More and more businesses are adopting remote working practices; a decision that tends to work well for everyone involved. With that said, working with remote employees is very different to working in a standard office environment, and can take some getting used to. If you’re implementing remote working in your business, you may find the following “do’s” and “don’ts” for working with a remote team particularly useful…
Do… ensure you have systems in place to support employees working remotely
It’s technically possible to work with remote employees using nothing but email and document attachments, but realistically, you’re going to need something a little more robust and conducive to collaboration. There are a few different options that can help to facilitate this, with options such as Office 365 well worth considering. If you decide to make the transition, you’ll need to undergo an Office 365 assessment or similar process for an alternative platform to ensure your company is ready to migrate to the software and, when complete, you and your remote employees should be able to enjoy a simpler, more secure, and effective experience.
Do… prioritize communication from a remote worker
In a standard business environment, workers who are in need of assistance can always come directly to your office to discuss any issues they are experiencing if they need a response immediately. Remote workers cannot do this; instead, they have to send messages or make a phone call in the hope that you will be available to help resolve their queries – essentially, they have to contact you through an intermediary of some sort, rather than just being able to address you directly in-person. As a result of this, communication from remote workers should always be prioritized; read and respond as soon as you can, so the worker is able to resume their duties as quickly as possible.
Anyone who is willing to work remotely will be confident in their ability to work on their own initiative and that they can manage their own time in order to complete projects as expected. It’s therefore important that you trust your remote employees’ ability to work without direct supervision, and avoid the temptation to micromanage or become overly involved in their work. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t check-in on occasion, but try to keep contact infrequent and instead let workers continue with their work at their own pace.
Don’t… overlook the need for spoken conversations
Remote teams predominantly communicate in writing, which is more than sufficient for most day-to-day tasks. However, there’s still value in spoken conversations, and especially for tasks such as brainstorming or problem solving; tasks that require input and consideration from all angles, rather than just direct instructions and information. When undertaking these kinds of tasks, arrange a group telephone conversation or a video call, you should find the experience is far more conducive to producing good results.
Working with remote workers may be rather different from the “standard” business environment, but by taking heed of the “do’s” and “don’ts” above, you should find that this method of operation is simple, straightforward, and ultimately very beneficial to your business.