24 Nov 2019, 12:30 — 7 min read
Background: Tips to ensure good employee experience for remote teams or staff members working from home.
Thanks to technology, working from home is becoming increasingly easier than ever before. More and more companies offer flexible commuting policies, which have become an important criterion in employer brand value proposition. With strides in telecommuting and flexible in-office hours, many employees can achieve work-life balance as they reclaim time they would've spent in traffic. Businesses can widen their talent searches when the workforce is not limited to a small geographic region.
One of the biggest negatives of remote work continues to be the feeling of isolation and disconnectedness. Most of the methods we use to inspire in-house employees can be applied to employees working from home as well.
The work from home option is going beyond the information technology industry to customer services. While there are industries that lend themselves very well to remote working, in retail the scope is limited, largely because of the nature of the industry.
One of the biggest negatives of remote work continues to be the feeling of isolation and disconnectedness. Engaging and motivating remote workers is not complicated. Most of the methods we use to inspire in-house employees can be applied to employees working from home as well.
Also read: Money isn’t the only thing that keeps employees happy
A platform for effective communication is key to ensuring they are included in all business discussions and decisions. Make meetings inclusive. This will help them feel they're part of a larger organisation and that the organisation has a vested interest in their relationship.
Communicate when necessary, then leave the remote employees alone to do their job, else the purpose of remote working will fail.
Regularly make an effort to recognise your team members for their achievements, and make sure you include remote employees in it as well. It is equally important to make recognition highly visible so that other members of the organisation are aware of the valuable contributions remote workers are making. You’ll likely find that team members feel motivated to work harder in the hopes they’ll eventually get the recognition they’re seeing others get.
One of the pain points for remote employees is their inability to manage their time effectively. They may struggle with scheduling focused work time into their day with the household chores. Providing tools and training that can help remote workers better manage their time is a great motivator. It shows that the management cares and gives them resources to help with their path to success.
Clarity of goals and direction, which are mutually agreed upon, helps in making this arrangement a success. Setting expectations motivates the remote workers. Follow this up with frequent feedbacks through one-on-one meetings. For this, use technology (like video-conferencing) if necessary.
In-house employees know and understand the workflow processes. However, it is not the same with remote workers. They don’t have the same feed of information or updates on workflows (or changes in workflows). Giving remote employees continual access to mission and vision statements, project updates, company performance records, etc. helps remote workers understand how their role contributes to the company’s overall success, resulting in more engaged employees.
Also read: Work from anywhere - the mobile workforce
A recent Harvard business review article addressed the importance of developing company culture with remote employees in order to foster engagement. This can be a difficult thing to do when communicating virtually. The article suggests that in order to nurture culture, you first have to build trust. One good way to accomplish this is to bring team members together on a frequent basis. By including remote workers in company meetings and other events on a regular basis, a common thread of culture is more easily shared by all.
Remote workers can often feel left out. Meeting them one-on-one will help managers learn about what is going on with them. In case of in-house employees you are able to notice their moods and understand their situations and offer words of encouragement. Remote employees don’t enjoy the same kind of working conditions, and as such, efforts must be made to spend time getting to know them.
The work flexibility trend is sweeping across the country. From healthcare to communications to tech to service, each industry offers roles that can be executed from the comfort of one’s home. The best way to manage remote staff is to have an agreed-upon process, an established time to talk and a check-in system to hold all members (including managers) accountable for work. Being successful with remote staff members requires planning and tools.
My advice to organisations is to first assess the organisation’s readiness to adopt a remote working policy. Then identify roles that can be effectively performed remotely. Once this is done, create an ecosystem that will support the system— this is a critical success factor. Managers play a crucial role in making this a success too.
Also read: They grow, we grow
Article by Priya M Pillai published in STOrai Magazine. Priya M Pillai heads retail and corporate HR at Titan Industries Ltd. She has over two decades of experience working with global brands. She has spent a large part of her career in the retail service industry like Unilever, Titan; Mahindra Retail, and managed varied portfolios from sales, operations, human capital to heading the e-commerce business. She aspires to continue building businesses and brands in the consumer space.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.