As a society, we continue to depend on technology to help us start, run, and scale our businesses. Thankfully, the technology is getting better, employers are getting wise to the fact that this kind of technology means that quality hires can be obtained from virtually anywhere in the world, and that those employees can be engaged on a regular basis as if they were in the office with the other employers.
Of course, remote employees don’t want to be micromanaged to a point where they’ll feel like they are on call 24 hours a day, so how do you find balance between having employees in the office and out of the office without being a drag on the remote working system that is probably saving you money, effort, and space?
We’ve pulled together our best ideas on how to stay connected to your remote workers in 2020 so that they get to enjoy the freedom and autonomy of being a remote worker and you get to benefit from their skills, talents and knowledge to grow your business.
Hold Regular Meetings
One of the first things you can do after hiring a remote worker is to schedule regular meetings to catch up with them and deliver instructions face-to-face online.
Video chats are great for these meetings as you can see and hear each other, eliminating the risk of miscommunication. These meetings should be kept short and stay focused on projects at hand.
If your employees in the office attend regular meetings at the start or end of the week to rev up or debrief, ensure you invite your remote workers to those meetings as well.
Outside of scheduled meetings and deadlines, it is usually expected that remote workers will work on their own time – unless otherwise stated – so long as their work gets done on time and is of high quality.
Most remote workers won’t be expecting to “clock in and clock out” of a remote job, unless the job requires technology signing in or out. If you want to attract really high-quality remote workers, don’t require them to sit at their computers all day long.
Let them work on their own time to get the jobs done.
Create Feedback Loops
The next thing you need to do to keep your remote workers engaged is to create a feedback loop system. This needs to be in two areas. First, you need to create a 360 feedback assessment for giving performance and project-based feedback related to the work of the remote worker.
There needs to be a way to measure the output and quality of the work, while giving your remote employee constructive feedback for improvement, just like a regular employee.
If you prefer, you can coach them during your routine meetings on how to deliver the kind of work you want, but so long as there is a set experience in place for giving and receiving feedback about projects, you’ll be good to go.
The second type of feedback loop you need to create will also need to be implemented in-office for your on-site workers. This is a feedback loop for any issues or concerns that might arise over and above project-based work performance.
This feedback loop will focus on attitude, growth, development, attendance, etc. Also, it’s imperative that you include a system for gathering data about employee experience, not just scoring them on their performance and aptitudes.
Feedback loops create opportunities for everyone to share their concerns openly and honestly – and that’s good for everyone.
Partner Your Employees
Finally, to ensure your remote workers feel engaged in their new role in your company, be sure to partner them with an employee that is in your office all the time. This isn’t a babysitting role: it’s a peer-to-peer connection that can help this person feel connected to the rest of the office.
The partner’s job will be to ensure that the remote worker is invited to all the important meetings and is considered during breaks, holidays, etc. this will be especially helpful if you have a split of employees with half working remotely and half working on-site.
If your employees are entirely remote, you can simply partner them with another remote worker so they can feel like they have a coworker. You’d be surprised how far efforts to connect one another can go to help your remote workers feel like part of a team.