Technology has made us more connected than ever, which means businesses have the power to allow employees to work from home. However, many managers are unsure of how to best handle this transition. Fears about communication difficulties, poor productivity, and employee success at home lead many managers to prefer their employees to stay in the office.
This approach, unfortunately, benefits no one. Employees often thrive in remote roles. With the right tools, they are able to take on their work, communicate effectively, and stay focused. Here are some ways you can build and manage a remote team to promote maximum efficiency.
Find the Right People
You can start by focusing on remote experience and work from home skills during the hiring process. If you know your company plans to move to remote work, it’s important to keep that in mind when looking for new workers. Remember, experience with working remotely isn’t the only indicator that an employee is a good fit for the role. Any worker who is self-motivated and able to show results in different environments will likely thrive at home.
You can also look into hiring contractors and freelancers who are used to working in their own space. Look into online freelance job boards such as Upwork to find the right match. For example, a project management professional can manage tasks, devise strategies, and establish timelines for specific projects, which could be invaluable to your business. Hiring a freelancer is also a great way to get a sense of whether someone might be a good fit long-term. Working with them in a contract capacity gives you both a chance to try each other out and consider whether you’d like to pursue a permanent arrangement.
Provide Communication Tools
The hardest part of having a remote team is communication. Providing your employees with great instant messaging software, such as Slack, and virtual meeting resources like Zoom will give you the ability to stay in touch with everyone throughout the day. Being in your own space does not mean that you have to sacrifice collaboration. However, it does mean you need to go out of your way to make sure it’s possible.
The remote team should also make good use of employee calendars. When you’re together in an office, it’s easy to pop over to someone’s desk and see if they’re available. Online, however, it gets trickier. Making sure everyone has a calendar where they can note their meetings, head-down sessions, and when they’ll be out of office is an absolute must.
Expect Some Adjustment
The transition from office work to remote work can be tricky on any employee. However, don’t assume that their first two weeks or so at home will reflect their true abilities. It takes time for people to get used to working in a new environment. Since we’re so used to turning off at home, it might take a while for people to be able to truly focus.
Provide your employees with support to help them learn how to adjust quickly. For example, you can encourage your employees to still wake up well before their workday starts and establish a morning routine. Changing into work clothes, in particular, is a powerful mental tool for getting into a productive headspace.
If you’re able to phase employees into their remote roles one at a time, you will probably not see an overall reduction in efficiency. If everyone has to start at once, however, there may be a bit of a hiccup for the whole team. This is normal and temporary; your employees will figure it out. Give them time and support, and don’t be afraid to share your own struggles with them so they know they’re not alone in this endeavor.
With the right plan, you can make your remote team a success. This will give your employees the skills needed to work in a variety of environments and situations. The more experienced your workforce is to take on any challenge, the more likely your business is to succeed!