2020 was a crash course in a changing work landscape and according to our data, many changes are here to stay. The past year was a difficult trial of what the future of work will look like and successful companies were able to pivot to accommodate the newly remote workforce. A lot has been learned, with many growing pains and evaluating the pros and cons along the way.
The benefits of working remotely have been felt by the workforce and a business that wants to make the transition has the potential to succeed. The Hire With Ease team is here to share the best strategies for successfully having a remote workforce.
✔Re-imagine your hiring and HR practices
As with most things when running a small business, successfully having a remote workforce starts at the foundation. For any company, having clear core values is going to give you the framework for the ins and outs of your business and staff. It will inform the policies that you make, the professional relationship between your employees and yourself, and how you define the expectations of the job. This will also be an important part of hiring employees that will fit the culture of the company and meet the needs for the team.
Remote employees require a set of skills that differ from a fully in-person job. Finding the right fit for a remote position will involve evaluating a potential employee’s strategies for working away from a centralized office, what methods or tools for work organization are they proficient in or that they have developed, communication skills and a worker who can work independently.
Once a candidate has become an employee, it is important to have a well thought out onboarding process. Even a candidate who is an excellent fit for the position will benefit greatly from a comprehensive onboarding plan. Especially with a remote work position, businesses that clearly plot out instructions, expectations, and offer ongoing employee direction and support are on the road to sustained success.
Evolving positions to be remote allows you to explore top-tier talent no matter where they are located and implementing flexible work policies within a structured framework can help you find (and retain) excellent employees.
✔Have the structure and tools for your workforce
It is going to be difficult to have a well thought out onboarding process for your new employee if the tools and systems that your business uses are not themselves well thought out. If you are relying on a cobbled together group of tools that are not complementary, it will only cause your employees and your business to lose efficiency down the line and will be exponentially more difficult to scale for remote work. Map out the structure, find tools and solutions that not just get the job done, but work in concert together and make sense as a system.
With systems that aid in a productive work-flow, it will also make it easier to provide structured and productive feedback. If the structure of work fits together in a streamlined way then you can more easily identify areas where employees need extra support or are working very well. When an employee is struggling with an aspect of the job it is important that the problem is quickly identified and rectified, with the experience being a positive learning opportunity and even more so with a remote position.
Having dynamic communication strategies can lead to successful communication about work, but can also leave room for human moments – an essential when having a remote workforce.
✔Humanize your workforce
While remote work can be beneficial to employees and businesses, it can also lead to problems. Workers feeling like they need to be “on alert” 24/7 or managers who send messages to be answered at any hour of the day. Setting healthy boundaries will be incredibly important for a sustainable remote workforce. Ultimately boundaries will come from the core values of the company; if a company respects their employee’s time, if a company has well-rounded remote work policies, and if trust is a core value then the foundations have been laid for a successful remote workforce. If you are unsure how to create comprehensive remote work policies, Hire With Ease offers HR On Demand in addition to Hiring Assistance. Your business will not only have access to every online resource in our HR Support Center, but will also have practical, live advice from human resources specialists whenever you need it.
Sometimes companies fall into the trap of thinking of their remote workers less as people and more as avatars or computers. Employees’ time and respective struggles need to be respected by their employers. Keeping a regular work schedule can be an important boundary for both employees and business leaders – employees need to know that they are not being asked to work without breaks or personal time and employers need to be able to count on consistent working times for optimal communication, but being flexible (a core component of working remotely) is beneficial for everyone. Reevaluating how we think about productivity, measuring successful work by the work produced and not how early someone gets to the office or how many total hours are spent on the floor, is a benefit found in the changing work landscape.
Finally, the achievements of your remote workers should be recognized. Part of respecting an employees’ time is recognizing what they are doing with that time, especially in new circumstances like remote work. Your business will be better for it.