According to IDC, the number of remote workers will grow to 105 million by 2020. As more companies embrace mobile workforces, a unique paradigm shift is being created. Remote employees often have different needs and desires when compared to staff members in the office, and creating a culture that supports them is a must if you want the best and brightest to stick around.
To help you create the kind of culture remote workers want from you, here are some tips to get you started.
Time Zone Awareness
When you hire a remote workforce, you aren’t bound by physical proximity restrictions. While this opens you up to a wealth of hiring opportunities based on your increased access to a larger candidate pool, it also means not everyone is located in the same time zone.
In some cases, this is incredibly helpful, as you can have staff members available outside of your office’s standard business hours. However, when it comes to scheduling activities, like meetings and brainstorming sessions, it can cause some headaches for remote workers who aren’t located in your time zone.
To handle this situation, it is wise to schedule mandatory meetings at a mutually acceptable time whenever possible. In cases where it will inevitably cause a strain for some workers, which can occur if your workforce is international, try to rotate the schedule so that specific employees aren’t always inconvenienced.
Encourage Casual Conversation
While technology makes it easy to stay connected on work-related issues, many remote employees aren’t privy to the casual situations that lead to small talk and team bonding. This can leave them feeling disconnected from their coworkers and managers, potentially harming morale and productivity.
To remedy the issue, try to schedule time each week to catch up and engage in small talk. By taking part in virtual bonding, everyone feels included and has a chance to forge stronger, more productive relationships.
Formalize Procedures for “Tough” Conversations
Remote workers often feel at a loss when it comes to broaching difficult topics, like requesting a raise or airing a grievance. Generally, these are the kinds of interactions that would take place in-person, which isn’t an option when you are geographically separated. However, video conferencing can be a suitable mechanism, but managers need to reassure remote employees that the alternative is acceptable for these conversations. That way, face-to-face communication can occur, making it easier to discuss tough topics when the need arises.
Be Proactive About Communication
Most employees need feedback to gauge their performance. Remote workers may feel comfortable getting basic information through email on a daily basis, but that isn’t always suitable for the feedback-oriented conversations that let them know they are on the right track. Plus, since they aren’t physically in the office, times when these discussions would naturally occur don’t always fit well into the paradigm.
To help put their minds at ease, schedule conversations regularly, ideally using tools like video conferencing, to let them know how they are doing. This can make them feel more confident, if things are going well, and ensures that any issues that need to be discussed aren’t accidentally misinterpreted, as can happen when relying solely on email.
If you are interested in learning more or would like to add a new employee to your team, the professionals at Choice Technology Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can work for you.