Best HR practices for managing remote working

Pushing the office boundaries: best HR practices for managing remote working

Essential tips to keep your remote employees on track

Nowadays, more and more employees are exposed to new, more flexible employment models. One of them – a possibility to opt for full or partial remote working. Just some decades ago, the idea of working out of office was something far from reality. But lately, the situation has changed dramatically: today the job market embraces a wide variety of digital tools, platforms, and management solutions that allow the employees to work from any geographical location. With the digital transformation springing up, the industries are shifting away from the physical presence in the office towards a digital work “presence”. The 2018 Global State of Remote Work report by OWL Labs found that “56% of employers worldwide offer either a completely remote workplace or a hybrid form of remote work”. At the same time, other surveys reveal that almost 70% of millennials see regular office attendance as unnecessary.

Modern Gig Economy workers frequently use smartphones and laptops for their activity, remaining dynamic and flexible to move around the world – logically, companies comply with it, as the quest for the brightest minds goes beyond precise points on the globe. This is also beneficial for the companies in terms of cost reduction: they just need to spend more on digital services to support remote workers.

However, the term “remote employee” still makes anxious many HR managers, as the whole idea is relatively new to a big number of companies. If you think that managing people somewhere miles away from you is difficult, here are some tips on remote working coordination that will free you from any doubt.

  • Recruit for remote working fit

Not all people are cut out to work out of the office environment. If a candidate has already had a remote work experience and owns a good understanding of its management and communications specifics, then probably it’s the right fit for you. At the stage of interviewing, try to understand the level of professional self-sufficiency and flexibility the applicant can deliver. Consider trying advanced AI and taxonomy powered recruitment tools  that will help you identify the candidates with suitable abilities and experiences in the past – for example, a history of effectively working from home or completing projects independently.

  • Establish communication rules

Being in different places or even in different time zones puts the importance of efficient communication in the limelight. Remote employees need to have a clear idea of who is responsible for each task, who is going to respond to them, and what to do in crisis situations in case the team leaders are out of reach. Apart from setting these communication policies in advance, you should introduce the usage of various digital tools. Work messaging apps like Slack and video conferencing software as BlueJeans or HighFive are great for your internal information exchange. Chat with remote workers, strive to keep them engaged and part of the overall working process. A study published in Harvard Business Review discovered that people working remotely are more likely than on-site employees to worry about colleagues saying bad things about them or making changes to the projects without giving a notice. You need to reassure your remote staff that all communication in the company is transparent and everyone is treated equally.

  • Stimulate team collaboration

Remote employees get particularly vulnerable if they don’t have a sense of professional connection and collaboration with other staff members. So, it is really important to motivate your office workers to keep the off-site colleagues in the loopand involve them in projects, brainstorming and discussions. This is also beneficial for your business – you should not be missing out on their valuable insights and expertise. Ask both your onsite and remote workers to regularlyengage with each other and share the files they are working on through software like Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, or Sharepoint. Introduce multiple users project management platforms as Asana or Trello – this way, everyone will be informed about the current work in progress status and the projects in phase of elaboration.

  • Set up occasional face-to-face meeting opportunities

Keep in mind the necessity of inviting your remote employees to major company events, offline training sessions and just occasional meetings with you and their managers. Seeing each other face to face provides a great opportunity for meaningful feedback exchange. Organizing remote employee’s presence at company events and leaning sessions would be highly appreciated by the off-site worker. It would also be beneficial for the rest of the team in terms of potential collaboration strengthening. Facilitating friendly working relationships is, indeed, a long-term investment that always pays off.

  • Be clear about the working rules, schedules and expectations

Be transparent and firm right from the start – you and your employee need to be sure about the mutual expectations on work hours, flexibility levels, communication frequency, and final deliverables. The offsite worker should also have a very clear set of responsibilities and deadlines to respect for all projects he/she is involved in. Defining these matters at the outset gives both of you an understanding of mutual obligations and performance measurements.

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