Businesses have coped with the coronavirus pandemic in many different ways. But one of the most common methods companies have used to continue business as usual amid restrictions and lockdowns is to have their employees work from home.
A remote workforce has numerous benefits for both companies and workers. As a business, you will have fewer overhead costs, and your employees will be happier and therefore more productive. Remote workers themselves can enjoy an improved work/life balance, reduced stress, and more flexibility and responsibility in their work. It is a win-win situation. Many employers have been reluctant to introduce a flexible working structure due to worries that remote employees won’t work as hard without strict micromanagement. But multiple studies have proved the opposite is true.
But remote working can only lead to a more productive business if your employees have everything they need to work effectively from their homes. It is up to you to set expectations and ensure they are suitably equipped with the requisite knowledge and equipment.
To help you kickstart your flexible working policy, here are five ways to empower your remote workers.
Provide the right tools
The hardest thing about empowering a remote workforce is ensuring everyone has the tools they need. This may require an initial investment on your part to get started. Video collaboration software such as Microsoft Teams is essential for your team to communicate with each other. Some staff may need laptops or phones, and it is not always feasible for them to use their own. Issues like technical support are a lot harder to deal with remotely, so your business may require a managed IT service to get things off the ground. Click here for more info.
Resist the urge to micromanage
It can be frustrating to know that your staff are out there on their own, getting their work done under their own steam. But to reap the benefits of remote working, you have to trust them to get things done. You should of course set clear expectations for your team from the start and check in on projects occasionally, but the last thing you want is your team resenting you remotely.
Accept different working styles
Outside the confines of the office, there is no longer any obligation for workers to stick to a regular working structure. Of course, there will be deadlines and fixed meetings, but everyone has different personal commitments and working styles. If someone needs to leave at 3pm to pick his kids up from school, why should that be a problem if he gets all his work done on time?
Your remote workers may need guidance, and it’s up to you to provide it. Being physically distant can make communication more challenging, so make sure you are available on working days and promptly respond to emails.
Don’t forget to socialize
Without the camaraderie of the office and the company of colleagues, working from home can be lonely. Make an effort to lift your staff’s spirits with regular group video calls. Start each meeting with a bit of a chat and a catch up to recreate the atmosphere of the office.