"80% to 90% of the US workforce said they would like to telework at least part time and 50% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework and approximately 20-25% of the workforce teleworks at some frequency" reported by Global Workplace Analytics.
With telecommuting rapidly increasing, it is essential that employees are communicating well and maintaining high levels of engagement with their employer, in addition to receiving remote training sessions that enable them to develop.
"In a PwC survey, 68% said they expect to work remotely instead of commuting to an office everyday".
As remote working becomes more commonplace, managers need to ensure that remote workers do not feel isolated or treated any differently than those working on site in the office. In order to maximise productivity and a positive morale, internal comms, training opportunities and other company procedures and benefits should be available and accommodated for a remote workforce.
So, how do you keep your remote workers informed, engaged and progressing their skills, whilst understanding their needs and assessing their development at a distance?
1. Remote development and training
More people are working from home or even in a different country to the main office. It is just as important that these employees receive the necessary and ongoing training to make sure that they are developing their skills. By offering online training sessions (that are also recorded) you will able to include employees that are restricted by location or time zones. The person responsible for these online training sessions should also consider how the trainer will interact with these remote attendees and provide the ability for attendees to send in questions or take part in polls to vote on topics.
By establishing regular coaching sessions and methods that will assess personal development, employers are better able to understand what is important to remote workers. By understanding your employees and how often the catch-up's need to be scheduled, you will be able to assess a change in their needs, aspirations or personal goals.
2. Tracking and reporting
Research suggests that remote workers prefer to work flexibly and manage their own schedules. This can present a challenge for managers as it is more difficult to gain understanding on what the remote workforce have been focusing on. By enabling employees to share their reporting and activity schedules on a shared management software you can clearly see what tasks are a priority (specific to each employee) and be able to evaluate employee KPIs, as well as measuring the success of a task. As a manager, this enables you to discuss these reports in a team or with individuals to understand the benchmarking results based on these tasks.
3. All for one, one for all
Remote employees should always be informed about decisions that affect them and have the opportunity to have their say in meetings. By using a polling and messaging app, everyone can have their vote on the important questions and managers can understand their employee's views and ideas. By creating an inclusive and transparent environment with your employees you will build a community of engaged employees who will want to contribute at any given time and collaborate well with different teams.
4. Discussion and feedback
It is important that the communication between remote and office workers is operating effectively and cohesively. By facilitating a means for remote employees to be involved in group discussions and brainstorms they will be able to offer their insights and opinions. Messaging apps or discussion boards become a great way to track, share and filter ideas from all parts of an organisation. In addition to empowering employees, this messaging platform also helps managers to gauge any current problems that need solving and also possible solutions to them.
Read our other blog on 10 reasons you need a polling app in your employee comms meetings.