Remote work is an increasingly popular option, both for employers and employees. After all, it widens the scope of what jobs - and applicants - are available, gives more freedom for employees to work at what time is best for them, eases long and sometimes dangerous commutes and makes employees happier, more loyal and more productive, when managed correctly.
If employed incorrectly, of course, remote work can leave employees feeling mismanaged, ignored, disconnected and unproductive. Many companies fail to take adequate steps to successfully accommodate a remote work program. With adequate preparation, planning and training, however, remote work can be an excellent addition to a company’s work benefits without sacrificing productivity and employee happiness.
Take adequate steps to prepare
If you want to hire employees remotely, you need to prepare adequately to ensure their training, introduction, access to necessary programs and equipment and connection to company resources will not be neglected. Create policies and procedures for employees, draft detailed user guides or lesson plans for introducing them to any technology that comes with the position, create a folder of important company documents that you will need to send to your remote employees. You need a comprehensive remote hire package that you can easily pass along to your new hires that will contain all the documents they need to do their job.
Don’t underestimate the value of training
The value of training comes in twice for remote workers - first, in hiring employees who are already experienced in remote work (employees who are already used to dealing with the unique challenges associated with remote work will more easily predict what’s expected and adapt to your standards), and second, in providing thorough, well-prepared and consistent training for your remote workers once they’re onboarded.
You need to prepare a thorough program, like applying for a loan, for showing your employees how to connect, and this will need to be specifically adapted for these employees. After all, your typical training session probably assumes that there will be a face-to-face meeting that can help employees through basic questions, can offer easy access to visual aides, and allow new employees to quickly turn to multiple other employees to ask for help. None of this will be available for remote workers, which means your training guides should be exceptionally thorough, include visual aids, and assume nothing about what the employee knows.
Give them freedom and flexibility
One of the biggest draws employees have to remote work is greater freedom - freedom to work the way they prefer, where they prefer and when they prefer. That likely means that they would rather learn on their own time and at their own pace as well. Remote workers may bring a unique or fractured knowledge of what to expect with them, which means they may feel totally comfortable with the ins and outs of one program, enabling them to skip all the training related to it, while another program may be totally foreign and unrecognizable to them. By allowing them to train at their own pace, you can also enable them to study what they need to rather than what standard training calls for.
Remote workers want flexibility and the ability to work independently as much as possible. By gearing your training towards those goals, you can leave your employees satisfied with their training and working productively in no time.
A social media marketing executive and entrepreneur, Alex has led the marketing divisions of some of the UK's leading advertising and PR firms. He specializes in usng the power of big data and business analysis to deliver actionable metrics.
As manager of a large team of digital marketers, Alex is responsible for delivering the training and development of his entire department. He emphasises standardizing procedures and creating an immersive on-boarding process as key to bringing new members to your team.
Outside business, Alex is a keen videographer and music producer, living and working in Brighton, UK.