3 tips for supporting your remote workers

The modern workplace is no longer a physical space. At any given time, at any organization, employees are walking into the office, clocking in on the retail floor, or logging in from their dining room tables. It used to be enough to provide your employees with a cubicle, coffee, and perks like the occasional lunch or offsite event. Today, though, employees need all that and more, because office perks are only perks if you’re in the office to take advantage of them.

According to OWL Labs, 52% of employees around the globe work from home at least once a week, and per Fundera, regular remote work has increased by 140% since 2005. More and more employees are working remotely, and more and more companies are searching for the best ways to support their remote workers.

 

From me (a former full-time remote worker) to you (someone who cares about their remote workers), here are three tips for supporting and enabling your remote team:

1. Build trust

One of my biggest worries when I first started working from home was that my colleagues were going to think I was slacking off. So I worked obsessively, making sure I was the first one online in the morning and the last to log off at night. I checked my email constantly, just to make sure I didn’t miss a message, lest anyone think I was (God forbid) taking a break.

I was fortunate enough to have a phenomenal manager, and eventually relaxed into my new norm. She made sure I knew that she knew that I was working hard, and that she trusted me to do my job without constant contact with her.

If you’re a manager with a remote or partially-remote team, you likely hired them because you believed in their skills and their ability to do their jobs. So tell them you trust them, and show them you trust them. Treat your remote workers the way you treat your onsite workers; build a communication cadence that works for both of you, hold each other accountable for your commitments, do your job, and let them do theirs.

2. Document everything

Remote workers can’t just stand up and ask for help from the person sitting next to them. When they need it, they have to have resources to turn to. In lieu of in-person conversations, you can provide written instructions, videos, and external links.

Maintaining an internal site like an intranet can go a long way toward keeping remote and onsite workers alike on the same page. If you build your intranet on an employee experience platform like Akumina’s, you can integrate a project tracking application like Jira, and a collaboration tool like Slack. That way, everyone with access can easily see what teammates are doing and contact anyone they need to speak with at the touch of a button.

3. Get personal

We recently conducted a survey of over 1,000 millennial managers to determine how they work and the impact their presence is having on the global workforce. One of the interesting pieces of data that we uncovered is that millennials crave a personal connection with their co-workers. Of our survey respondents, 70% indicated that sharing personal information like hobbies and outside-of-the-office experiences helps build a stronger team and a better manager/direct report relationship. If you think about it, that makes complete sense. When you’re in the office, personal conversations happen naturally. It’s not always strictly shop talk, especially when you spend as much time together as co-workers do. But remote workers miss out on those organic conversations, and the bonding that results. It goes a long way to drop a couple of personal stories into a phone call or ask questions about weekend plans, and then follow up the next time you speak.

I hope those tips help you to support your remote workers. It takes skill to successfully work from home, and in turn, it takes skill to manage remote teams. We’re all learning as we go, but at least we’re learning. If you’re interested in more information about enabling frontline/deskless and remote workers, we have a few resources for you to check out. First, listen to an on demand recording of the Remote and Deskless Employees: Managing Challenges through a Digital Workplace webinar we ran with industry thought leader Steve Bynghall. Then, download our latest white paper, Optimizing Employee Experiences for Frontline and Remote Workers. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for

If you’d like to chat about how the Akumina employee experience platform can help you make sure your remote workers’ experience measures up to your onsite employees’ experience…

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