Working remotely is no longer just a luxury for employees. It’s a leading trend that successful companies now must offer to stay competitive in recruiting.
Remote work jobs are growing, and up to 38% of full-time employees will be working remotely in some form or another in the near future. If you can’t provide a quality remote work environment for your employees, you could get left behind.
With that in mind, here are steps you can take to keep your remote workers happy (and your company competitive).
Have the right tools
One way you can stand out and keep your remote team happy is proactively investing in tools that bridge the gap between the remote worker and your main office.
Communication is key to a healthy remote work environment. Since you don’t get to see your employees face to face, checking in with them can be challenging. You can help cope with practical communication tools such as Slack, email, or Skype.
Ask your remote employees to email or message you in the morning with their plans and then to follow up at the close of their work day to let you know what they accomplished—and make sure your internal team does the same to help transparency and collaboration.
Home Office Tools
To keep your remote employees engaged and satisfied, you’ll need to provide the right tools and applications so they can work efficiently. At the very least, provide a company laptop so that the employees don’t have to use their own. Providing useful sharing tools and other applications such as Google Docs, Microsoft Office, or Adobe Creative Cloud could also improve performance and satisfaction.
Help them stay connected
When your employees have the right tools and technology but slow internet, those tools become useless. Further, a full three-quarters of business decision-makers believe poor internet can hurt business, and that’s just as true for a remote worker as it is for an office worker.
In fact, internet is especially vital for remote workers to function at a high level, since both their work and their ability to stay in contact with your office depend on their internet. To keep your remote workforce happy and connected—and to set your company apart from some of the others—consider subsidizing some of their internet costs, especially if the work they’re doing requires higher speeds than they’d normally have.
Keep them safe and secure
Working from home doesn’t mean that your employees will always be stuck at home. If they’d like a change of scenery, a café is also a great place to work. All they need to do is order their favorite drink, connect to Wi-Fi, and start working.
But is that safe? The answer is sometimes no. Hackers can quickly steal data through public Wi-Fi, compromising company data or your employee’s personal information. If your employees work with sensitive information, it’s worth investing in a virtual private network (VPN) for them. VPNs protect data from potential threats and ensure that employees are working securely.
Consider implementing a few remote-specific security policies, too, and keep your team up to date on how to follow them.
Train employees early and often
Development and growth never stop, so provide thorough training not only for new hires but longtime employees as well. No one knows everything, and there are always more digital tools or technical skills to explore.
Make continued learning available to your employees, ideally in the form of an online learning platform. Challenge them with goals that are ambitious and achievable. You can also assign a mentor to remote new hires to help them grasp company norms and expectations more quickly.
Make company culture accessible
Build a relationship of trust with your employees, and make sure that your company’s culture extends beyond the walls of your headquarters. Hold meetings regularly, grab lunch together (if possible), and offer real-time feedback. Your employee should feel included and a part of the team even when they’re working from home.
Remember the important dates and events of your employees as well. Celebrate employees’ birthdays and anniversaries, or nominate the highest performers for recognition and prizes. Do your best to create an entertaining and engaging experience whenever you interact with your remote team.
Remote workers tend to feel lonely and isolated since they have limited social interaction. Most communication happens over phone calls, video calls, chats, or emails. It’s natural for remote workers to quickly burn out staying home all day long. Don’t let loneliness and burnout win. You can help.
Offer social support. Let your employees know they can come to the office whenever they want. Or, if that’s not feasible, consider sponsoring a membership to a local coworking space so that they can be around other professionals and have people to share ideas with.
Time to take the training wheels off
If you follow the six steps above, your remote employees will be ready to shine. Other successful companies are already following these tips, so why wait? Make remote work a priority and start attracting top talent today.
Elaine is a digital journalist with a technical writing background. She currently focuses on all things security and sustainability at home and in the work place. As an involved citizen in her own community, she has a passion for helping small businesses and families succeed in their local communities. Elaine has written for a variety of online publications.