In early 2020, more companies than ever before had switched to remote work to prioritize the health of their employees and community. We are still seeing the effects of that as many businesses decided to not return to pre-pandemic work strategies.
The swift transition to telework with little understanding as to how long it would last forced everyone to make quick decisions about how it would work in their organization. HR was no exception. But now that remote work is here to stay, it’s imperative that HR makes changes to work as smart as possible from anywhere. Here are our top five tips for HR professionals managing a remote workforce.
1. Establish a Remote Work Policy
Setting HR policies keeps every employee on the same page about what is expected of them. Remote work can be more flexible than in-office work, so you should clarify your expectations specific to remote workers. What works for in-office employees may not be realistic for remote employees.
Setting clear guidelines about what employees should expect in their remote roles is a key HR duty for companies that have any telecommute positions. Clarify who is eligible for remote work, set expectations for the methods and frequency of communication, work schedules, and how you can work with employees to keep company information secure.
2. Harness the Power of Technology
Technology can greatly increase overall employee productivity and keep team members’ goals aligned. It’s already extremely helpful for improving work in the office, but it’s completely essential for remote workers.
Technology can fill in the gaps of remote work shortcomings like a lack of communication accessing important company data securely while away from the office.
There is endless software available that will improve your company’s remote work strategies. Just a few examples of things that technology can simplify are communication, project management, benefits management, and data storage. Using this technology for yourself and your employees will help the whole company to run smoother than ever before.
3. Give Employees a Platform to be Heard
When you’re not seeing and interacting with your employees every day, it’s harder to gauge how you can be a resource to them. They’ll be less likely to send you a message that they’re experiencing burnout or are struggling to find a good work-life balance without normal and casual interactions.
Reach out to employees regularly to make sure they’re doing all right. You may want to schedule a one-on-one with them to give them the opportunity to let you know what advantages and disadvantages of remote work they’re experiencing.
Not all employees will feel comfortable confiding in you about what challenges they’re facing as they telecommute. Create and send out an anonymous survey to all employees to determine what resources you should provide them with.
You may want to include some of the following questions in your survey.
- Are you more productive working remotely or in the office?
- Do you have a healthy work-life balance?
- Would you be interested in resources with tips on how to effectively work from home?
- Do you have all the equipment you need to be successful?
- Is your team’s communication adequate to achieve your goals?
Providing a platform for employees to be heard, whether it’s anonymous or not, will greatly empower them and help you to pinpoint the exact ways that you can help them.
4. Adjust the Hiring and Onboarding Processes
Since completely remote employees will never see the inside of the office as part of their work day, it wouldn’t make sense to bring them in as part of their interview or onboarding process. Standardizing remote hiring and onboarding processes is essential for all HR professionals managing remote workers.
One of the biggest advantages of remote work to an HR team is that they have access to a large talent pool because of the lack of geographical limitations. And since your candidates may be hundreds of miles away, keeping these processes completely digital will save you and your candidates serious time.
Luckily, if you’ve already followed tip #2 and found technology that works for you, you’re all set. You can use a video conferencing program to carry out all the interviews virtually. And once you’ve made the decision and are on to the onboarding step, you can automate all of your new hire paperwork with a robust document management system.
5. Create a Digital Company Culture
HR is key to setting the tone of an organization’s culture. Company culture is as important as ever among remote workers. They may be working from the comfort of their own home, but they still need to work for a company they enjoy and makes them feel valued.
Establishing organizational culture with remote employees has to be much more intentional than with those always in the office. Without the “water cooler talk,” the casual interactions that naturally add to culture are restricted.
Creating an impressive culture with employees that telecommute comes with different challenges, but is still completely doable. You can put on virtual events like book clubs or seasonal parties. You can even tune into the casual conversations by encouraging each team to set apart time each week to jump on a call and chat about things other than work.
Remote workers can easily experience job burnout. Company culture can limit that, ensuring your employees are satisfied with their jobs and keep them around for longer.
Managing remote workers calls for different practices throughout the entire HR department. With the help of leaders throughout the organization, you can find how to provide your remote employees with the best experience possible, which will help your whole organization reach new levels of success.