number of communication tools is vast, and choosing the best tools for your company can be challenging. The tools you choose can have a significant impact on how well employees engage with one another and how easy it is for them to access critical information. To make sure that your remote team members feel connected, you can choose one or two communication tools to keep your team up to date on. One great way to keep everyone connected is by using an automated text messaging service.
You’ll want to choose a communication tool that works well for you and your team. For example, you may prefer to use a chat program, while others may prefer email. Choose a communication tool that you and your team members are comfortable with. You may also want to consider team-building tools that will help to foster collaboration.
Hold Frequent Team Meetings
Many companies assume that team meetings are unnecessary or even potentially harmful for remote workers. While in-person meetings can sometimes be a valuable resource, they can also be cumbersome, expensive, and time-consuming. Offering remote team members the ability to participate in online meetings, however, can help to keep everyone connected, productive, and happy.
There are a variety of online meeting options to choose from, including services like Zoom, which allows up to six people to participate in one meeting. This can help to reduce in-person meetings and provide remote team members with a more convenient way to get together with their colleagues.
Have a Service Desk for Support Needs
Forcing employees to go through the process of asking for assistance or reaching out to a teammate can be frustrating, especially if that process takes a long time. Offering a service desk to your remote team members, however, allows them to reach out to a teammate or manager when they have a support need. You can create a portal that allows team members to create tickets, assign tickets to teammates, receive automated responses, and communicate with managers remotely or virtually. This can help to significantly reduce the number of in-person support interactions and provide remote employees with a faster avenue to receive needed assistance.
Find Ways to Collaborate Outside of Work
While it’s important for your remote team members to be able to collaborate with each other during business hours, you may want to consider other ways to foster collaboration outside of work. Remote teams often find ways to collaborate outside of work because they don’t have the same access to tools and resources that in-office employees have. Offering remote team members access to tools and resources outside of work can help to increase their collaboration and foster a more collaborative team culture. Tools like Trello and Slack can help to organize information and facilitate communication in teams. Google Hangouts can also be used to connect remote team members, even if they aren’t in the same location as one another.
Don’t Let Disagreements Over Work Get in the Way
It’s important to remember that remote work often leads to a lot of time being spent online. This can mean that disagreements over work can get in the way of remote employees’ ability to interact with each other and perform their jobs well. To prevent this, it’s important to make it clear to your remote team members that they shouldn’t let disagreements over work get in their way when interacting with each other online. Offering remote team members resources that will help them to manage their emotions and stay open to conversations about work can help to prevent remote employees from getting frustrated by disagreements over work. Online coaching can be an effective method of staying open and accepting feedback while maintaining a positive mindset.
To maximize the potential of your remote team members, you need to keep them connected through effective onboarding, a high-quality communication toolkit, and strategies to foster collaboration outside of work. Furthermore, it’s important to ensure that you don’t let disagreements over work get in the way of remote employees’ ability to interact with each other and that you don’t let remote employees feel isolated by their work.