Implementing a Successful Remote Working Strategy
Remote working can be tough to get right. But with the right approach and effective technology, your remote working strategy can really pay off.
Remote working can be a win-win for employers and employees alike. The benefits to your employee engagement, retention and morale, alongside your ability to hire (and retain) stronger candidates have been well discussed.
There are, however, unique challenges that come with implementing a remote working strategy. Maintaining connections with remote employees, enquiring technology that helps rather than hinders collaboration, and overcoming employees potentially feeling isolated are the most common challenges company face.
Here we offer strategies and best practices that can make implementing a remote working strategy significantly easier.
Establish the Reasons Why
The first step is to identify the motivations for implementing a remote working strategy. What are your trying to achieve? Whether you want to attract new candidates or provider current employees with flexible working options, the key is to understand why this is worth your time and energy.
The next step is to formalise guidelines to address which positions are eligible and how often employees are allowed to work from home. Setting and enforcing these guidelines is vital, employees must understand the policies in place, for example, what hours they must be online and when do they need to actually be present in the office. However, you must take into account the unique needs of individual employees, teams and the organisation as a whole.
Ensure you know what you want to achieve, choose a method that suits everyone in your organisation, make it clear what the rules are and everyone will fall into a rhythm quickly, giving you the best chance of success.
Choosing the Right Technology
A successful remote working strategy requires a lot of communication, at least in the early stages, in order to fully deliver on the benefits. This starts with making sure that the technology fits the needs of your business and employees.
Those working away from the office need tools that allow them to still be part of the team, examples include TeamViewer, TeamGantt, video conferencing and hosted desktop. While the functionality of the tools is important, you must find tools that work well for your remote workers and grants them the same functionality they would have at their office desk.
It is important to remember that not all IT solutions are equal, so you need to gain an understanding of how your employees work and what will make them more productive. Analyse what the current processes are and what other technology is currently used – find new technology that integrates with both.
Finally, and arguably, most obvious is selecting a technology that performs consistently. In order to effectively collaborate with remote workers, technology needs to work. If your communication tools are not performing, employees in the office and at home will become disenfranchised if they can’t communicate.
Add That Personal Touch
While it is important to facilitate good communication and collaboration between remote and office teams, you also need to ensure the remote workers feel part of the office culture. This is something that is often overlooked when it comes to remote working strategies.
Using tools like video conferencing and screen sharing go a long way to making remote workers feel like they are in the same room as the rest of the team. Reducing the feeling of isolation and disengagement will go a long way to boosting morale and productivity.
As a manager, it is important to schedule regular one-to-one face to face check-ins with your remote workers. It gives them chance to air their concerns, provide feedback and track their own progress. Conversations of this nature require personal contact, so it is important to meet remote workers in person despite their location.
Likewise, don’t use face to face exclusively to give ‘negative’ feedback. Make sure the individuals successes are highlighted as well. Furthermore, recognising these achievements in a public forum will go a long way to helping the remote workers feel valued within the team.
Stick to the Mission
The final point to make, and one that is often overlooked, is to ensure your team is driven by a common mission, not geography.
Those who care about the company and have a real passion for the mission will drive their own productivity regardless of where they are working from.