Work from Home 101: An Employer’s Guide to Effectively Communicate with Remote Employees
Working from home has become increasingly popular. As more people invent new apps and tools to help employers effectively monitor work productivity, companies are finding it easier to implement flexible work arrangements, including working from home.
Remote work helps employees save time and money on commuting and allowance. It also helps employers save money on office equipment, office rent, utility bills, and other overhead expenses.
But communicating with your employees on a remote work arrangement can be challenging. Clear communication is crucial to help you effectively manage a remote team and boost your employees’ productivity even without face-to-face supervision.
Not sure where to start? We list down 7 tips to help you effectively communicate with your remote employees.
Tip #1: Establish a work-from-home policy
You need to set rules that your remote employees must comply with. As an example, they can include the following:
- Must submit daily time logs
- Emails and calls must be responded to in less than 10 minutes
- Must submit accomplishment report by the end of the day
Tip #2: Communicate deliberately
Don’t wait for an employee to speak up to raise a problem. Communicate with them frequently to ask for updates on what they’re working on and offer recommendations when you see fit. This will help them accomplish the job faster and move on to other tasks.
Tip #3: Choose the right communication tools
Strive to make communication more transparent and organized. Match the technology with the task to avoid errors and delays. For direct messaging, group messaging, and voice and videoconferencing, you can use apps like Skype and Zoom. For file sharing, you can use Slack and Google Drive. For work progress monitoring, you can use HiveDesk or TimeDoctor.
Tip #4: Allow employees to work in sprints
With no face-to-face supervision, remote employees are prone to many distractions. To avoid progress delays, you can allow them to work in sprints, which means giving them a specific time (at least an hour) to finish a task before taking a break. This way, they will be motivated to focus on the task within the allotted time.
Tip #5: Help employees figure out their remote work style
To help your remote employees become more productive, you can help them figure out their remote work style. If an employee finds it difficult to follow instructions with no virtual interactions, you can schedule videoconferencing when you assign tasks to them. If an employee is easily distracted, you can give them periodic 5-minute breaks to help them focus on work.
Tip #6: Monitor progress regularly
Maximize the power of technology to monitor work progress regularly without constantly bombarding your employees with messages asking for updates. You can use apps like HiveDesk and TimeDoctor. Both apps include features such as time tracking, task management, application usage monitoring, and screenshot monitoring. When excessive amounts of time are being spent on browsing personal stuff online, these apps will automatically nudge the employee to check if they are still working.
Tip #7: Give examples of how you want tasks to be completed
You can help an employee get the work done faster by showing how you would accomplish the task if it was assigned to you. Explain to them your expectations of what the output will look like so they will not waste time thinking if they are doing the right thing or not.
Make Remote Work an Ideal Work Arrangement
Working from home can be difficult. Especially if your team is new to the arrangement. They can have trouble working in isolation and be prone to many distractions. But if you provide them the right tools to work with and communicate with them effectively, it can be a rewarding work arrangement that will help you be more productive as a team and achieve work-life balance.