Staying connected with a remote workforce

Though remote working has proven useful for business continuity and resiliency during the pandemic, it’s likely to stick around after the pandemic ends. Without having to commute to work, meetings that run over, or quick chats in the break room that last longer than they should, employees and employers are finding that remote working can boost productivity and some of the things the HR needs to put in place to stay connected with a remote workforce include: -

Having a remote work policy in place;

This policy does not need to replace but rather complement the current policy and company culture. The policy should include working expectations where you focus on work output and completion of objectives rather than on time-based performance; legal considerations where the company needs to be legally compliant; and technology issues where the company needs to be clear about what equipment and resources will be provided, whether laptops and videoconferencing tools will be provided, whether the company will also make the payments for data and phone calls. You can also consider offering a stipend to let people buy what they need when they need it. Set limits on the amount or how often they can purchase items to eliminate overspending.

One of the reasons companies are often hesitant to let staff work remotely is because they are worried about performance issues. The reality is that performance issues can happen no matter where the staff is located. The human resource team or the team leaders are supposed to clearly outline the working from home expectations that include staff duties, how employee performance will be measured remotely, and what actions will be taken if there are performance issues.

It is also advisable that managers follow through when there are performance issues.  Note that it is easy to overlook performance issues when you don’t have to see your employees every day so there is a need to address and manage these issues as soon as they happen, instead of letting them grow into larger problems.

Communicating frequently;

Never leave your remote employees on their own without checking in as they might feel left out. It is essential to set up communication means that are effective and to build a high degree of responsiveness.  The key to success as a fully remote team is consistent, transparent communication. Frequently organize virtual meetings and make it mandatory for all team members to be present and encourage them to give their inputs during the meeting. Invest in a conferencing tool like Zoom or a more comprehensive tool like Microsoft Teams for live video conferencing.

Don’t let an employee go half a day without checking in. You can also use instant messaging to stay in regular contact with the employees.

Keeping employees engaged

Keeping employees updated by preparing powerful presentations to keep them engaged and motivated and provide them with all possible updates through communication channels.

Avoiding micromanaging since it makes your team feel like you don't trust them yet you need to build trust in our employees.

Creating engagement on a regular basis is a key activity where you can make a significant difference. Making events and activities that get your team together and interact is a pleasurable and wellness-boosting experience.

Request for feedback

The well-being of employees should be handled as a top priority as a human resource/team leader. That is why it is important for managers to keep checking in on their remote workers. While working remotely, some employees can feel disconnected and lose interest leading to lowered productivity. It is recommendable to set up employee engagement surveys and gather feedback on a regular basis to understand the general mood while working from home. You can also gather feedback during virtual meetings and in daily conversations.

Support E-learning

E-learning is increasingly filling the need for high-quality, affordable training for remote employees. It helps remote employees make training a seamless part of their workday and extract the most benefit from training. As a manager, you need to make training easy to access by keeping all courses and materials in one place, make training convenient by ensuring that the learning materials are compatible with all browsers and devices, make training relevant by taking employees’ feedback into account when developing new training. 

                                                                                                                                                            Miriam Ojambo

(Human Resource and Operations)