Engaging a remote workforce
Remote working is a well-established and growing part of our corporate culture. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that almost a third (3.5 million) of all employed Australians regularly work from home in their main job or business. With the completion of the National Broadband Network (NBN), the government intends to create more work-at-home opportunities by 2020, with a goal for 12% of all public servants to regularly telecommute.
Insights from McCrindle reveal that 80% of those surveyed were more likely to stay longer with an existing employer if they provided the flexibility of working remotely, while most employees (52% of men and 51% of women) were prepared to take a pay cut in exchange for greater flexibility in their working arrangements. What’s more, 55% of Australians reported being more productive working from home than in an office environment.
The challenge for employers, of course, is how to manage remote workers and keep them engaged in the business culture when they’re not physically in the building. Here are some best-practice strategies for managing a remote workforce.
1. Make the most of digital tools
Including remote workers in team communications and meetings is far easier these days when they can have an immediate virtual presence. All companies with remote workers should be capitalising on the wide range of digital tools that make remote communication easy, such as Slack, video conferencing, social media, intranet communications and employee engagement software such as Redii.
The risk of remote working can be reduced communication when it’s not easy to wander over to someone’s desk or request a quick coffee catch-up. Make communication a top priority with remote workers by scheduling weekly, or even daily, meetings and embedding this communication in your workflows.
3. Make communication a two-way street
It’s equally important that remote workers feel heard. So ensure they can easily supply feedback on projects, any issues they may be having while telecommuting and company operations in general. This is a key way to make sure they don’t feel disconnected. Provide clear channels for feedback such as corporate surveys, online forums, social media and intranet communications.
4. Give them the right tools
Remote employees in particular need to be empowered with tools to make their job easier and promote autonomy. Make sure they have equal access to files, tasks, deadlines, updates and news as on-site staff. It’s also important to ensure their remote working environment is a productive one. This may mean equipping them with better laptops, computers and mobiles, ensuring that they have easy access to tech support or engaging ergonomic experts to do home visits so their workspace is set up to avoid injury.
5. Bring them across company values and culture
Making sure all remote workers really understand your corporate culture and brand values will help them feel part of the team. It’s entirely possible to create a strong corporate culture even when workers are dispersed geographically. Every person who works for your business should have a strong understanding of your company’s values and way of doing business. Aligning all workers, including freelancers, with company values drives loyalty, communication and engagement. You can achieve this by making sure remote workers are equally included in all relevant communications, meetings and business events.
6. Reward and recognise
Another great way to make remote workers feel engaged and part of the larger team is through personal reward and recognition for their contribution. Consider sending them an e-card, or even a cake, on their birthday, along with other tangible rewards for meeting their KPIs and other company contributions. With Redii’s reward and recognition program, you can include them in rewards and recognition such as appearing on the Recognition Wall or Leaderboards.
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