21 Ways to Improve Remote Work For Your Employees in 2021
2020 was quite the year and it introduced many unique challenges that continue to shape our world. Of these challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic is by far having one of the greatest impacts on our lives. Since the virus first appeared, many industries have experienced a significant shift in how they work. Both companies and schools have been forced to dive headfirst into remote working.
With the number of cases still rising, it’s likely that remote work will become a staple even going into 2021. Therefore, it’s incredibly important that you start strengthening your organization’s remote work infrastructure right now. Otherwise, you won’t succeed in the long term. We recognize that it can be very difficult to know where to start. Hence, we have compiled a list of tips on how make your organization more remote work friendly for 2021.
1. Ensure Your Employees Have the Right Set Up
In order to succeed as a remote team, the right set up is absolutely key! Ensuring that all of your employees have the required tools will mean that they’ll be able to do their jobs properly. For example, without adequate webcams, it’s highly unlikely your employees will be able to attend virtual meetings. Check that everyone has the right equipment and consider loaning some to employees who don’t.
2. Use Screen Sharing Software
Often overlooked, screen sharing software is a must-have for any remote worker. In a traditional office, employees can simply show their screens to co-workers, in order to collaborate or troubleshoot issues. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible for remote teams. However, screen sharing software addresses this problem by allowing co-workers to see what is happening on each others devices. Thus, the hassle of constantly emailing documents back and forth, and worrying about compatibility issues is eliminated. In a similar vein, it also becomes much easier to rectify technical issues.
3. Use Collaborative Platforms
Collaboration is a staple for any team and remote ones are no different. By using collaborative solutions, your team won’t need to download and share millions of copies of the same document. Furthermore, working on a collaborative platform means that everyone has access to the most recent version of all work.
4. Streamline Your Systems
While it’s important to have the right software, make sure not to accrue too much. If team interactions are scattered across multiple platforms, it’s much easier for information and deadlines to fall into cracks. Not only that, trying to become accustomed to a whole host of different platforms can be quite cumbersome. Condensing your solutions into just a few tools will save your workers time and improve their workflow. To do this, first outline your current systems. Once you have mapped them out, ask for employee input so you can eliminate any redundancies. Now, you should be left with a silky smooth workflow.
5. Make Roles and Responsibilities Clear
Before the onset of any major projects, outline exactly who is responsible for what. Not only will this increase accountability, but it will also ensure that nobody is stepping on anyone else’s toes. Moreover, by knowing what they need to accomplish, your employees will be able to perform the most appropriate actions. Most importantly, it ensures that nothing will be forgotten and thus everything gets completed.
6. Establish a Clear Work Schedule
By providing structure, you encourage your employees to complete their work on time. Similarly to how office hours operate, schedules remind employees that they have a set amount of time to complete their tasks. This motivates them and so work gets done more efficiently. When you are working against a deadline, that is crucial. On top of that, work schedules help employees preserve their work-life balance.
7. Develop Processes
Unlike remote teams, office-based workers can peek over shoulders and talk face to face. This serves to standardize work between them. So while you can get away with having no processes in the office, this won’t work for remote teams. As everyone is scattered about, it’s easy for people to get caught up in their own little bubbles. Creating standard processes for doing things will eliminate potential mistakes by clarifying what needs to be done. In addition to that, it will ensure consistency as everyone will be working to the same standard.
8. Live Caption Zoom Meetings
In light of recent social distancing measures, Zoom has become an increasingly important source of information for many employees. From daily calls to weekly meetings, huge amounts of information pass through it. Therefore, it’s vital that all your employees are able to properly access these meetings. Live captioning will make them accessible for your deaf and hard-of-hearing employees. Furthermore, adding live captions to your Zoom meetings will drastically increase engagement. If your employees retain what you tell them, they won’t waste time messaging others for clarification further down the line. Moreover, they won’t make mistakes that need to be rectified later on. Consequently, live captioning your Zoom meetings will ensure work gets done faster and to a higher standard.
9. Encourage Dedicated Workspaces
Having a dedicated workspace will free employees from the distractions of home life. Lockdowns have forced many children to stay home from school. With this in mind, encouraging a separate space will keep employees from getting distracted and fosters a work-ready mentality. As a result, your employees will be much more productive which ensures all deadlines are kept. In addition to that, dedicated spaces also help enforce the work-life balance, thus improving everyone’s wellbeing.
10. Onboard the Right People
As your team grows, there are certain qualities you should look for when onboarding new employees. After all, the perfect office worker isn’t necessarily the best remote worker. Someone who is both independent and self-motivated will be able to better manage their time. Working remotely also requires extensive communication skills as everyone needs to know how their workflows will mesh. Therefore, it’s important that you search for these traits in new hires.
