Top 3 Ways to Ensure Remote Working Benefits All Staff

Top 3 Ways to Ensure Remote Working Benefits All Staff

Remote working continues an upward trend, showing a 26% increase in 2014 with hiring managers predicting telecommuting will become even more prevalent over the next five years. While technology is constantly evolving to keep remote workers present through videoconferencing, instant messaging and comprehensive enterprise cloud communications platforms, my telecommuting experience over the past five years shows that remote working exchanges are most effective when business management and leadership facilitate and champions their integration.

It is not enough for just remote workers themselves to be comfortable using virtual communications tools and platforms, the entire company workforce must be encouraged to embrace virtual working styles in order to benefit from virtual exchanges. If you think of your last meeting where remote colleagues participated virtually, I’ll bet that team members sitting around the meeting table did a whole lot more talking than the people connected remotely. I’ll also bet that it’s usually the same person every time who logs in, accepts connection requests or somehow facilitates remote workers joining the meeting.

To ensure full participation and integration of virtual exchanges, three easily implemented steps will go a long way to ensure businesses are prepared to benefit from the growing telecommuting reality.

  1. Select Remote Tools and Enable Access

A wide variety of remote communications tools and technology offers great choice, but often means everyone has their own favorite. Companies need to identify which one or two telecommuting tools or platforms they will use (and verify levels of required security required), and then make sure everyone has access and an activated account. I’ve often heard in-house staff take a back seat from facilitating remote exchanges by saying “I don’t have an account on …”. While this gets someone off the hook from setting up the sometimes tedious pre-meeting log-ons, it also means they are out of the loop on any spontaneous follow-up meeting conversations or messaging taking place between meetings.

  1. Ensure All Staff Know The Basics

For companies to truly benefit from virtual exchanges, everyone first must be able to engage regularly and easily in remote exchanges. While millennials have embraced virtual platforms as a main communications stream, today’s widely diverse workforce means that not everyone may be as comfortable using virtual technology on a regular basis. Luckily virtual platforms usually have extensive ‘getting started’ resources that encourage learning-by-doing, but proactive companies have also implemented informal training through staff mentoring relationships or lunchtime drop-in sessions where experienced staff members provide tips and answer questions.

  1. Work Remotely!

As remote reworking is well on course to transform the traditional 9 to 5 office, businesses need to actively embrace the trend or risk being left behind. This means more than just editing a remote working policy. Managers and leaders must be seen actively participating through virtual platforms and tools in place. Until then, staff may hesitate to work virtually. As one recently hired multinational Marketing Manager commented, ‘Human Resources highlighted remote office possibilities when I interviewed, but no one actually takes home-office days in my team – so I wouldn’t dare.’ She was counting on a few home-office days a month to counter-balance an hour-long work commute. Without this prospect, she already has an eye out for a new job possibility where staff actually engage in remote working on a regular basis.

As working remotely is shown to equate to  happier, more productive and more loyal employees, businesses that actively select, enable and use virtual exchanges now will be best placed to benefit from the growing virtual office reality. To find our more about virtual working best practice or how to set up telecommuting opportunities for your company, contact us at Global Training Specialists for specific half day or full day virtual team training that responds to your specific needs and goals.

Elizabeth Douet is a certified trainer, coach and digital consultant active in intercultural initiatives and platforms that connect people on a global scale.

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