The option to work remotely was always just that: an option. Now, in our current social and professional state, it's a necessity. Companies all over the country and world have been forced to go fully remote literally overnight due to coronavirus concerns. While some of your employees may have been fully remote already, this is a new concept and working style for many, and there needs to be new levels of trust, communication, and understanding between management and workforces.
The key is to equip all your employees with some best practices for remote work. This will ensure everyone is putting in the same effort (easing any concerns that may come up), and also that everyone still feels like they're on the same team. It's important to create an inclusive environment for all your team members, even if they're not in the office every day.
Here are some tips you can use for as long as this crisis continues, and even beyond.
It's all about trust
The first step is to build trust between remote workers and their teams. You can kick this off by having managers and remote workers set check-in calls with each other. These can be daily or weekly in the beginning, as they find a rhythm. This time should be used as a concise one-on-one to go over product updates, brainstorm ideas, or review metrics. Successful check-ins could actually encourage your employees to stay organized, because everyone will be responsible for keeping track of their own metrics and schedule.
Gathering this information in a presentable format can inspire new conversations and create more efficient processes while staying on track with team goals. We have plenty of technology in 20120— take advantage of it! Try creating a Slack channel where team leads can share visuals of progress over the week with everyone. Just make sure you also include initiatives that haven't been as successful to ensure complete transparency. (After all, you're only as strong as your weakest link!)
Stay open and honest
At the same time, don't get wrapped up in how long it may take to complete certain tasks. It's easy to get nervous if an employee is taking a few days to complete an assignment — both for the manager or the individual contributor! On the other hand, what might've been scheduled to be completed in a week could be finished in a couple of days when working remotely, especially if the task requires deep focus. The important part here is to keep an open dialogue between worker and supervisor, so nothing falls through the cracks.
This is a good time to encourage reflection and discuss best practices with your team and manager. if you're the kind of person who is driven by internal motivation, remote work might be a great fit. Remote employees try to find the most efficient ways to be just as productive as one would be in the office and this can sometimes result in discovering new work techniques that may deliver faster results.
Make sure to be inclusive
In terms of office culture, it's incredibly important to make opportunities for remote employees to get face time with those who are at your HQ every day. In this case, that's everyone — and we're all looking for a sense of normalcy right now.
Coordinating office happy hours, outings, or simply getting certain teams together to attend events allows people to put faces to names. Filling that mysterious gap that remote workers can create will make it easier for people to collaborate on new projects or reach out with a question whether they're remote or not.
If you have permanent remote workers, make sure you send them a special something if everyone else in the office is having a happy hour! You should celebrate everyone equally — otherwise, remote workers can feel detached from the company culture and might not want to stay with your company much longer.
Once we go back to working in an office, offering employees the option to work from home is a great way to attract the best talent. It can get tricky balancing team members' time with people working in and out of the office. Following these tips can help set yourself up for success, creating a positive work environment that focuses on employee satisfaction and productivity.