Flexible working has become common practice in many businesses these days, and as much as it may suit both the employee and employer for people to work remotely from home, it is important to remember that just because you can’t see them they are part of the team.
Often remote workers can feel isolated and undervalued in comparison to their on-site colleagues and not as involved in decision making processes. Feelings of underappreciation will only lead to morale issues, which in turn lead to problems with productivity which can cause issues down the line with staff retention.
The solution is quite simple and one which we always strive to be the best at – communication. Everyone knows that communication between colleagues is key to a successful team. Being involved in a discussion or just simply being informed of decisions gives a sense of inclusion and develops a stronger team bond.
We’re not suggesting you harass your remote workers every hour of the day to check they’re ok, otherwise they will start to get a sense that you don’t trust them to do the job, simply make sure that you have a regular time to discuss any workloads, issues, business developments etc. whether it be daily or weekly. Be sure to have regular face-to-face meetings in the office as well to maintain a feeling of ‘team’.
Some remote workers may keep strange hours, be available at different times of the day in order to maintain communication levels with them. Making this effort to be there for them will show that you value them just as much as the office-based employee.
THE IMPORTANT CULTURE
Even though they aren’t present in the office make sure they are still a part of the culture. Be sure to include them in any recognition/awards events and invite them to company socials. Being engaged with the company will make them feel more included and a part of a team.