Thanks to technology, many of us now have the ability to take our work virtually anywhere – hence the rapid rise in virtual offices and remote employees. From a management or human resources standpoint, this trend introduces an entirely new style of work culture.
While it may seem overwhelming, there are some key strategies to consider when managing a remote workforce. We’ve compiled some of the best tips from our community’s virtual office dwellers on keeping a remote workforce engaged.
Communication is key
At the core of team engagement is good old-fashioned communication. Make it a point to speak with each employee individually on a weekly or biweekly basis at a set time and then as a whole team. Keeping to this schedule is vitally important, and shows the team that communicating is of top priority.
While face to face meetings are of course ideal, virtual offices usually mean employees are scattered across the country (sometimes, continents!), and not practical. Meetings can either be via telephone or a video chat medium like Skype or Google Hangouts, but should most definitely facilitate real conversation (basically anything but text or email will do the trick).
Help them choose the right office
Encouraging coworking spaces goes a long way in maintaining productivity and quality of work. While many telecommuters will choose their home as an office space, this has actually proven to be more problematic for both the employee and your business at large. For starters, there are endless amounts of distractions in a home office, from the mailman, to the dog, or calls to your home phone.
Working where your personal life lives (literally) makes it much more difficult to draw the line and curate a healthy work-life balance. Research asserts that coworking boosts effectiveness and happiness at work, so let your remote workforce know that this is the type of office environment you prefer. You can even offer up suggestions of coworking spaces in the specific employee’s area or simply offer support in choosing the right space.
Establish a positive and communal culture
Isolation and lack of team unity is one of the main issues remote employees experience. While frequent, constructive communication will help in minimizing such feelings of isolation, establishing a strong and positive company culture is essential. Each employee should feel like they are a part of the specific organization and are working towards a common (and reinforced) goal.
Interacting with team members in the form of small talk can go a long way. It’s also a great idea to give workers clear guidelines and mission/vision/values of the company. Tangible items such as these to refer to make it easier for an employee to feel a sense of belonging to the organization as a whole and thus, stay engaged. Coworking spaces also offer a unique culture and community for your remote employees to feel a part of, which unsurprisingly, boosts employee happiness and overall job satisfaction.
Use the right evaluation tactics
Trusting your remote team is nothing short of crucial. When it comes to accountability and measuring efforts though, self-reporting has proven to be the least affective method. It’s not exactly uncommon for reports to be inaccurate with exaggerations on accomplishments or containing errors. While such mistakes do occur, and some due to honest human error, they can certainly make it more difficult to track real-time performance.
Tools like automatic tracking, periodic progress reports and activity logs will help you understand the work routines/schedules and behavior of your remote employees. These tactics, while to some can seem intrusive, are actually completely necessary in accountability and cooperating as a cohesive, remote team. Such data allows you to identify patterns in productivity and delegate, or make changes accordingly, so you can continue to improve and deliver even better results.
Bridgeworks is a vibrant coworking space right by the beach on Long Island, NY, offering office space for rent, meeting rooms, networking events and much more. Bridgeworks Long Beach also features countless communal spaces, cafés, lounges and added bonuses like social bikes and ping pong. Corporate NYC commuters and digital nomads alike take advantage of the new creative hub to network, boost productivity, and of course, cut the commute time. Learn more at www.bridgeworkslongbeach.com.