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Hiring remote employees is fast becoming the in-thing for many employers. Statistics have it that over 4.3 million Americans work from home. Additionally, over 40% of U.S. companies offer remote work as an option for their employees.
Though remote working is fast becoming the mainstay, it comes with its pros and cons for both the employer and employee.
For the employer, managing remote workers can be daunting. It’s sometimes difficult to effectively communicate the requirements of their tasks. Hence, the potential back and forth syndrome that stalls progress.
On the flip side, employers can save a lot in consumables. Remote employees don’t have to use the internet, coffee machine, or any other in-office resource that an employer makes available for employees.
Taking this from a remote worker’s perspective, you enjoy the comfort of working from home. You also don’t have to deal with overbearing supervisors whose job description is to make life miserable for you. I know this because I’ve been a victim of workplace bullying.
However, there’s this feeling of being left out that comes with working remotely. Sometimes it seems like remote workers get left out in information and communication. Better put, they play second fiddle to the other folks who physically report to work.
As much as managing remote workers brings with it its challenges, a balance must exist to accommodate the needs of remote workers. Of course, this is not forgetting to follow working remotely best practices.
To deal with this, here are five ways to make your remote employees feel included.
1. Hire the Right Remote Workers
The mistake most business owners make is to treat the process of hiring remote staff with kids’ gloves. They go about it like it’s less important than hiring physical staff. This approach has created a lot of work friction between employers and remote workers.
When hiring remote workers, look out for individuals that are a fit for your company or business – people who naturally connect to the goals and visions of your business.
The mere fact that someone is skilled and talented isn’t reason enough to onboard them as remote staff. You want to be sure the employees are disciplined and motivated enough to work outside of the office environment. When a remote employee doesn’t flow with your company’s ideas, they feel left out. The same scenario plays out with your physical workers, but it’s worse if they work remotely.
Depending on the service the remote worker offers, there are ways to check if they are a perfect fit for your business. For example, if you’re looking to hire a writer for remote services, you may want to look them up with Pick the Writer. There you can get credible reviews of writing services to help with deciding who to hire.
If you’re looking for SEO remote workers, you can check our reviews on Clutch.
The bottom line is this; know the antecedents of anyone you want to hire as a remote staff. Hiring the right person goes a long way to nip the feeling of not being included in the bud.
2. Give Remote Workers Seamless Access to Tech Tools
Access to tech tools to enable effective and prompt delivery of tasks is a never-do-without in a business establishment. It will be stating the obvious to say that no business can run effectively without a tech component. Every company has specific tech stacks that employees use to make their work more efficient.
While physical employers enjoy this unhindered access, remote workers are left to figure out how to deliver on tasks. It makes remote employees feel left out.
When your remote workers don’t have access to tech tools for their work, it puts an unnecessary burden on them – both emotionally and physically. They feel overwhelmed with work, and it saps their efficiency.
If they have access to tech tools like video, file sharing apps, online collaboration tools, and all, it becomes easier to work effectively. Issues like communication and a perfect understanding of tasks will fall in place.
A good example is giving your remote writer access to a premium grammar checker tool, such as Grammarly. It makes them feel that you not only want them to deliver on their jobs, but you also will support their progress.
3. Keep an Open and Frequent Line of Communication Between Them and Other Teammates
They may be remote workers, but they also belong to a team. The goal of an organization is to work together to move the company or business forward. Hence, it’s crucial remote workers are carried along in the activities of the team.
For most companies, they organize weekly video conferencing to both evaluate progress and keep remote workers abreast of what’s happening. Others organize monthly meetups, mainly if the remote workers aren’t located far away from the central working location.
If you have remote workers across the globe, you could organize an annual event that brings your remote staff together. That way, they get to bond and relate with other teammates.
The relationship built during these events is helpful in the long run. Teammates get to depend on each other and work together to improve efficiency and productivity.
4. Make Work Hours Flexible
One of the challenges of remote working is the work hours that employees have to put in and how to check it. It becomes more challenging when you’re managing remote workers that are in different time zones. Some may even be located halfway across the world.
In light of this, you need to create a work schedule that takes the remote worker’s timezone into perspective.
For instance, when you set deadlines for tasks, it’s unwise to make it general for everyone. Let’s say you place 5 pm Pacific time for remote workers to submit a job. It’s going to be bedtime for someone working with Eastern time. It’s also midnight for someone working with GMT.
Every remote worker should be treated separately in terms of assigning work hours. It shows you understand and respect their time and schedule. It also heightens inclusiveness among team members.
5. Make Onboarding Seamless and Simpler
Most business owners think that remote workers don’t need to go through the onboarding process as stipulated in company policy. They get them onboard and expect them to learn on the go. It’s a wrong approach to working with remote staff.
I said earlier that skill and talent aren’t enough for you to hire a remote worker. Let me also add that personal drive and passion will only carry them a distance.
If you want to keep a remote employee motivated and at their best foot, get them indoctrinated into the ways and culture of the company. You need to work out an onboarding plan that seamlessly absorbs them into the inner workings of the company.
You can achieve this by organizing online onboarding training for them. That way, they need not show up physically to be adequately integrated into the company. Amongst other things, this gives your remote employees a sense of belonging and acceptance.
The benefits of working with remote employees far outweigh the challenges it poses. If you aren’t implementing this right now, you should consider doing so. The world is moving very fast and the times are changing.
In recent years, there have been some outbreaks of pandemics that demanded that people maintain social distances. These pandemics have a way of coming back each time in a new form. However, you don’t have to get caught in the web.
Starting now to incorporate remote openings in your business might save you some costs and losses in the long run. Beyond that, you should establish a system where your remote workers feel included. The five steps I shared above is an excellent place to start.