Forty-three percent of employees wish they could work remotely, according to a Staples Workplace Survey. If your company offers telecommuting positions or you want to offer this opportunity, consider several tips that support the success of your remote employees.
Provide the Right Technology
With the right computers, cellphones, internet connection and other technology tools, your employees can do their jobs and stay connected with the office, co-workers and clients. Provide these tools to your remote employees as you equip them for success.
In most cases, you will want to maintain ownership of the hardware and software your telecommuters need for their specific jobs. Purchasing and providing the necessary technology ensures each employee has the right tools on hand for every task. You can also then connect the devices properly to your network, equip the devices with adequate security features, and update, repair or replace the devices as needed.
Remember to schedule mandatory tech trainings also. These trainings keep your employees updated on safety protocols, new technology and software changes. Perform necessary trainings over Skype, through videos or in-person as you support your remote employees.
Establish Regular Communication
Your employees, whether they work from home or the office, rely on connectivity to each other and your company’s network. Regular communication keeps your projects running smoothly, encourages teamwork and collaboration, alleviates misunderstandings and equips every employee to do their job properly.
A multi-functional communication platform like Slack, GoToMeeting or Mattermost gives all employees instant access to each other. They can ask questions, share files and chat while completing tasks.
Be sure to include a communication protocol in your employee handbook, too. It outlines expectations for the types and frequency of communication and affirms the types of communication your company will not tolerate, such as sexual harassment or bullying. With these communication guidelines, your company enhances productivity, morale and engagement among all your employees.
Ensure HR Access
The Human Resources department in your company provides payroll services and so much more. The department improves rapport, explains and reinforces company policies, manages employee training, creates development opportunities, resolves conflicts and builds workplace interpersonal relationships.
Your telecommuting employees need the same access to the company’s HR professionals as your in-house employees enjoy. In the employee handbook and the employee portal of your company’s website, include links to the HR department employees and important HR documents. Then ensure your virtual employees know where and how to access these resources. With HR access, telecommuters know that they’re valued and will receive the HR support they need every day.
Create an Employee Success Program
While remote employees appreciate the flexible work environment, reduced stress and other benefits of their telecommuting position, they typically miss out on opportunities for in-office performance reviews, praise and support from supervisor and co-workers. An employee success program lists and tracks goals, monitors performance and gives employees regular feedback.
Implement feedback software like Culture Amp, Weekdone or Impraise as you equip telecommuting employees for success. These tools connect leadership and employees, allow peers to praise co-workers and give team members the opportunity to provide feedback about a variety of company features and projects.
Meet regularly with your telecommuting employees also as you provide ongoing support. They must know that they can talk to their supervisor at any time about concerns, challenges or triumphs and that they will receive the ongoing performance reviews and feedback that’s essential for their success and morale.
Furnish Telecommuting Perks
The perks you provide for in-office employees may include ergonomic furniture, free internet access and unlimited coffee or tea. Furnish those same or comparable benefits to your employees who work from home.
Consider offering a stipend or reimbursement for office furniture, internet and phone access, the latest video editing software or coffee. Additionally, you could provide lunch or snack box deliveries, schedule coffee shop meetings, pay for a gym membership and cover travel costs when employees must commute to the office or attend meetings. These and other perks enhance your virtual employees’ workday experience, morale and motivation.
Offer Unique Incentives
Remote employees require different incentives than in-office employees. Salary and title remain important, but office luncheons probably won’t motivate them to achieve results, meet performance goals or stay connected.
Instead, offer rewards with incentives that matter to your remote employees. New technology upgrades, bonus allowances for telecommuting perks and virtual employee learning experiences show your telecommuting employees that you appreciate them. These incentives can also motivate your virtual employees to continue working hard every day.
Employees who work remotely add value to your company’s workforce. Implement several tips as you encourage, motivate and support these important team members.