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August 24, 2023

8 Remote Work Strategies Every Employee Needs

Although it seems like remote work is all the rage, even the “norm” right now, you’re not alone if you’re still adjusting to managing a team remotely.

Back in January 2019, it was estimated that 4.7% of work was remote. Now, that rate is about 12%, depending on the industry and time of year.

That rate isn’t likely to decrease either. It’s estimated that about 22% of the workforce will be remote by 2025. That means roughly every 1 in 5 employees will be conducting their careers from home.

Suffice it to say- remote work isn’t going anywhere. All things considered, we are still in the early days of widespread remote work. It’s to be expected that many companies, managers, and employees haven’t yet caught up to this new landscape for work.

By staying ahead of the curve and optimizing remote work now, you can give yourself and your remote team the best chance to thrive in your working environments. As a manager, you’re able to keep a pulse on the state of your team, so make sure you’re in tune to what their needs are and how you can best support them.

If you’re ready to adopt some new strategies to help you and your team thrive in a remote working environment, here are some simple but effective strategies you can start implementing now.

1. Study and Understand Remote Work Trends

One of the first priorities you should focus on is understanding trends related to remote work.

Many employers were shocked to find that, not only does remote work save the company money, but employees are generally more productive when they are able to work from home.

Employees may have different distractions when they are working from home, but that hasn’t shown to dampen productivity. Instead, employees report feeling more satisfied with their new work-life balance.

This being said, understand that many employees may have to step away from their desks to tend to kids, pets, and other elements of their homes when they work from home. When they are allowed to do so freely, it results in better outcomes for both the employee and your company.

If you study remote work trends, you’ll be able to anticipate the needs of your team. For example, a lot of survey data is showing that hybrid work is surpassing remote work for popularity among employees. Knowing data like this could help you reevaluate your work environments to fit employee preferences.

2. Adopt an Early-and-Often Communication Strategy

One key benefit of working in the office is the natural social interaction you get with your team and the ability to read body language. Since working remotely limits these elements, be sure you adjust your communication with your team.

As in, you’ll likely want to communicate with them early and often each day. Checking in often can help flesh out any issues and catch them early so they don’t turn into bigger problems.

Refine your writing skills too, especially if Slack or email will be your primary way of checking in. Instead of simply asking “how are things looking today?” create a process to assess how they’re actually progressing each day.

Make sure your employees know that you are a resource for them as well. Just because they work from home does not mean they should experience less support or be unable to ask questions and collaborate. Make yourself available to hop on calls and answer questions via email often.

3. Optimize Training Materials and Onboarding

If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your training materials and onboarding process, be sure you do so with a specific focus on remote work.

You might want to record some new videos, provide updated resources and software, and audit existing procedures to better fit a remote working environment.

The utilization of new software can also help streamline remote work. Take the suggestions of your employees about what features they like in software too. 

Employees should have easy access to training materials, so they always feel like they can review or refresh information as needed. When work is remote, it’s all the more important that SOPs are documented, so they can easily be referred to at any time.

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4. Prioritize a Strong Culture

Just because your team is remote doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have good rapport with their coworkers. Make efforts to prioritize a strong work culture, whether that’s through virtual events, designated Slack channels, or activities done online.

An easy way to start implementing a positive culture is to create a “water cooler” Slack channel where people can check in about non-work related topics. Maybe create separate Slack channels for people who have pets or kids, so employees can bond over shared experiences in their lives.

5. Get Feedback More Often

Your employees should feel like feedback is easy and accessible to them, not just at performance reviews.

Giving your employees frequent and constructive feedback can help boost their performance and give them further clarity on their job. This is also a great time to validate things they are doing really well. Since this feedback doesn’t always come up naturally when working remotely, make sure you carve out the time to do this.

You should also get frequent feedback from your employees on how you can improve your performance as a manager. By being open to frequent feedback, you’ll help make everyone’s work experience better and provide more support where your team needs it.

6. Try Different Time Management Techniques

Although time management is important for everybody, not every team member will adopt the same techniques to be at their most productive. Provide several different time management trainings and tools, then allow your employees to experiment and see which ones work best for them.

Some employers even allow their employees to choose their own “productivity hours.” As in, even though the business’s hours may begin at 8am, some employees may find that they work best in early mornings, so they choose to start work at 6am. Others may find that they are most productive in the evenings, so they choose to start working at noon.

There are pros and cons to letting employees choose their own schedule, but if your business model allows it, it could be a great way to leverage the productivity and brain power of employees, so you get them when they are at their best in the day.

7. Prioritize Good Ergonomics

Although it may be tempting to work from the couch each day, providing your employees with ergonomic resources will help protect their health and improve productivity.

Providing your employees with ergonomics training, monitor stands, ergonomic chairs, or standing desks can help them be more comfortable while working at home. Although it may seem like a big cost upfront to provide a full work-from-home environment for them, it could save the company a lot in workman’s comp later if you’re able to avoid injury through poor ergonomics.

Even though you can’t control how they choose to work, you can provide training that educates them on the best ways to protect their health while working from home. You can even shoot some automatic reminders to get up and stretch every hour, or encourage them to take a walk during their breaks.

8. Emphasize Self-Management and Work-life Balance

Despite what some employers are nervous about, it’s been shown that employees often work longer hours when they are working from home. Although this may contribute to the increase in productivity after moving to remote work, you’ll want to be sure you’re prioritizing work-life balance for them as well.

As a manager, you should be setting the example for a healthy work-life balance for your team. Remind your team to unplug from their work day, educate them on employee benefits like PTO, and provide training that helps them manage their workload in a healthy way.

Work-life balance is key for employee satisfaction and low turnover rates at a company. Don’t assume that this gets easier for them just because they’re working from home. Make an active effort to make work-life balance a key aspect of company culture.

Self-management is also key for remote work. When employees are given the space to self manage, they often do. Be sure that your employees feel you trust them to self manage and that you prioritize their wellbeing.

All in all, remote work has been shown to offer huge benefits to both employers and their staff. From cut costs, to better work-life balance, and improved productivity, it’s no wonder that remote work is only expected to increase in the coming years.

Now that you’ve learned about these remote work strategies you can provide for your employees, create a plan to start implementing them. From there, get feedback on how things are going. Remember that this is still a new chapter in the history of work and so you can adapt and change your procedures as you learn more and your staff evolves.

We have a huge library of training courses that cover these important topics. Everything is broken down and easy to comprehend making your responsibility to provide training as an employer much easier and actually cost effective. Get connected with us and see how with just a few questions, proper training can really elevate production.

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