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What is Key to Successfully Working Remotely?

A mere decade ago, working remotely was so hip that there wasn’t a worker who would reject working from the comfort of his or her home. However, today’s labor market brought to the surface all the downsides of working remotely.

Today, HR departments are having a hard time organizing corporate events because employees don’t know each other personally, including their superiors. First, there would have to be a meetup for remote workers to meet each other before elaborate company events get planned.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that all the good sides of working remotely should be disregarded as there are a few key ways to turn remote work into a success story.

“Office hours” and availability

One of the biggest advantages of working remotely is flexible work hours. However, from the employer’s point of view, this seems like nothing but unreliability. With an offline office, workers have clear office hours from 9 to 5, but in the virtual world, workers merely have tasks and deadlines, not office hours.

One way to counter this problem is to introduce availability hours instead of office hours. This way, there will always be at least one remote employee on standby to tune in if necessary. Another solution is to hire more in-house staff, selecting candidates from the pool of trusted remote workers who are looking for a more permanent (and tangible) post.

Embrace all the communication channels

Modern technology is what made remote work so popular in the first place so you should stay up to date with the latest gizmos and apps. After all, high-tech inventions are all around us, in the street, in our homes, in the office, etc. Using conference calls is probably already part of your daily routine but you should give all the other novelties a shot, too.

Start with simple things, like creating a company Viber or WhatsApp chat, respectively, that you’ll use to communicate with remote workers. Furthermore, remote workers can organize themselves into a Facebook group and share experiences and info there. Just because they are not physically together, this doesn’t mean that workers cannot create virtual unions using the latest communication channels.

A virtual but a shared experience

There is probably nothing that can replace an informal chat in front of a water cooler at work. Remote workers are deprived of this and other small social benefits of working in a proper office environment, but there are still opportunities to interact with one another in the virtual world.

As the employer, you have the option to organize managed webinars in which remote workers would not only learn together but get a chance to bond as well. They have probably attended similar digital events in the past but your meetings will be different in the sense that they would use the video link to allow employees to leisurely chat afterward.

In fact, the best possible way to increase online social interaction among the remote workforce is to let them use work-related technology for the purpose of socializing. You already have the com channels, so why not make good use of them.

Putting a human face to remote work

One of the biggest dangers of communicating with remote workers is the fact that you rarely get to put a human face on them. They have those little profile images and you chat with them but at the end of the day, they are little more that task completers. You need to make them feel as if they are an integral part of your staff and not just a cog in the firm’s wheels.

This is achieved by the aforementioned formation of a virtual community where remote workers can get together. You can create an Instagram profile on their behalf where they would post snippets from their personal lives so everyone would know what they like to eat, do they have any pets, where have they traveled, etc. The more personal info they decide to share, the more can you be certain that they have blended in better in the company.

Organizing meetups

We’ve mentioned earlier that the most efficient method of socializing is tête-à-tête interaction. Don’t let workers organize their own meetup or run into each other in the street but facilitate in-person communication on company premises. Once the management and fellow colleagues connect a name to the image, the only logical result will be an improvement in communication.

Since remote workers have busy schedules having to balance personal and professional commandments (that’s probably the reason they went into remote work in the first place), organize several meetups a year. If there is a single meetup once a year, those who cannot make it will feel left out, especially if they are unable to attend several years in a row.

These meetups don’t necessarily have to be events on their own but you can tie them to a major annual conference. This way, you might be able to tap into some extra funds to cover the travel expenses of participants. Many of them come from afar so they’ll need help with finding accommodation and getting around town.

Let’s be clear about one thing: your company is not the only one using remote workers to complete tasks. However, with the advice listed here, you should be able to transform remote work from toiling away into a true 21st-century labor market invention!

Nick Brown

Nick is a blogger and a marketing expert currently engaged in projects for Media Gurus, an Australian business, and marketing resource. He is an aspiring street artist and does Audio/Video editing as a hobby.

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