Connecting With Remote Employees
by JENNA REED
In a world where it seems like we’re always “connected” why do employers have so much trouble connecting with remote employees? Rather than focus on the reasons it happens, let’s talk about what we can do about it.
Of course it is important to establish clear expectations about an employee’s schedule and expected availability, but make sure they know what to expect from their manager and team. If they work unusual hours and something comes up, they need to know who to contact if they need help.
If their work isn’t tied to normal business hours, be flexible about when and where their work is performed. Some people find their groove early in the morning; others late at night. We know that people are often more productive when they have flexibility to work when it works for them.
Make connecting easy. They can’t just walk down to your office to chat. Consider regular videoconferencing or instant messaging programs like Google Messaging or Slack.
Program management tools are also a great way to track workflow and progress and to continually interact about projects. Flow and Asana are two very popular platforms.
While email is a quick way to communicate, don’t rely on it too heavily. Make time to talk on the phone or via videoconferencing. While you’re at it, schedule dedicated time to connect with them. Commit and don’t change it.
Finally, remote work isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer the consistency of coming to an office every day. Some people aren’t comfortable with the technology often used to ensure remote employee success and not all leaders can manage it well.