Ah the telecommuting life. A quick commute from the bedroom to the home office (with a pit stop in the kitchen for a bite to eat) and then it’s project to project in pajamas right? Not exactly.
While there are plenty of remote jobs out there that tout the luxury of time and convenience, many professional telecommuting positions are just as demanding, if not more so, than on-site employment. You may forgo the rush hour traffic or the need to check the weather to know what to wear, but the home office has transformed into a subset of today’s corporate headquarters.
The remote employment industry has emerged as an opportunistic way for both employers and employees to benefit from a home office environment. Many remote employees are expected to log on during assigned business hours, dress corporate casual for video-conferencing and online meetings, and integrate into the company culture.
Remote work doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, a lonely job. Geographically dispersed employees should feel like they are part of the team. This will increase productivity and job satisfaction.
It’s easy to fire off an email every time a new idea comes along. But, when working with remote employees, video conferencing, phone calls, and even instant messaging could have more of an impact on bridging the gap with long distance colleagues. In addition to communication tools, there are several techniques that are effective for integrating remote staff into your company culture.
#1: Social Interaction
In the office, employees find multiple opportunities to get to know one another personally: at lunch, popping into an office to chat, and through company teambuilding activities. These social interactions allow employees to form personal connections based on something more than just work, and that leads to improved collaboration and a higher employee satisfaction rate.
Remote employees may not have casual encounters at the watercooler, but arranged interaction can take its place just as easily. Employers should encourage social interaction with remote workers. Whether it’s taking the time before or after meetings for informal conversation to learn about one another, or through “team lunches” in a conference room and using Skype to include remote staff to dine with them, making these small efforts can be the difference between working with colleagues and working among friends.
#2: Empower Employees
There’s a misnomer that remote employees are just there to do a job and have little input other than the task at hand. Remote employees are employees that are invested in the company and their role in it. Businesses can’t grow from stagnant employees. There needs to be ideas, communication, innovation, and collaboration. If you’re building a remote team (one employee at a time), it’s imperative that you treat this person as though they occupy the office next door. They too have opinions, expertise, and should contribute to the overall goals of an organization. Empower your remote employees to make decisions based on their skills and knowledge. Give them the opportunity to share and be heard.
#3: Growth Potential
As previously mentioned, even the smallest endeavor such as a platform to be heard or yielding the respect to contribute ideas to a meeting can show remote employees how important they are. And, if productivity increases and they excel, why not reward your remote staff with a raise or a promotion?
Just because telecommuting employees are not physically located in the office doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be compensated for hard work. Often, remote employees are looking for longevity in a position and want to grow within their company. Dead end employment results in decreased efficiency, low morale, and high turnover. To build a talented team, the growth potential needs to be there. Employees should feel like they are working towards a bigger goal and having a significant impact on the future of the company. Only then will remote staff become one of your biggest assets.
If you think outside of the box and embrace your telecommuter as an integral member of your staff, you will begin to recognize their value over their location. To learn more about the benefits of remote employees, contact Distant Job and find out how you can expand your departments while maintaining tight teams and a unique company culture.
Contact us to learn more about our unique global recruiting process and the advantages of hiring international remote employees.
It’s been great to see the response to this article from reader e-mails and in the social networks. Thank you so much for all the suggestions on more ways to make remote employees feel part of the team.
Remote work doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, a lonely job. Geographically dispersed employees should feel like they are part of the team. This will increase productivity and job satisfaction. As a result, they will stay with the company in the long run.
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