The definition of what is considered “normal” about our current work environment has undergone a major shift. While working remotely was once an option offered by many companies to provide a flexible lifestyle to their workers, it is now a necessity due to the pandemic. These new dynamics require new skills and as a leader, you must know how to empower your workers when the office can literally be anywhere.
The ideal remote work environment and infrastructure is one in which your workers still feel empowered to execute their job just as well as they could if they were in the office – or even better. They should have the assurance that no matter where they are in the world, or what time they are working, their efforts align with your mission and objectives and that they remain a critical component of your company’s success.
However, empowering your remote workers and ensuring that the business is operating as smoothly as possible does not just happen without forethought. It requires the right processes, technology and work culture. Consider using the following tips for helping ensure that your remote workforce set up for success.
Establish a Clear Path with Deadlines and Expectations
In order for them to thrive and grow, it is important that remote workers understand exactly what outcomes are expected of them and when. Not only does this help prioritize tasks and projects, but it also helps to establish clear boundaries between employees’ lives and work. They can balance their workloads in a manner that helps them increase their productivity while maximizing the flexibility that remote working provides.
It is critical that these outcomes are measurable, allowing your employees to gauge their progress for themselves. This is not about controlling the people who work remotely. They should be encouraged to communicate freely, make their own decisions, and offer and implement new ideas. It is about providing clarity on what success looks like and then supporting their efforts.
Create a Culture of Worker Recognition
Dedicating time to recognize the individual successes and group achievements of your remote workers is a positive reinforcement that humanizes both leadership and employees in the job that they do and demonstrates the measurable impact they have on the company. In a distributed environment, without the hallway high five or celebratory happy hour, leaders must be more intentional and proactive with team recognition.
How important is worker recognition? It helps to drive employee engagement, and therefore productivity. Showing your remote workers that they are appreciated also cultivates an atmosphere of trust within the workforce force and a stronger connection to leadership. People want to be able to see their future in the enterprise in which they work.
Communicate Frequently and Listen
There should be regular meetings between you and your remote workers in which you solicit opinions and actively listen to what they have to say. For most remote workers, phone or virtual meetings are more feasible than in-person, face-to-face meetings. Providing your remote workers the opportunity to communicate their thoughts is a simple gesture that can encourage them to become even more invested in the work they are doing. Leaders should always remember to make time to check-in on their teams on a personal level – in staff meetings and 1:1s.
Invest in the Right Tools
A remote workforce is a digital, mobile workforce, and it can only be effective when it has the right tools. Technology does not create the ideal remote working environment all by itself, but it is impossible to create that environment without it. As with all technology, it is how you use it that will ultimately determine your success. Your business should invest in the tools that can ensure that your remote workers can stay connected, remotely access servers, manage projects, stay informed and communicate with co-workers and leadership in real time no matter where they are – all without compromising security.
The technology you use to build your remote workforce infrastructure should help remote workers feel as if they can accomplish anything at home as easily as they could in the office. For example, LogMeIn provides multiplatform solutions that facilitate collaboration and communication, support worker engagement and enable secure remote access and support, helping you place the office wherever your remote workers are. Whether they are using a smartphone, desktop or tablet and need to move files, they can use Rescue Remote Support to troubleshoot a customer’s computer or reboot another device. LogMeIn also provides products that facilitate impromptu, hassle-free communications, like those periodic virtual meetings, helping workers to feel less isolated and making sure that they unified in advancing the goals and values of your business.
Trust Your Employees
While enabling your remote workers to keep track of what they are working on and engaging in regular communication with them is expected, it is important that you avoid micromanaging them. You should create space for your workers to work autonomously and test new ideas and approaches.
Of course, it is necessary that you provide direction when you have to assign new job duties, onboard a new employee or respond to an employee’s request for feedback, etc., but you should generally allow your workers to have control over their workspace environment. The more control your workers can have, the more driven they will be to succeed. Also, if they perceive that you trust them to do their job correctly, they are more likely to be more loyal, engaged, motivated and mentally fit.
Empower Remote Employees for a Better Workforce
At LogMeIn, we understand that enterprise leaders have to deliberate about the remote employee experience. Remote work is constantly changing the way people conduct work and how they work together, and empowering your employees is essential to making it viable part of your enterprise that fosters success. Providing your remote workforce with the technology, policies and support it needs to work from anywhere will contribute to your workers being more innovative and productive.