Remote working solutions are becoming more common place in the workplace. It is a HR benefit, that can be used as an enticement for potential employees or a reward for existing staff members.
But if your staff are not in the office, how can you ensure they are engaged with the business, bought into the brand and that, as a employer, you are getting full return on your investment?
Remote working offers your staff freedom and autonomy and to a certain degree, they are self managing. Connecting and engaging with them can only lead to a more positive outcome.
How to connect and engage with your remote working employees
Set Clear Objectives
Just because your employee works remotely, doesn’t mean they should suffer from lack of attention. Remote workers need objectives, feedback and direction. The working world is now set up to engage your team perfectly. Video conferencing can allow you face to face contact; Skype business can have your employee in the corner of your screen all day if that works for you both. Just because your team member doesn’t share an office with you, they don’t need to be excluded from team meetings and planning sessions. Hivedesk is also a great tool to help you follow their progress against objectives.
Ensure that your remote workers have 1-2-1 time and access to you as a manager. Set work objectives and monitor, give feedback and train.
This will keep your team connected and engaged.
Recognise Skill & Achievement
It is always easier to see poor performance than a job well done in all your team. But recognising outstanding work and effort needs to be commented on and this is as important for your remote workers as it is your office team.
Some businesses have company recognition schemes where you can nominate great work. As a business leader you need to drive this forward. By recognising the achievements of your remote team you will also reinforce a positive image to non remote workers. If your on site team can see a great job being done by the remote team it will unify the team, rather than having two separate teams who are unsure what the other one does.
Wherever possible try and get some face to face time with your remote workers, it is important. As are social events; dependent on location you may need to make extra provisions to get your remote team to the event, but again, it will strengthen the team bond and create a full company culture.
Encourage Independence and Self Sufficency
Micro managing remote workers can be a recipe for disaster. The autonomy that remote working offers means your remote team should already have a high level of self motivation and an ability to manage themselves to a degree. Appreciate there may be some flexibility in their working, but look at results rather than minute by minute performance.
Engaged teams are successful, so ensure that out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind. Keeping your remote team connected to the business is vital and doesn’t happen through a barrage of emails. Keep conversations flowing on the phone and through conferencing and technology, help them achieve their goals and recognise when they do.
Then you will reap the benefits of having a committed and engaged external team.