For better or worse, remote work has become the new norm in the post-COVID-19 world, and you can either adapt to the new trends, or slowly fade away from the spotlight. This article explains.
Chances are that you’re already forced to adopt the remote work model and send your employees home in order to comply with the COVID prevention guidelines, and even if you aren’t, it’s important to recognise the benefits that remote work can bring to your company.
For one, working from home or anywhere but the office allows employees to recharge and prevent burnout, but it can also help you cut payroll expenses and gain access to a global talent pool.
But for all its perks and benefits, remote work does bring some serious challenges to modern businesses. For one, how do you successfully incorporate and onboard new remote employees to make them feel like a part of the team? How do you maximise their productivity from day one?
What’s more, how do you manage a remote workforce in general without wasting time and other resources? Let’s tackle these challenges and give you the blueprint to onboarding and managing a thriving remote workforce.
It all starts with your leadership skills
There are many obstacles you need to help your new employees overcome to make them valuable to your company over the long term, but when they’re just starting out, your input and guidance will be instrumental.
As the leader, you’re not only responsible for welcoming them into the company, but also for making sure that they’re settled in, that HR has done their best to synch them with the rest of the team, and to address their needs in those crucial first few weeks.
Yes, it may sound like it’s below your paygrade, and it might be if you’re running a big company with a complex hierarchy, but for startups and small businesses, this type of approach is essential.
Your leadership skill will prove invaluable in helping your remote HR staff welcome newcomers to the brand, and with your guidance and input your new employees will have no problem feeling right at home.
What’s more, it’s not just your leadership skills that need to shine here – you also need to work on your communication skills via digital channels.
You’ll be communicating with new employees and existing ones via video every day, so it’s imperative that you perfect your soft skills, learn to talk a bit more slowly, make frequent pauses to allow people to catch up, reiterate your points several times, and gesticulate with purpose.
Greet new employees with a welcome package
Traditionally, when you were all still working in the same office space, you would put a welcome package on the new employee’s desk to help the get settled in and feel, you guessed it, welcome.
Now, just because you’re all working remotely and aren’t sharing an office doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do the same. Only from now on, you can only give them electronic welcome packs, preferably filled with useful information as well as some nice incentives.
Start with the functional stuff and create a welcome folder on the cloud (or put it all in an email) where they will find everything from your introductory video to your personal message, important contacts, relevant colleagues and communication guidelines, their work schedule and a schedule for all meetings, and a guide to how you approach remote work in general.
As for the digital goodies and perks, perhaps a simple Starbucks loyalty card or a company discount will be enough to make them feel like you truly care about them. After all, remote work can be stressful, so you have to make sure your employees are properly caffeinated.
Communicate through various channels
To ensure the success of your remote work strategy and ensure the productivity of your new and existing employees, you have to take advantage of communication tech. Technology is the only way to communicate efficiently and effectively in the new normal, and if you’re managing remote teams, you can’t keep doing everything over email or by wasting money on long-distance phone calls.
To make communications as efficient as possible, you need a unified, cloud-based system like VoIP.
By now, you probably know that VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol and it’s basically a phone system that allows you to make calls over the internet. Oh, but VoIP can be so much more if you know how to use it and if you choose the right plan.
For example, a leading VoIP provider Nextiva offers a commercial phone service but emphasises the importance of other features like mobile optimisation, video calls and forwarding, call analytics and auto-attendants, collaboration tools, and more.
In the modern digital workplace, it’s not enough to communicate via phone – you also have to connect with your employees while on the go, or join a video call on a moment’s notice.
Most importantly, systems like VoIP allow your new employees to communicate with colleagues and their superiors in real time, allowing them to learn the ropes quickly and become productive members of your team.
Make morning meetings mandatory
In a physical office space, you might have been able to run an efficient operation just by checking in with everyone on your way to your office, delegating some tasks quickly, and then letting everyone do their thing.
However, now that people are working remotely and that you’re not sharing the same workspace, you can easily lose that level of cohesion and the distinct feeling of mutual understanding.
Needless to say, to make a remote team productive, you have to organise meetings frequently. In fact, you need to meet up every morning at the start of the day to talk about progress and performance, deadlines, and to delegate tasks for the day or make long-term workflows.
Daily meetings are not just great for your experienced employees to keep track of everything, they will also prove instrumental in helping the newcomers learn the ropes and start contributing from day one. After all, consistency and repetition are key to long-term employee productivity in the remote workplace.
Schedule regular one-on-one meetings
Even though you could run productive remote teams on one meeting a day, that doesn’t mean that your employees will be happy. Always keep in mind that these are trying times for many of your colleagues, and you never know what someone might be going through at home.
Perhaps they are under a lot of stress because of the pandemic, or maybe they’re finding it difficult to stay focused while working from home.
Whatever the case may be, you need to make yourself available for one-on-one chats with your team members, and especially your new employees. Use these video chats to focus on their well-being, ask them if there’s anything they need to feel more productive and happier, and if there’s anything you can do to help them unlock their potential at work.
What’s more, you should use this opportunity to integrate new employees into your company culture and help them adopt it even though they’re working remotely. This way, you make them feel right at home, but you’ll also help preserve the culture you’ve worked so hard to build over the years. This will invariably improve performance, team cohesion, loyalty, and trust.
Remote work doesn’t come easy for every company, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t stay afloat and even achieve better results in the new normal. With these tips in your playbook, you should have no problem integrating new employees into your remote workforce quickly while managing your experienced employees more efficiently and effectively.
About the Author
Jolene Rutherford is a marketing specialist – turned blogger, currently writing for technivorz.com. Interested in digital marketing and new technology trends. Love sharing content that can help and inform people.