Remote workers are making up a larger part of the workforce, and as it turns out, they’re happier AND more productive. There’s a lot to be gained for both management, and employees in remote working arrangements, but it doesn’t come without its own unique set of challenges.
Many new business owners and managers are trying to find ways of making remote workers feel less fragmented and more integrated. Here are some tips for integrating remote employees:
Get Personal, Don’t Forget the Fun
Working remotely doesn’t allow time for catching up and hanging out at the “water cooler” the way working on-site does, but it’s important to get to know the person behind the words on the screen. Creating a sense of camaraderie increases loyalty, trust, and eases communication.
Just think about what it takes to have a successful collaboration session. Without a personal connection, or at least a basic understanding of your team member’s perspective, it’s going to be difficult to produce effective solutions and ideas.
Keep Them in the Communication Loop
Even in traditional work settings, communication is everything, but it’s importance is amplified when you don’t have face-to-face interaction.
In order to keep remote workers engaged, productive, and feeling like valued members of the team, include them in every kind of communication tool you can. Setting up group chat sessions, video conferences, or simply including them in an e-mail are all ways you can keep remote workers just as engaged as your on-site team.
If you have every remote worker coming to you for what they need, it only adds more to your plate while making the team feel fragmented. Your remote workers should have contact information for all members of the team, so if they have questions or need support, they can use team members as a resource.
Remote workers report not feeling as connected with their team members, so encouraging them to work together can give them the feeling of the company they’re missing.
Look at Their Long Game
If you’ve found a talented, reliable remote worker who you don’t want to lose, then set up long- term goals. If your conversations only revolve around daily objectives and responsibilities, they may not feel like they can grow in your team.
Find out what their long-term goals are, and what areas of work they want to grow or focus on. If you keep this in mind and help where you can, you’re showing them that you’re invested in them as an employee.
If you’re use to overseeing every aspect of your business, it can be difficult learning to truly hand over certain responsibilities and trust that they will be done on time, or at the level you expect. Handing over responsibilities will eventually allow you to give your attention to other tasks, but how do you start?
You can start by doing performance check-ins, but not micro-managing. Hand off smaller tasks, and after successful completion, you can start handing off more responsibilities. Your remote worker will appreciate the trust and freedom to do their work without constant check-ins.
One of the reasons why remote workers are reportedly happier, is because they also feel more valued. Remember that when working off-site, reassurance and praise can keep your workers feeling important and motivated in an otherwise lonely work environment.
Giving team members the chance to work with each other also opens new opportunities to show appreciation for each other.
The ability to work with remote workers can expose you to great people and talent you may not have discovered before. By following these tips, you can build great working relationships no matter how many miles fall between you.