Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Managing Remote Employees: HR Solutions for the Digital Age

Remote work is not a new concept.

This employment format was practiced by organizations long before the pandemic; however, it was practiced on a completely different scale. What was considered a perk a few years before was massively introduced as a temporary safety solution for millions of workers worldwide. This tendency was kept after the pandemic. Over 36% of Americans are expected to telework by the end of 2025, which equals 22% of the country's workforce. And the figures for a hybrid model are even higher. This new shift brings a lot of new trials for both employees and HR specialists. The latter must entirely change their management strategies. Let’s discover what solutions can help.

Remote work challenges for HR

The rise of new work formats has undeniably transformed the traditional employment setup, but it also presents many headaches for HR departments. Here's a closer look at some of the most pressing issues.

  • Maintaining company culture. Building a strong company culture is crucial for employee engagement and retention. However, this is a difficult task when employees are physically separated.
  • Communication and collaboration. Successful teams actively communicate and collaborate. However, with remote work, ensuring clear and consistent communication across different time zones can be a hurdle.
  • Performance management. Traditionally, performance is measured by physical presence and activity in the office. Now, HR needs to develop new methods to effectively evaluate and track the performance of remote personnel.
  • Employee well-being. Working from home is often accompanied by isolation and overlap of work and personal life. HR must promote healthy work habits and offer support mechanisms to combat these issues.
  • Compliance and security. Remote work environments introduce new risks for sensitive data. Implementation of the best practices for data security and information sharing is crucial to prevent breaches and maintain compliance with regulations.

In response, HR departments are seeking new, effective strategies to create a remote work environment in which both employees and the organization thrive.

Best practices for managing remote employees.

It may seem unrealistic to keep employees accountable when they are not in the office. However, there are powerful tactics that enable employers to support collaboration and build bonds within a remote team.

Set clear expectations

A clear-cut remote work policy is a must-have for employees to know their obligations. These policies should be customized to suit the unique needs of your company, industry, and individual roles. Usually, you should specify:

  • Work hours
  • Productivity guidelines
  • Compliance norms
  • Compensation and benefits

Clarify roles, responsibilities, and performance expectations from the start. Get employees acquainted with clear guidelines on project timelines, deliverables, and quality standards.

Establish regular communication. 

Regular communication is one of the success factors that helps remote workers stay connected and informed. Schedule weekly team meetings to discuss priorities, share updates, and address any challenges. Do not rely solely on emails,  consider implementing a DMARC solutions for enhanced security and protection against email fraud.". Use a mix of communication channels like instant messaging for quick information exchange, video conferencing for brainstorming sessions, and free project management softwares and platforms for task tracking and collaboration. Do not forget to provide regular constructive feedback through video calls, performance reviews, and online feedback tools.

Track and measure performance. 

Many employees tend to monitor remote team activity levels. However, tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) is more effective. Implement performance tracking systems and metrics to monitor the productivity of remote employees. This software can cope with different tasks: check time spent on tasks, monitor internet and app usage, analyze work patterns and provide analytical data. Set measurable goals and objectives for each team member and track progress regularly. This approach will also allow you to discover the weak areas and improve them.

Provide the right tools and technology. 

Remote employees must have access to the necessary tools and technology to perform their jobs effectively. Provide access to communication and collaboration platforms, project management tools, and virtual meeting software, this is also known as non-immersive virtual reality from many types of virtual reality. Choose tools that are intuitive and easy to use to minimize technical difficulties and frustration. If necessary, provide training on software used within your organization for seamless adoption. Besides, ensure everyone in your team has a reliable internet connection and technical support when needed. This approach guarantees hassle-free collaboration.

Ensure security and data privacy. 

Working online can be a threat to company information and personal details. Thus, you must implement clear policies on how you handle all these data. Use secure VPNs and authentication protocols to safeguard remote access to company systems and networks. Train employees on cybersecurity best practices, such as strong password management and identifying phishing attempts. Do not underestimate the importance of investing in encryption tools and data security software to safeguard sensitive company information.

Encourage self-management. 

Cultivate trust with your employees and allow them to manage their workload and prioritize tasks. Let your employees make informed decisions within their area of responsibility as long as they achieve the goals. When employees are allowed to manage their workload individually, they tend to be more focused and productive. Self-management provides greater schedule flexibility and leads to a better work-life balance for remote teams.

Offer training and development. 

A company’s success greatly depends on the qualifications of the employees. Their skill level partially depends on the employer. So, invest in ongoing training and development opportunities to enhance your employees’ capabilities. Provide access to online courses, workshops, team-building activities, and certifications relevant to their roles and career expectations. Learning experience platforms empower employees to take charge of their training and development journey. When you allow your people to grow, they will repay you with better productivity and creative ideas. Consequently, it will positively impact the company's performance.

Promote work-life balance.

Remote work does not mean constant availability. Encourage employees to set clear boundaries and communicate their work hours. Respect their designated "off-time" and avoid scheduling meetings or sending emails outside of those hours. Promote breaks throughout the day, offer days off to disconnect from work and prevent burnout. A flexible schedule allows employees to address personal needs without feeling pressured to work while unwell or neglecting family responsibilities.

These are only a few initiatives to implement into your remote work setup to manage your employees more effectively and encourage them to successfully handle projects. Remember that remote work does not mean it is cheap – decent rewards and incentives will stimulate and retain your workforce. Furthermore, it is not enough to provide only tools and policies – be ready to offer enough support and let your employees feel valued. Only such a comprehensive approach will allow you to build a productive remote team and celebrate your company’s success together.