In the ever-evolving landscape world of work, organizations are carving out their own distinctive paths. While some are marching back to the office, others are boldly planting their flag in the remote work camp.
The allure of a distributed workforce lies in the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of remote work, but make no mistake – this model comes with its own set of challenges. Employees scattered across different locations, time zones, and cultures encounter unique barriers that demand innovative solutions.
For HR leaders navigating this new frontier, understanding the intricacies of managing a dispersed workforce is crucial. These newly emerging best practices for remote work can empower you to steer your company through the ever-evolving landscape of overseeing a remote workforce.
Tip 1: Establish Clear Communication Channels
Effective communication is the heartbeat of a successful work environment. This dynamic becomes even more pronounced in a remote setting where face-to-face interactions are limited.
To encourage clear communication, HR departments can:
- Specify preferred channels for different messages.
- Set clear expectations for response times.
- Encourage staff to keep respective time zones in mind.
- Outline availability requirements in the staff handbook.
- Encourage regular check-ins between managers and team members.
Bolstering each of these tactics with clear guidelines enhances clarity. This reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings, and fosters a collaborative and efficient remote work environment.
Tip 2: Foster a Culture of Trust and Autonomy
Trust is the bedrock of a thriving remote work arrangement, and building it necessitates a deliberate effort. HR leaders can actively promote self-direction and initiative by providing the necessary resources, tools, and ongoing support that contribute to individual confidence. This includes:
- Encouraging virtual team-building activities.
- Allowing team members to choose their own hours and work style.
- Promoting ownership of tasks and projects.
- Building systems for feedback, recognition, and rewards.
Empowering employees with autonomy is a key element in encouraging them to make decisions independently and manage their time effectively. It fosters an environment where innovation and creativity can flourish, even in a virtual setting.
Tip 3: Invest in Collaborative Tools and Technology
Leveraging technology is foundational to a remote work environment. It’s important to select tools that enable employees to stay connected and collaborate easily.
Types of tools that are valuable for distributed companies include:
- Project management systems, such as Asana or Monday.
- Group messaging systems, like Slack or GChat.
- Video conferencing software, including Zoom or Google Hangouts.
- Cloud storage solutions, such as Dropbox or Box.
The right software and technology, team members can easily collaborate from separate locations. They also enable remote monitoring and tracking of shared goals. This helps everyone stay on the same page, no matter where they are.
Tip 4: Support Wellbeing
Remote work presents unique barriers for HR departments striving to support employee wellbeing. You can no longer look around the office to see who may be skipping lunch or working late too often — information that helps you identify workaholics so you can stave off burnout.
To support workforce wellness in a remote company, HR departments can:
- Sponsor wellness app subscriptions.
- Enforce no-email hours or no-meeting days.
- Facilitate access to digital workout platforms.
- Sponsor for gym subscriptions.
- Incorporate mental health days into your benefits package.
Clear commitments to wellbeing are particularly critical in a distributed environment. They make it clear the company cares about its employees. This is critical in a labor market where93% of employees say their wellbeing is just as important as their salary.
Tip 5: Nurture Team Bonding
Having a best friend at work increases employee engagement, which is known to bolster satisfaction and retention. Friendships are less likely to blossom in a remote work environment, making intentional team building incredibly valuable.
Remote team building can take many forms, including:
- Organizing a virtual escape room for a department to solve.
- Setting up a company-wide steps challenge.
- Asking this or that questions to kick off team meetings.
It’s also important to remember that there’s no rules against coworkers getting together! Distributed companies can plan annual offsites that allow everyone together. And, on a smaller scale, HR departments can plan to get togethers in regions where there are concentration of employees. This face-to-face interaction can strengthen otherwise remote relationships.
Tip 6: Provide Regular Recognition
Offering consistent recognition helps maintain remote employee engagement and motivation. From shoutouts in company meetings to bonus programs, there are many ways to show employees their work is appreciated.
Remote recognition initiatives can feature:
- Digital badges employees send through programs like Workday.
- Employee appreciation programs with rewards.
- Sharing team wins through social media posts.
- Scheduling quarterly meetings dedicated to celebrating accomplishments.
When practiced at scale, recognition goes beyond making individuals feel valued. It contributes to building a positive culture, which is invaluable for any organization.
Tip 7: Embrace Continuous Adaptability
Remote work is an ongoing journey that demands continuous evaluation and adaptation. HR leaders should regularly assess the effectiveness of remote work practices, making necessary adjustments to optimize workflows and address emerging challenges.
Adaptability can take many forms, including:
- Introducing more flexible work schedules.
- Providing additional training and support as new needs arise.
- Experimenting with new tools and technologies.
- Adjusting policies and protocols based on lived experiences.
Remember that you don’t have to come up with every solution alone! Employee surveys can be valuable tools for gathering collective wisdom that can help you steer this ship.
Taking Care of Everyone, Everywhere, All At Once
There’s no tried-and-true guidebook for taking care of an entirely remote workforce. Today’s HR leaders are learning as they go, innovating on the fly about how to execute traditional responsibilities in a new world.
Gympass is here to help you deliver workforce wellness to dispersed teams. Our integrated platform lets employees access thousands of wellbeing providers — including apps and online programs — anytime, anywhere. This makes it easy to meet the diverse wellness needs of your remote team.
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.