How Well Are You Supporting Your Remote Workers? Ask These Questions
August 17, 2022
At a glance
- The main takeaway: Though remote work programs have become the new normal post-pandemic, it’s easy for employees that work outside of the office to feel disengaged due to various reasons.
- Impact on your business: Purposeful communication, virtual professional development, setting clear expectations and appropriate technology usage all play a role in ensuring remote workers are set up for success.
- Next steps: Aprio People Advisory Services can be a valuable resource HR teams can use to navigate this new world of work and support employees no matter where they’re located.
The full story:
Now that remote work is here to stay for many companies across the globe, managers and their teams have established set routines, implemented processes, and introduced tools and technology that help keep everyone on task.
But it’s important to recognize that the transition to remote work can take time to perfect. That’s why leadership should continually re-evaluate remote work programs and arrangements to ensure that remote employees not only feel supported but are set up for continued personal and professional success — just like an in-person or hybrid employee.
To ensure that your remote work program meets the mark, ask yourself these four questions.
1. Do you encourage purposeful communication?
Since managers are not in the same physical settings as their remote employees, it’s easy to default to overcommunication. Remember that there is a difference between purposeful communication and communicating for the sake of…well, communicating.
Put simply, this boils down to trust. You hired your employees for a reason; you should be able to trust them to self-manage their own tasks and daily duties. So, instead of setting meetings to solely review to-do lists, make sure that you are setting up purposeful communication touchpoints in which you speak candidly about challenges your team members are facing. This could look like one-on-one check-in meetings that take place at a frequency that works best for your team. It could also look like recurring all-hands meetings for specific strategic projects. Or it could look like virtual team meetings in which you brainstorm new ideas, work collaboratively on goals or focus on team-building.
The key is to encourage meaningful communication that transcends in-person or virtual confines; not meetings that check a box.
2. Have you mastered your chosen tools and technology?
Every article on remote work touts the importance of technology — and with good reason, since successful remote work arrangements hinge on it. The problem with many technology implementations is that adoption can be rocky due to knowledge and usage gaps, especially when you are asking remote and non-remote employees to collaborate on the same systems.
Those barriers to successful technology adoption come from improper or incomplete training. It’s not enough to simply purchase powerful technology platforms and expect them to do all of the work; you need to invest in developing your employees’ proficiencies and sharing best practices that empower them to use tools to their fullest capabilities. Training should be continual and should not stop after the technology has been implemented. Rather, make sure that you are keeping employees abreast of all new updates to platforms, as well as sharing education on how teams can use them more successfully.
3. Are you investing in professional development?
Your employees may not physically sit in your office, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in participating in company-sponsored professional development activities.
Professional development is a critical driver for improving employee retention and satisfaction, aside from the obvious benefits like better job knowledge and stronger communication skills. Make sure that the professional development opportunities you create are inclusive of your remote workers. This includes networking and mentorship programs, as well as the ability to pursue passion projects. There is a host of virtual learning platforms available for companies to leverage, including Coursera, MasterClass and Udacity. These tools can help encourage self-learning and empower employees to develop skills based on their personal needs, goals and interests — providing a great supplement to company-sponsored programs.
4. Are you setting clear expectations?
This question may seem basic and self-explanatory, but many managers worry that critical details, project timelines and other job-specific information can slip through the cracks in the absence of in-person conversations. Committing to purposeful communication, establishing transparency and using your tools to their fullest capabilities all play a role in keeping team members on the same page no matter the distance between them.
Be extremely clear about what you expect from your remote employees. In your regular touchpoints and meeting routines, state your goals for the team and project deadlines, and explain how adhering to them plays a role in enriching your company and team culture. In addition, ask your employees what other tools, training or support they need to do their jobs well and meet the expectations you have set.
The bottom line
Your remote work program can be a huge asset to your business, as it allows you to hire top talent in your field from anywhere around the country or even the world. But like any aspect of your business, you must continually refine the program and get candid feedback from your employees on what is working and not working to achieve success.
Aprio People Advisory Services can be a valuable resource to your business as you navigate this new world of work post-pandemic. Our professionals partner with HR teams to answer pressing questions and even provide technology solutions that take the manual work out of HR, payroll processing and tax compliance to save time.
Schedule a consultation with our team today.