Leaders: Consider These 6 Things to Make Sure Your Remote Employees Aren’t Left Behind
Will remote workers “get left behind”?
It’s quite possible: on-site workers “may get more visibility with leadership” and thus receive more attention, development opportunities, promotions, etc., than their work-from-home colleagues.
This, of course, isn’t fair because remote workers are at least 13 percent more productive. In-house employees tend to be looked at more favorably because, as one remote work expert has said: “You may have a bad day at work, but you’re at work. Your boss sees you and thinks, ‘I see her struggling, but she’s here, and she’s working hard’.”
Remote workers are just as committed to a company and hardworking as their in-house colleagues. Yet that “if they prefer working at home, they must not like working for this company” mentality remains.
Let’s be the kind of leaders who don’t fall into that “in-person is the best person” bias
Six tips to help ensure you don’t “forget” about your remote employees:
- Make sure they have the equivalent in tools and tech as their in-house counterparts. Confirm that all of them have the same communication platforms (Zoom, Google Calendar, Slack, Dropbox, etc.) as your in-person team members. Make sure they have a tech person they can call for technical issues.
It’s best if you can provide employer-owned laptops, chairs, and other equipment. This helps the remote worker feel more “at work.” It also helps them feel as if they’re a member of your team.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. It may be best if you communicate with remote workers more than you do with in-house employees. After all, you can pop over to a team member’s desk for a quick question, see them in the hallways, take them out to lunch, etc.
So, a daily or at least two days a week Zoom, or phone chat is highly recommended so that you can stay connected with your employee…and they feel connected to you. (Note: daily really is best. After all, you probably chat with all your in-house team members daily.)
- Celebrate their hard work and successes with the whole team. Yes, reward all staff members with small gift cards to coffee shops, restaurants, etc. But also make sure to compliment and praise all of them during full-staff meetings Zoom meetings.
And while you definitely should keep staff meetings with just on-site personnel to a minimum, make sure you praise remote workers to in-house staff should you ever have in-person meetings at the office. This lets your on-site employees know you appreciate remote colleagues just as much as those you see every day.
- Encourage remote workers to continue their education with certifications, skills learning, even pursuing advanced degrees. Make sure they hear of opportunities as often as in-person team members. Let them know of corporate-paid opportunities, as well.
- Understand that remote workers may be working longer hours than in-house employees. Encourage them to end their workday at regular hours. Turn off work notifications. Check email in the morning/next day, etc.
Trust them to manage their time on their own. This allows them to take care of important personal business. In other words, don’t ask, don’t silently wonder, and don’t bring it up if they “appear” to be taking “too much time” away from their home office. Until – if ever – their productivity and work quality start to suffer, leave it alone.
- Ask them what they need to do their job better. Ask them where they want to go in their career. Help them get there. You probably ask these questions during annual or quarterly manager/team member review sessions. But what’s stopping you from making these inquiries “just because”?
Let your remote team members know you’re interested in their professional goals and that your goal is to help them meet their career goals.
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