Having remote workers has become increasingly common for businesses in the past few years. What started as employees telecommuting every once in a while has now morphed into businesses with entirely remote teams.
However, that doesn’t mean that business owners’ understanding of telecommuting has gotten better over time. The same could be said for many employees who work remotely. Having said that, there are a number of practices to could follow that will have a positive impact on your remote working experience.
Use Real-Time Communication Technology
Communication is key for any business. In a traditional office environment, this is normally easy as whoever you need to talk to isn’t too far away. Having said that, the rise of remote working has made that a little bit more complicated.
In fact, the rise of telecommuting has made communicating more crucial. Email may not be as effective a communication tool as you might think. However, the past few years has seen a host of real-time communication tools that can make communicating with your workforce easier.
Many businesses will need more than just a messaging service in order to communicate with each other. After all, a vast majority of the time employees will need to share files and other data in order to collaborate effectively.
The likes of video conferencing, file sharing and instant messaging are all great on their own. However, many new apps have combined these into one technology. Because of that, communication and collaboration is a whole lot easier.
The use of this kind of technology is almost mandatory among remote teams. At the very minimum, it’s highly recommended that you and your team make the best use of this kind of technology in order to operate your business as smoothly as possible.
Establish Communication Norms
In a traditional office, very few employees go to colleagues’ desks every few minutes in order to have a conversation. However, many don’t see much of a problem with trying to communicate constantly with other remote workers via messaging apps.
This kind of behavior can be very distracting, which is why it is better to avoid it. You should aim to set a number of communication norms across your remote workforce.
After all, in a traditional office setting, you wouldn’t be too pleased if employees were constantly at each others’ desks talking. In terms of a remote workforce, you may not want them constantly messaging as this may have an effect on their productivity.
This doesn’t have to be putting a cap on e.g. the amount of messages that an employee can send. Rather, it can be as simple as ensuring that your employees know they’re on work time and should be focused on doing their job. They can be free to message each other outside of that and in relation to work, as long as they’re being productive.
Some employees may also get irritated by how many messages they receive from their colleagues on a daily basis. However, they might not feel comfortable speaking up about it. Setting a standard for communication will help offset that.
Make Sure You Have Reliable Tools
Depending on their position, many of your employees will need specific software in order to do their job effectively. This could be as simple as ensuring they have Microsoft Word or some other kinds of software related to their job position.
Ensuring that all employees have the software they need is one thing, but you also need to ensure that this software or technology is reliable. A big example of this would be whether or not employees can download files and properly collaborate with colleagues.
This is also true of any communication tools that you might be using. If their tools are unreliable, they won’t be able to do their job effectively. This can end up having a negative effect on your bottom line, as a workforce that can’t work effectively can’t achieve results similar to a workforce that has the right tools.
In a traditional office you’d be able to make sure that your employees have reliable tools at their disposal. The same should be true of a remote team. They’re just as valuable and should be treated as such from the basics up.
That’s why you’ll need to invest in the proper tools when you’re setting up your remote workforce. This ends up making collaboration a whole lot easier and have a positive effect on your business.
Use Technology To Build A Community
Working in an office naturally develops a sense of community in your workforce. This can be more difficult to foster in a remote workforce, although there can be a number of ways to work around that with technology.
After all, fostering a sense of community helps keep your employees happier and more engaged. This doesn’t change with where their working from.
Many apps have a variety of tools that let you help foster that sense of community. Even having a section of an app dedicated to celebrating birthdays or company achievements can go a long way.
While there are a host of different best practices for telecommuting effectively, you’ll be able to create a highly effective remote team with what’s been outlined above. There will always be ways to improve, but you’ll always be able to start on the right foot.
Originally published at thelatesttechnews.com on January 13, 2019.