Remote working is becoming more popular with each passing year. In a recent study involving more than 1,000 professionals, 65% stated that they allow their employees to work remotely. While working from home via a virtual office can be a comfortable scenario for some, other employees thrive in temporary office spaces or collaborative workspaces. But no matter where your employees do their work, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. Virtual office solutions can provide valuable flexibility that many employees crave, but in order for remote work to be successful, these relationships need to be nurtured. Here are a few tips for building and maintaining these remote relationships in 2017:
Make smart hiring decisions
When you rely on a non-traditional office space or work setup to produce results, you need to use a bit more discretion when hiring new employees. Although many people like the idea of working remotely, not everyone is suited for this kind of arrangement. Look for candidates who have excellent time management and communication skills, hold themselves accountable, and work well both independently and in collaboration with others. Your remote workers need to be responsible, meet deadlines consistently, and be focused on the work even when outside the office. Building a strong team of remote workers is critical, so make sure you hire the right people from the start.
Provide helpful tools
Just because your employees work remotely through virtual office solutions doesn’t mean they should feel isolated. Make sure to utilize technological tools like messaging apps, group chats, or video conferences to make your workers feel more connected to each other and the job at hand. Encourage workers to spend time together outside of work, as these social interactions can foster a more cohesive work environment, even when employees don’t get to spend much time together in an office. You should also schedule regular check-ins and have weekly team meetings that foster collaboration and communication.
Encourage virtual office creation
Technically, virtual offices don’t always look the same; by definition, a virtual office is anywhere you do your work. But having a solid setup can reduce distractions and promote creativity and productivity in general. Laptops are typically preferred over desktops, as they allow you to take your work anywhere you go. Your employees may also want to consider having a docking station with a printer, fax machine, scanner, or additional mouse and keyboard to utilize for work projects. The company-wide use of Google Docs or cloud storage should be consistent so that all employees are on the same page. Make sure to communicate what is expected of remote employees in terms of equipment or software before they accept the position.
Be clear about your schedule
While virtual office solutions certainly have their perks, it can be all too easy to feel like you’re on the clock or on-call all the time. Remote workers often create their own schedules, so it’s entirely possible that they’ll be working when you’re done for the day. While it’s important to be available should your remote workers need you, you need to make a clear distinction about when you’re around and when you’re not. Share your schedule with all employees and make it clear that when you’re on the clock, you’re there to help. That way, everyone knows when it’s okay to reach out. Whether you’re a boss or an employee, think of your office hours as set; though you may have some flexibility, don’t feel pressured to work when you aren’t supposed to.
With these tips, you’ll have a strong and successful remote team. If you’d like to find out more about our non-traditional office solutions and how they can work for your business, please contact Stat International today!