Freya Cooper, FEI Account Manager

In today’s e-commerce and digital-based society, the number of remote workers is growing by leaps and bounds.

Remote workers save time, money and space for many businesses. On the employee side, remote work means less time commuting, greater flexibility and increased discipline and productivity.

Unfortunately, working remotely isn’t always easy. Employees who work remotely might feel left out and risk being misinterpreted. Also, employees who work in-office typically have more opportunities for advancement.

When a company finds the perfect employee and allows them to work from home, what can they do to help the employee feel appreciated, respected and supported?

Get to Know (Remote) Them

Just as you’d ask an in-office team member about their family, social life and hobbies, get to know your remote workers. Thorough onboarding and video conference calls can help bridge the gap between on-site and off-site team members.

Take Everyone’s Time into Consideration

Because they work remotely, time zones won’t always matter. When scheduling virtual meetings and video conferences, create a timeline that takes all relevant time zones into consideration versus automatically scheduling according to the time zone of the brick and mortar office.

Advocate for Frequent, Honest Communication and Feedback

Neither party can help the other if they don’t know how they need help. Screen sharing, instant messaging, regular constructive critiques and team meetings help establish a clear connection between locations. When employees know exactly what’s expected – what’s acceptable and what’s not – it eases the load all the way around.

Include Remote Workers in Employee Recognition Efforts

Don’t inadvertently leave remote workers out of the running for employee of the month, merit-based bonuses and rewards or opportunities for career growth. This kind of recognition increases morale and productivity.

Implement Ways to Track Performance and Benchmarks

When you can see your on-site staff working, but can’t see your off-site staff plugging away, it can create an imbalance in perception. Of course, you don’t want to create unrealistic demands on remote workers, but you do want to set standards and offer praise when standards, deadlines and goals are met.

In addition to the strategies above, one of the easiest ways to support remote workers is by remembering to value and respect their time. Start by not expecting them to put in more hours than their in-office peers, insisting they take coffee or lunch breaks and respecting their off hours. Establishing these practices will bring out the best of remote work for companies, managers and employees.

Interested in learning more about this topic? FEI Senior Account Manager Amy Haft, another off-site employee, has written about her experiences working from home and the beneficial impact of remote work on employee productivity, engagement and costs.