If your company doesn’t already offer remote work and work-from-home benefits, chances are you’re heading in that direction. From 2017 to 2018, telecommuting increased by 22%, and 3.9 million Americans reported working remotely last year. Flexible work options have become an increasingly popular benefit, as remote work offers opportunities for businesses to become competitive employers while hiring the best talent from around the world.
HR departments, in particular, are tasked with challenges when their companies decide to grow outside of traditional brick-and-mortar offices. How prepared is your HR team to manage remote employees?
Here are a few important questions to consider before onboarding your remote employees:
1. Is there a recorded policy on flexible work?
When compared to on-site help dedicated to a typical 9-5 work week, remote employees often enjoy greater flexibility, as they often get to decide when and where they’ll work each day. For a millennial workforce that strongly values the ability to balance personal life and work life, the ability to customize one’s work schedule is one of the main reasons so many apply to positions that offer part- or full-time remote work opportunities.
Depending on specific job requirements and the level of experience, your HR and leadership teams should work together to create a policy document for enforcing the mobile work expectations. The remote policy should cover any previous cases of remote work, eligibility guidelines for working outside of the office, steps needed to request remote days for those who work both on- and off-site, and communication guidelines between supervisors and remote staff.
2. Do you have the right tools for remote teams?
Your remote teams will not have access to on-site IT teams necessary communication equipment to interact with those working in the office.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a powerful collaboration tool which allows users to make phone calls over the internet instead of through a landline. Because VoIP runs on an internet connection to make calls, your company won’t have to install phone lines or extra equipment. Fortunately, there are a number of resource pages where you can learn about VoIP and how it can improve communication with your mobile agents.
Other platforms, such as intranet software, help teams by offering a central hub for sharing internal documentation, assigning management and calling out the achievements of individuals. For quick questions or updates, your team can use a team chat service to maximize time efficiency (watch our recent Slack webinar), reduce confusion and cut down on formal email numbers. We also recommend screen recording tools, like Loom.
3. Are your training sessions remote-friendly?
Creating a successful and engaging onboarding experience helps shape each employees’ first impressions of your company.. As your company begins to fill positions remotely, you will need to determine the best methods for training those who aren’t available for on-site training sessions. While many companies use a mandatory on-site training program to prepare new hires for success, not every remote employee will have availability to train at an office. That’s why you should integrate remote-friendly alternatives to every training program your business offers.
If face-to-face training is ideal, video conferencing is the next best solution because of the visual and auditory components for processing information. Make sure any informal notes that trainers use are transcribed into a universal document that can be shared with participants after each training for reference. As a supplement to the material covered in each program, you may also find it beneficial to share relevant articles, insights or team documentation for remote employees to read in advance.