There was a time when remote work wasn't possible because the technology didn’t exist. When managers and employees wanted to communicate, they could speak face-to-face or talk on the phone. Today, digital communications have advanced so quickly that organizations are shifting away from the traditional office to a modern home office.
However, many companies are unsure about how to make this transition. Some managers fear a lack of productivity, while others have not yet invested in communications tools or even a company intranet. With the right education and resources, and a little help from Happeo, businesses can quickly and efficiently adapt to remote working.
Rethink your current internal communications strategy
Remote work would be impossible without the technology options we have today. Wifi connections, instant messaging, and project management software all allow colleagues to work together instantaneously. Before the right technology comes into place, employees should take steps to ensure that working from home is protected from cybercriminals.
Remote teams need to be intentional about protecting their digital workspaces from data breaches, especially if they are handling private client information. Knowledge workers, or employees who handle sensitive data, should use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This gives individuals access to their secure corporate network and intranet without exposing data to the world.
Review old communication tools
To make employees feel truly connected, they need the right platforms for communication. Companies should conduct a review of their current communication tools to see what will work in a remote setting. Sending an email and waiting to receive a response may not be the most efficient way to get things done, especially with time-sensitive projects. Implementing instant messaging means colleagues can reach out to someone quickly if they need to. For face-to-face interaction, planned video conferences and meetings can be the perfect solution.
Ask your team
Whether they are managing home or office workers, team leaders should know what their employees need to succeed in their job. Conducting a survey is a great way to understand the issues employees face on a regular basis and how to face these problems head-on. So how do teams prefer to communicate, and how do they feel about the tools they use now? Getting this kind of regular feedback ensures leaders are setting up their strategy in the most effective way possible.
Build new communication guidelines
Introduce fast communication tools
We rely on technology to stay connected with colleagues and get updates about current projects. G Suite collaboration tools have become especially popular since they offer a range of tools to be fully remote. The G Suite tools are all easily accessed within a web browser, which means they can be accessed at any time and from any device. Remote workers can stay in the loop with video conferencing, real-time document collaboration, instant messaging platforms, and more.
Google Hangouts Chat, for instance, helps individuals to chat face-to-face when meeting in a physical office is not possible. These video conferences can be scheduled within the Google Calendar application, so remote workers can easily integrate them into their day. Google Documents and Slides also make collaborating on documents and presentations simple. People can write and edit files in real-time, knowing that any changes are saved automatically in the cloud.
Increase learning and training budgets
Some employees may not be familiar with remote platforms or tools, especially if they have worked in an office space for most of their professional lives. Companies should invest in regular learning and training, so individuals know how to navigate these systems. When employees are fully informed about the tools they use, they tend to make fewer mistakes. In fact, the right training program can increase employee engagement and decrease the need for supervision in the future. Collaborative learning also allows employees to work together and solve issues as a team.
Communicate new strategy to employees
A successful work from home strategy requires managers and employees to collaborate without over-communication. This is because too many instant messages and video conferences may distract remote workers from delivering on projects. When implementing a strategy for people working remotely, organizations need to communicate what they expect so everyone is on the same page. People should know how and when to contact team members through video, instant messaging, or email to set the right boundaries and prevent miscommunication.
Leverage team management/collaboration solutions
Choose the best internal collaboration platform
When employees don’t have the resources they need to complete tasks, this may lead to feelings of displacement. To ensure the most effective communications possible, businesses should arm remote workers with the right tools. The G Suite platform with video conferencing and chat capabilities make individuals feel like they are part of a team, even when they are in different time zones.
Companies can also support remote workers with popular tools like Slack, a chat app people use to brainstorm, ask questions, and exchange files back and forth. Some managers even use Slack as a virtual water cooler for casual conversations. Zoom is great for video calls and screen sharing, while Toggl allows for better project management.
Measure employee engagement
An engaged employee feels like an active and involved member of their organization. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t pay enough attention to employee engagement. Even though the most common way to measure engagement is with surveys, regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings help team leaders get a real sense of how communication is really going. The key is to remove the fear so remote employees feel safe being honest and opening up. Focus groups and exit interviews are also useful tools businesses can take advantage of.
Maintain the process in your workplace for the future
Setting up remote positions within a company may seem challenging at first. To prevent potential issues and keep things running smoothly, managers should establish routines to make sure everyone progresses at the same level. Short daily or weekly conference calls with your remote workforce during office hours can establish a sense of unity. Encourage employees to maintain a structure when planning out their days, such as including work hours and breaks in their calendars. Even after the remote job ends, the processes can still be used in the future.
Happeo offers a remote employee-powered platform that completely changes the way your company communicates. With our intranet, enterprise social network, and collaboration tools, teams can seamlessly complete projects from home and improve their work-life balance. To learn about the benefits of partnering with Happeo, give us a call and speak with one of our team members today.