Remote working feels like old news, but there are still businesses out there who are just coming onto the idea. You might even be a new start-up – one where the core team are all local and work together in-person – that’s now looking to expand the organisation, and the best way to do that seems to be by onboarding remote talent.
Implementing remote working can be done by any business, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it is as easy as hiring someone with a laptop and an internet connection – lots of businesses over the last two years discovered that it requires some careful planning and investment. For instance, TechQuarters, an IT company, have spent a lot of the last two years providing managed IT services London businesses have needed in order to set up their own remote work practices.
Below are some of the fundamental steps that you should start with when setting up remote work.
1. Build a Good Remote Onboarding Process
The onboarding process is the series of activities and sessions which help new employees in a business to know the organisation, their team, the tools and rituals that the company employs, and the overall culture. The different between traditional onboarding is that all of these activities will take place online.
A good remote onboard process should have a timeframe – for example, a two-week plan where all the meetings are scheduled, along with agendas for each session, and all the resources that the new hire will need for each session (and the resources they will need for daily work).
Another common element of a good onboarding process is establishing what the first 90 days will look like for the new hire.
Yet another very important element of the onboarding process – especially for remote workers – is introducing them to everyone in the organisation.
2. Offer Both Remote and Hybrid Work Options
If you’re an established business that is looking to introduce remote working, you should also ensure that you offer hybrid working.
While the last two years have confirmed that there are many people out there who would prefer to work from home full-time, and have become much more productive while working from home, there are others who are more productive in the office; and there are others who would like to be able to work from home, but not all the time.
If there is one thing that we have learned from the last two years, it’s that businesses should not be prescriptive with where their employees work – if you give them the option to work where they would prefer, they will be happier and more productive.
3. Embrace Flexible Working
Just like with the previous point, it is very important for businesses to have flexibility with how their workforce operates. For example, some businesses might have employees in different time zones, and this should be accommodated.
People often make the mistake of thinking that flexibility is synonymous with lenience – for instance, letting it slide if an employee starts late or finishes early, etc. This is far from the truth, in fact, flexibility means giving employees the chance to describe how they work best, and then giving them the chance to deliver against that.
If you have an employee that prefers to work 6 – 2 everyday, instead of 9 – 5, and that is how they are most productive, then this should be made possible – and, of course, the employee should be held to those hours in the same way that the average employee is held to the standard 9 – 5 hours.
4. vInvest in the Right Tools for Hybrid & Remote Work
Of course, it needs to be acknowledged that implementing remote and hybrid work means that a business has to invest in certain recourses – equipment, software, and digital services.
Technology for remote and hybrid work largely comes down to bridging gaps. For instance, to bridge the gap left by not having face-to-face communications, a business must invest in a unified communications solutions – such as Slack, or Microsoft Teams; as well as ensuring all employees and colleagues have appropriate videoconferencing equipment (i.e. webcams, microphones.)
Other useful investments might be productivity tools such as team calendars, task management software, and digital team workspaces.