Today, business owners face very different challenges compared to years past, yet the challenges also come alongside some huge benefits.
The ability to employ remote employees or to even convert your entire business to a remote-working model has opened up some great avenues for businesses. Most notably, the size of the recruitment pool has increased for employers, allowing them to construct a much more diverse and qualified team than they would otherwise have been restricted to due to their geography.
This has also allowed businesses to save money that they’d have spent on office spaces and in-house equipment. However, keeping employees engaged and reducing the risk of absenteeism has become an important step in managing a remote business effectively, and this can be a challenge. Here are some of the best ways in which you can manage this.
Encourage social interactions
An office space in which everyone is focused on their own little space and avoids talking to each other due to the culture that has been enforced is an overly negative environment. This can lead to your employees feeling isolated and demotivated, which can ultimately lead to poor quality work, a lack of efficiency and effort, and even a higher staff turnover as people search for green pastures.
The same can be said for employees that work remotely, too, only now it’s much harder to get your team interacting with each other. There are no opportunities for employees to chat about things around the water fountain or in the kitchen and hangout areas, and these were very useful opportunities for bonds to form. Try to encourage your team to socialise and engage with one another on your company communication platforms, and even allow chatrooms that aren’t related to work within reason.
Regular face to face meetings
One of the benefits of working in an office is the constant face to face interactions we had, and, before the advent of remote working, this was often taken for granted. Being able to speak to your employees in person increases your ability to motivate and inspire them while easily understanding how they’re doing and how well they’re handling their workload, among other things.
However, just because your team works remotely today doesn’t mean that they need to feel distanced and out of touch with you or the rest of the team. Schedule regular meetings with everyone, either with yourself or another member of management. This will allow you to touch base with your employees to find out how they’re doing. It’s worthwhile encouraging your team to ask for meetings, too, if needed, allowing them to bring any issues to your attention.
Ask for feedback and foster innovation
A great way to maintain higher levels of engagement with your team is to continue to encourage them to give you feedback wherever possible. Assure them, and stick to this, that their feedback will not cause problems for them. You can even offer avenues where this feedback is anonymous too. As well as being open to criticism and suggestions, it’s important to listen to your team when they offer potentially innovative ideas and methods of working.
They may come up with an idea to improve the quality of life for your team or the productivity and success of your business overall. Remember that your staff will have a different perspective in their roles compared to you, and they may identify new ways of doing things that you’d otherwise miss.
Use technology to keep track
Especially when you’re managing a large team of remote workers, there is a higher risk of absenteeism and members of your team taking advantage of this new working method. Of course, most will be working the hours you’re paying them, and there’s nothing wrong with your team taking a few minutes here and there out of their day to grab a tea or coffee and a snack and stretch their legs. But in some cases, there may be some that would otherwise exploit this added privacy and isolation and treat this as a means of doing the bare minimum of work.
They could spend their day doing whatever they want, unless you have a system in place to monitor the time they work or are in attendance. Staff absence management is a worthwhile endeavour and can be done using time tracking software from Factorial HR. Providing your HR department with the ability to monitor the number of hours your team is working will also encourage your team to be honest and even focus on their tasks. It also allows them to better manage remote or hybrid teams, and reduce absenteeism, which can save your HR team time and improve their efficiency.
Reward your employees
It’s also important to consider rewarding those employees that provide you with good quality work and results. However, you need to be careful not to foster an overly competitive environment, as this could harm your plans to encourage more social interactions and teamwork. But, if it’s done with care and consideration, providing rewards for your team when they hit targets and achieve great things allows you to bolster their morale while also motivating them to work even harder to earn those rewards.
It’s no longer good enough to merely expect your team to work at their best simply because you’ve employed them and paid their salary. In this competitive world of work, employees are constantly on the lookout for other career opportunities that provide them with better bonuses and benefits, not just higher salaries. To reduce the number of employees leaving and encourage more to join, it may be worth improving your rewards and benefit offerings where possible.
Give recognition for hard work
As well as rewards and bonuses for hitting and surpassing targets, you may be surprised at just how impactful verbal and written recognition is for your employees. When someone knows they’ve worked extra hard on a project and have put their heart and soul into something, if they fail to get recognition for their hard work and dedication, this may dissuade them from doing that again in the future.
Sometimes all someone needs is a pat on the back and genuine thanks from their leaders. While this is a great choice when looking for ways to boost morale, you need to make sure you don’t put too much focus on certain individuals over others, as that recognition could then backfire, demotivating them instead.
Remain transparent with your team
When working away from an office space, it’s easy to feel isolated, lonely, and out of the loop as we mentioned above. So, finding ways in which you can keep your team updated on important changes and events at a management level is a good way to keep everyone feeling connected. In an office, it’s likely that your employees would be privy to a lot more than you’d think, except the more private aspects of running your business.
But transparency is much easier to practice in person. When everyone is working apart from each other, it’s easy to forget to discuss certain things with them, as you’d otherwise have to actively correspond with your team using emails or meetings. However, setting up regular team meetings, where you can relay these events and changes to everyone at once, is a great way to keep everyone feeling involved with your business as a whole.