Over the last several years, many companies have added remote work to their traditional in-person work policies. Remote work can save the company money, and many workers benefit from this structure. The challenges include keeping your workforce motivated and connected to the company and ensuring that they complete the work you need them to do. Therefore, this is how you implement a remote work strategy.
Adapt To New Policies
You should build your remote work policies into your existing policies and procedures. However, understand that they will sometimes differ significantly from your in-house work policies. Be patient because these changes can take time, and you may experience new challenges.
First, you should decide whether to offer fully remote, flexible, or hybrid policies. In many cases, you should review your human resources policies first, including defining your staff’s legal rights, benefits, and compensation. In addition, not every employee can work remotely, so include the types of work that should occur in the workplace and those your workers can complete outside the office.
Then, investigate your security protocols so your data stays safe. Add a new communications strategy and company property usage policies. Build in metrics to gauge the success of your remote work policy. You can use software tools to track production or watch project deadlines.
Many of these policy changes will require adaptation time and effort for both you and your remote workers. Reevaluate your policies and be open to changes that improve communication, productivity, and employee satisfaction.
Address New Work-Life Balance
When you work from home or remotely, you may find it easier to stay at work longer or “quickly” finish up this one last project. Unfortunately, when you turn your home into your workplace, the lines between work and home life can become blurred. Therefore, encourage your employees to build balance in their lives.
For example, have them set specific start and finish schedules. Schedule short breaks and a lunch hour in their day. Avoid scheduling virtual meetings during common lunch periods. You should also give them tools that show when they are available and offline. Encourage after-work plans. You may also teach your staff to set aside a specific office space they only use for work.
Help them find time-management and productivity tools to remain productive and meet their professional goals and expectations during work hours.
Offer New Virtual Training
You may also have to adapt your onboarding and training policies. Your workers can often complete virtual training, where they learn their job duties online and not in person. Workers that you want to move into new positions may find this training especially beneficial because it boosts their career path.
When you set up virtual training, give your staff deadlines. You can produce videos and guidebooks that teach your staff your processes, but you should also provide video chat and instant messaging software so they can ask questions and get live help from someone online. Your employees may have different learning strengths, some visual while others need hands-on experience, so produce training that best fits their desired learning styles.
Set Clear Guidelines
Then, outline your expectations clearly. Discuss work targets or goals in addition to your communication expectations. You must also define their workflow and provide resources to help them. Ask your staff what they think their expectations are and discuss the differences.
Focus on maintaining your corporate culture with both your in-house and remote workers. If you don’t want gossipy, back-biting environments, don’t allow your remote workforce to participate in these activities either. You can also use performance management software to help them stay on task and understand their expectations.
Don’t forget to include feedback and accountability. Document and share what you expect and what you receive from each employee. Reward good work and work with those who fall behind.
Establish New Communication Channels
Your remote workforce will need new communication tools. They need video conferencing software for meetings and collaborations and an instant messaging tool to get immediate answers. Your workforce should also be adept with email and adopt your company’s email usage guidelines.
You may also consider web forums for major projects that require extensive collaboration, but make sure they are secure. Tools like Google Docs allow multiple individuals to simultaneously work on the same documents. Don’t forget other project management tools that have communications features. Your knowledge management or learning platforms should also have communication capabilities.
Did you ever think your employees would work remotely and many would stay remote? This workforce change has caused many challenges and benefits for your company and staff. As you work through developing and implementing your remote work policies, stay open to feedback and the need to make additional changes.