Right now, millions of people around the world are working remotely. It’s totally unprecedented, and despite being an initial shock to the system, remote working has become mainstream. We don’t know what the world will look like once everything has settled down after the pandemic, but remote working is set to continue for many throughout 2021.
Although a lot of people would probably assume that growing and developing a remote team is a nearly impossible task, there are plenty of remote-first companies that have worked this way from their inceptions. They now pave the way for others to follow by sharing their experiences. Growing a remote team definitely brings some unique challenges to the table, but it also gives you as a founder and a manager an opportunity to increase the wellbeing of your employees by offering more autonomy and flexibility.
Here are some pointers on how and what to invest in your remote employees by tech disrupter and NIXA CEO and co-founder Kristine Angeltvedt.
- Invest in your employees’ wellbeing by offering them flexible hours. Refocus how you measure employee success to their output rather than how long they’re online. As long as the work gets done to your satisfaction, then flexible working is a good solution to employees with ongoing commitments. To ensure a collaborative environment, set some guidelines on how many hours of overlap the team should have and use digital tools like Slack to stay connected once online.
- Invest in great tools to push communication and output to the next level. Communication is absolutely essential to a remote team and make sure to invest in the platforms or software they need to do their job effectively and to feel part of a team. Whether a voice over IP (VOIP) or an instant messaging service such as Slack, listen to the needs of your employees and deliver what they need. The same goes for other tools, from project management, design, development to programming. Ensure the tools are up-to-date and they have everything they need to succeed, because when the team succeeds, then so does your company.
- Boost your employees’ productivity by providing a home office set up that works. People may require better chairs to support their backs, laptop support or ensuring employees feel supported to help them with their job. Having a remote team can save on overheads while remote workers are more productive, with one company finding a 35% increase in employee productivity. What you save on costs, put back into your employees and help them work effectively.
- Ensure their internet connection works at the speed you need. It’s such a simple thing, but a bad connection will slow your employees down and therefore decrease productivity. Identify employees who struggle with their connectivity and offer a solution such as a WIFI dongle.
- Build an employee handbook that is easily available to all employees and that puts part of your culture into words. Typically, these handbooks contain everything from the company’s mission, vision, values, guidelines and routines. Try to provide your team with some guidelines on how to collaborate and work with each other in order to ensure everyone’s wellbeing. This could be anything from requesting your employees to always wear high quality headphones in video meetings to avoid annoying background noise or how to communicate in Slack to avoid other team members being unnecessarily interrupted or annoyed about notifications at all times.
- The company culture is one of the things that correlates the most with employees’ wellbeing. Therefore, investing in creating and maintaining a good company culture is one of the most important tasks of a founder or manager. Company culture really does fuel your team’s performance. When not being able to interact naturally in an in-office setting, you need to try and replicate this online to bring people together in a remote environment.
Set up virtual morning stand-ups with the team to ensure that every team member knows what the others are working on and what the priorities are. You should also make sure to set recurring virtual meetings for social “non-work related” activities, such as a monthly event with drinks and a weekly half hour catch up. Your remote employees should feel part of the team no matter where they are located and you need to schedule in activities to make this happen.
- Boost employees wellbeing by providing learning opportunities. Grow your employees’ skills in line with their personal development and provide them with a clear career path at the company. People want to know how they progress and what they need to do to get there. Investing in a team member’s training and education means so much more than a skilled employee, it shows them you value them and are willing to invest in their development and future with you.
Building a healthy company from the ground up will put you in a good place to grow and develop. A business’s largest outlay is usually staff and without investment in them, you’ll experience high churn rates, costing the company money. A remote team that works effectively and efficiently will boost the results of your bottom line.