Working remotely has become the new norm for a number of businesses across the globe. In fact, 56% of U.S. workers are working remotely either all or part of the time. As more and more companies begin to embrace remote work, leaders and managers need to rethink some of their old ways of doing things. While remote work has plenty of advantages, it comes with its fair share of challenges as well. This means that understanding remote work best practices is more necessary than ever before. Consider the following best practices for remote work that can be used to support and manage your business more effectively.
1. Use Cameras During Remote Meetings
When you are in person, it’s easy to see if someone is checked out during a meeting. They might be fidgeting with their pen, checking their phone, or staring off into space. When calls happen remotely, however, it’s much harder to identify disinterest. The easiest way to ensure a more effective meeting is to simply turn your camera on. Without video, people could be doing anything on the other end of a call. That’s why having your camera on for all remote meetings will help ensure you and everyone else stays engaged.
2. Set Clear Expectations
It is important to set clear expectations early on so your team knows what is expected of them. Set expectations regarding daily and weekly check-ins, performance expectations, working hours and availability, and strategies for dealing with urgent situations. Be clear about procedures, expectations, and boundaries so you can take the guesswork out of working from home.
3. Communicate Often
When your team is working remotely, communication is more important than ever. Since you aren’t all together in an office, you don’t have the ability to collaborate in person or chat throughout the day. This means you need to find other ways to communicate effectively. Consider communicating through team meetings, email, Slack, video conferencing, or another internal messaging system.
4. Set Healthy Boundaries
Working from home can make it easy to blur the lines between personal and professional life. Remote workers tend to put in more hours, meaning they are more likely to experience burnout. Help keep your employees healthy by promoting healthy boundaries. For instance, limit hours of availability, allow breaks from the screen, and encourage self-care.
5. Check in with Your Employees Regularly
The best way to make sure your employees feel supported and engaged is to check in with them on a regular basis. While you definitely want to check in on your team’s progress, you also want to make sure your communication is not exclusively about progress. Offer helpful feedback or positive praise. Make sure your employees have the support and tools they need to do their jobs well. You can do this through weekly video meetings or daily check-ins via chat.
6. Make Sure Everyone Has the Tools and Equipment They Need
As part of your onboarding process you should have a list of resources, tools, and equipment everyone will get to make sure employees are fully prepared to work remotely. This will include things like a work computer, a mobile phone, a good camera, a headset, and access to servers, messaging tools, and software.
7. Help Team Members Collaborate
These days there are so many different tools that make it easy for employees to collaborate in real-time and share information in the same files and software tools. These applications are designed to make remote work easier and help your team work together more efficiently. Some of these applications include Slack, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Trello, and Asana just to name a few.
8. Host Team Building Activities
Sure it’s nice to sit at home with a cup of coffee and fuzzy slippers as you go about your work day but there is also something missing…the workplace chatter. Part of working for an organization is getting to know your colleagues and this can be difficult when you never see them. Remote businesses should not forget about the importance of team building. Set aside time for your employees to step away from their screens and meet in person for some fun socialization.
9. Build in Accountability
Remember the days of working in an office when your boss might occasionally walk around to see what everyone was working on? Chances are the fear of getting caught chatting on your phone kept you accountable for staying on task. These days, however, you can literally be doing anything on the job from baking cookies and doing laundry to binging your favorite TV show. The problem is that too much slacking off leads to poor performance, reduced productivity, and longer hours. Build in accountability by asking everyone to share their day’s work on a “Daily Updates” chat or by using time trackers to keep employees on schedule.
10. Recognize Achievements
People want to know they are valued, and this doesn’t change just because they work outside the office. Unfortunately, working remotely can make it easy for employee contributions to go unnoticed. Make employee recognition an integral part of your remote work culture and show appreciation for achievements both big and small.