With the cost of work space coming at a premium and the increasing availability of high speed internet, it is not surprising that many businesses have begun to invest in remote members of staff. In fact it has been suggested that around half of the UK workforce may be remote by 2020. Often it is more convenient to have staff work from home but there are many other reasons to employ remote staff such as the broader range of talented candidates available.
Of course if you are going to be employing teams of remote staff it is important that you get as much out of them as possible. This can be done easily, but it means taking a few important steps. Here are some important pieces of advice and tips for how to get the most out of your remote staff.
Make time for meetings and touching base
There is no doubt that there are a huge range of advantages to using remote staff. They don’t take up expensive office space, they are able to work hours that are suited to their schedule, and it means you can employee highly capable employees who may not be ideally located to commute to a traditional office.
However, these advantages come with downsides, and one of the major ones is how isolating it can be to work remotely. The last thing you want is for staff to feel that they are not a part of the business or that their efforts are not noticed – this can lead to a huge drop in morale and a decrease in productivity. Instead it’s important to create an inclusive team atmosphere.
One of the best way to do this is to ensure that you always make time to have meetings that include remote workers. Set up calls via Skype or using conferencing software and take the time to chat and make small talk during these meetings – this is a natural team bonding experience that remote workers won’t otherwise be able to enjoy.
Have supervisors take a course in managing remote staff
Businesses should never underestimate the value of training. But even those companies that do offer training sessions and courses often assume that it is only the employees who require sessions. In fact, as per the information inspiring this article, found on this performance training website – it is often just as valuable to provide managers with vocational training on how to get more from their team.
Correct management of remote workers plays a big role in their ability to do their job correctly. Mismanagement can lead to staff wasting time, working on unnecessary tasks or, worse, feeling underutilising or untrusted by their supervisor. The last thing you want is a team of remote workers being managed by someone who doesn’t understand how to get the best out of them.
Many business training specialists offer tailored courses for managers to help them to better understand the needs of their remote staff. Ultimately this can lead to a better working environment and a stronger connection between staff and their manager.
Utilise one-to-ones and schedule regular updates
It is important that managers should take the time to schedule regular one-to-ones with any remote staff. Once again, this is something that you might take for granted in a physical office, but remote workers actually look forward to feedback sessions and providing working updates to their supervisors.
One-to-ones are an opportunity to raise concerns and allow you to keep up-to-date with any issues or challenges that a remote staff member is experiencing. If you fail to organise these sorts of meetings, the worker may continue with their job, ignoring the problem or assuming that it is being dealt with elsewhere.
Don’t forget their career path
When you work in an office or any shared working environment, it is natural to see the staff around you and to understand that they have goals and a career path. But with remote workers this can be a little different. As they are typically just getting on with their day outside of supervision it can be easy to think of them as nothing more than a cog in the wheel – getting tasks done, day after day.
But it is important to remember that their job may well be a career to them, just as it is for any member of your team. They may work remotely at the moment but that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be interested in eventually progressing. They may even eventually like the idea of working in the office themselves. So don’t discount this possibility.