11. Caption Your Training Videos
Remote workers won’t have the ability to look over a co-worker’s shoulder or ask questions. As a result, a significant portion of what they need to learn will come from training videos. Accordingly, it’s important that you make them accessible to your deaf and hard-of-hearing employees by adding captions. Additionally, captions will improve employee engagement and understanding. Thus, employees will be better equipped to do their jobs to the highest standard.
12. Track How Employees Spend Their Time
Without being able to see your employees, it’s difficult to see what exactly they’re working on and for how long. Knowing how much time your employees spend on projects is important for both billing and management. Implementing automatic time tracking is a great way to address this issue. Furthermore, it also serves to increase employee accountability. Unless employees are aware of how much time they are wasting, they likely won’t be working very productively. Making them aware of how they use their time means that they’ll get back to work quicker.
13. Establish Communication Channels
Tidy internal communication allows team members to properly delegate activities among themselves and makes the team efficient. Hence, it’s important that everyone knows which communication channels should be used and when. For example, you could establish that: emails are for team-wide announcements and instant messaging is for time sensitive requests. Doing this will ensure that important messages are never glossed over accidently.
14. Encourage Staff to Socialize
Normally, there is plenty of time to socialize in traditional workplaces. Apart from the obvious breaks, there are also deskside chats and snatches of gossip around the water cooler. All of this helps to build a sense of camaraderie that aides in communication and thus productivity. Create a communication channel dedicated to non-work related chat. By doing this, you’ll emphasis how important it is for your team to connect as people and not just co-workers.
15. Transcribe All Meetings, Briefs and Calls
Transcribing your material will result in greater participation from team members, as they won’t have to worry about missing anything. Even if they don’t pick up on something, the transcripts will be there for them to consult! As a result, the team will be able to get more out of meetings which will be reflected in everyone’s work. And that’s not all. Due to the textual nature of transcripts, they are indexable and so can be searched for. This will allow employees to find relevant information much more quickly.
16. Train Staff for Remote Working
Despite the increasing popularity of remote work, it’s entirely possibly that some of your employees have little experience with it. As such, the shift from work to home may be a little stressful for them. Training helps alleviate this stress by making employees more confident. Although your employees may already be working from home, it’s never too late to train them. Ensure that all staff can use your online solutions, understand remote communication etiquette and how to file their work. This will make working much easier and ensures everyone can complete their projects. When planning remote training, make it all available in one place and continuously monitor employee progress.
17. Be Flexible
Although a clear schedule is important, don’t fall into the trap of creating overly ridged plans. Many of your employees are likely dealing with children being at home full-time. In some cases, they may even be dealing with different time zones. Loud children or super late times can make it difficult for employees to get into a working headspace. By allowing flexibility, workers can perform their tasks in more ideal conditions and thus to a better standard.
18. Subtitle Videos for ESL Employees
One result of remote working, is a diversification of the employee pool. As a result, not everyone at the company will necessarily speak English as a first language. Despite this, it’s still important for everyone to be able to understand any material disseminated. Otherwise, some may miss out on crucial information which could prevent them from successfully completing their tasks. Rather than remaking or dubbing the material, you should add subtitles. Not only is this cheaper and faster, it also has the added benefits of increased retention and understanding.
19. Check In Regularly
Regular check-ins are a great way to assess progress. They also give you the opportunity to address any issues before they seriously hinder projects. Additionally, it also makes sure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. Furthermore, check-ins present a chance to provide guidance. Without them, you risk projects becoming derailed.
20. Foster Employee Wellbeing
Due to reduced social interaction, remote working can lead to loneliness and social isolation. Hence, you should endeavour to provide emotional support to the entire team. Ask everyone how they are coping and advocate for them to exercise and lead healthy lives. Only employees who are emotionally healthy will be able to reach their full potentials.
21. Encourage Employees to Give You Feedback
Perhaps the best way to ensure you have a robust remote working infrastructure is to ask for feedback. Ultimately, few people will use the tools as much as your employees. Asking for feedback makes your team feel heard and also helps identify any issues with your systems. As a result, you’ll be able to remove unnecessary tools and implement much needed ones, thereby optimizing everything.
COVID-19 has necessitated the shift of work from offices into homes and this is likely to be the case for a while. With many not knowing when things will return back to normal, it’s incredibly important to implement the best practices now. Our tips should give you an idea of where to start but even then it can still be a little overwhelming. Adding captions and other accessibility features is a great first step for any remote organization. It doesn’t even have to be difficult. At Rev, you can swiftly get accurate and well-formatted captions from only $1.50/minute.
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