“Telecommuting, one of many forms of work-life flexibility, should no longer be viewed as a nice-to-have, optional perk mostly used by working moms. These common stereotypes don’t match reality—allowing employees to work remotely is a core business strategy today… We need to de-parent, de-gender, and de-age the perception of the flexible worker.” - Cali Williams Yost, CEO and Founder of Flex+Strategy Group and Work+Life Fit
Ananya woke up with a start when her alarm went off. Getting ready for work, she went into her office room at the back of the house and logged into her company’s system for the morning meeting. She is based out of Bangalore, her head office is in London and some of her colleagues were getting onto this call from Mumbai, Delhi, Europe and the United States. Welcome to the new world of remote working!
There might be a scenario in the near future when your HR Team will manage all employees remotely. Here are some insights on how to work with remote staff, manage the challenges very effectively and keep employee performances high.
Encouraging high employee performances
HR Teams sometimes have to work with employees and freelancers from all corners of the world, in different time zones and at odd hours with one another. Constant, clear communication and constructive feedback is the way to go for a successful collaboration. Communication is very important here since this is a remote relationship and there are no opportunities to get clues on what the employees are thinking, in terms of body language, morale and other relationship dynamics.
Clear and constant communication
In order to be able to achieve this, you would need some very good communication tools. Skype and Asana are tools that are used for free group chats. A group chat is a great forum for employees to ask questions, explore ideas, share a joke and boost camaraderie.
Be available for your staff to address issues or concerns and let them know the hours that they can reach out to you.
Creating strong policies
Treat your employees as skilled professionals. Keep your tone of communication respectful and have policies in place that will help them grow and be more productive.
Your remote staff might be required to have a workplace that is separate from their usual living room, a comfortable office chair, a door that closes and an environment that is least disruptive. Encourage staff to get up and walk around, probably every 90 minutes or do a 5-minute stretching routine periodically. This will ensure that employees are alert, healthy and productive.
Recognition and Feedback
Allowing your staff to work remotely means that you trust them implicitly. Top this up with recognition of their talent. It is also very important for everyone in the workforce to be made aware of this talent and recognition.
Managing remote staff is the same as managing a workforce in-house; it is just that it takes a different shape. Make your employees feel that their voices are heard. This ensures that they cultivate a deep sense of loyalty. Employees will feel empowered and valued and will work towards the company’s growth.