We are all going through one of the biggest transformations in recent memory. While your business is transforming, your employees have been playing catch-up. As a business owner, there are things you need to do for your employees. It is up to you to provide the necessary tools and processes for a successful switch to remote working.
It is a new set of challenges to effectively onboard remote workers. Without proper planning, this transition will inevitably cost you talent and productivity. That is the worst-case scenario in today’s climate. If you want to retain your best talents even as you transition to remote working, it is critical that you relook at what you are doing for them today.
The most common complaint about remote workers is loneliness. Remote workers tend to feel isolated. In an office environment, your staff will meet their colleagues. There are also common areas that promote relationship building, from the watercooler to the pantry. This disappears when you move into a remote environment. It is important for you to find new ways to remind your staff of their part in the team. Proactively encourage staff to keep in touch. It is not a given that they will be communicating outside of work. Some of them might need that extra push. You can also consider setting up “watercooler” channels in Slack or Zoom, where members can talk about anything other than work. Another great app we just came across is Donut, which pairs up your employees for private lunch interactions. This helps everyone make one new friend a day, especially if you run a big team.
The work processes that you have set up post-COVID19 is new. As such, it is inevitable that things will slip through the cracks. This is problematic for remote workers as they can’t just walk down the hall and ask for help. We must also be cognizant of the struggles some older employees might face with technology. If you do not properly set them up and guide them through the new software you will be implementing, they might spend hours figuring it out instead of doing productive work. Moreover, their frustration will spill, and this could make them feel helpless, forgotten, and unimportant. Therefore, it is worth your time to come up with a guide for remote workers. Platforms like Customerly allows you to build a knowledge base, which will be helpful for troubleshooting any issues your employees might face. Another activity you might want to implement is Lunch and Learns. During these lunchtime conferences, teach relatable topics such as remote working tips or general wellness. You should also consider having a support scheme for staff who might need special equipment to complete their home office set-up.
Another effective way to make sure employees get the support they need is through a buddy system. Compared to a mentor or manager, the role of a buddy is far less formal. They will be able to provide guidance as well as share any struggles they might be facing with the switch to a remote. Some will be better than others in separating work from home life, and these are all valuable advice they can build and pass on. Of course, be smart about your partnering. Equip the less experienced with your better talents. This way, they will be able to advise and hype each other up, rather than sink together.
Switching to remote work might be a tough decision, but remember that your staff didn’t have a choice to weigh take part in this decision. That is why it is important for you to make sure the transition is smooth, so they don’t feel begrudged. Help them be productive by meeting the unique needs and challenges of remote working.