The movie, Office Space, is about a man who dislikes sitting at his desk everyday. When it came out in 1999, Peter Gibbons, the protagonist, worked here:
Like many employees in the ‘90s, he worked in an office, at a desk, with a desktop computer, and a landline. There was no freedom to move around, and he didn’t love it -- just watch the movie to understand. Today, Peter may have thrived. According to LogMeIn, ten years ago, the top three workspace complaints were: the stationary cubicle workspace, the set schedule of hours to be physically in the workplace, and that collaboration had to occur within the office. Today, however, 53% of 1,000 surveyed full-time employees say they access work from anywhere with the use of cloud-based apps and wifi, while 92% of businesses believe mobility is necessary for higher employee productivity and efficiency. Times are changing. Embrace your remote and field employees wholeheartedly, and get things running smoother than ever with these tips:
1.) Meet them in person
When you hire someone who will not be working in the office regularly, it is easy for them to feel disconnected from the company, or feel overwhelmed without knowledge of general operations and a jumping off point. On Mashable, Donna Wells of Mindflash.com notes the importance of starting off the relationship with a new employee in person. She suggests having the new field hire spend the first few days or week working from the office to get their bearings. Getting to know co-workers, bosses, and company culture will give remote employees a greater sense of belonging right off the bat, and a better understanding of how the company runs.
2.) Assess immediately
After training, don’t ease into things. Give your new remote employee a project and deadline right away, says Visually. This will allow you to assess their understanding of their role and how well they perform without direct supervision. Following your assessment, give them detailed feedback regarding areas in which they could improve, and more guides or training if necessary. Encourage them to ask you questions, and reach out to them regularly to ensure they feel comfortable contacting you.
3.) Give them what they need
The entire reason Peter in Office Space was confined to his desk was because the cloud-based, mobile technology didn’t exist to give him the freedom he wanted. Today, it does and if you’re going to enable a remote team, you need it! 61% of employees said that new technology has made them a rockstar at work. Storage, communication, data accumulation, and form completion are all things that can be streamlined in real-time and accessed anywhere to maximize a team’s productivity on-the-go. These tools also allow colleagues and managers to view the status of projects in real-time, allowing them to know when they will be completed and what still needs to be done, giving further visibility and organization.
4.) Foster a remote culture
If your company is mostly comprised of employees who work in the field and don’t check into the office daily, you want your company culture to be a remote one. In his article on Inc., Nick Francis of HelpScout notes that you have to choose a remote or office culture. Having both will not work. This is because the office workers will inevitably at some point have access to more information on customers than field employees, just from hearing talk around the office. Transparency, says Francis, is the most important aspect of creating a remote culture. This entails making sure all employees are privy to the same amount of information. To ensure transparency at HelpScout, they use multiple software solutions to keep everyone in touch and a part of a single, cohesive culture. Though they have an office in Boston, everyone is trained in all of the tech tools, and uses them as a means of communication, even when sitting a few feet away, to ensure updates are being shared across the company.
If you have a lot of employees that work remotely, or work in a business that requires employees making trips in the field, like sales, there are a lot of steps you can take to ensure you successfully integrate these employees into your team. Be sure to take advantage of new tools, and encourage a remote culture. Allowing people to get out of this office may help you avoid this:
Amanda McGuinness is a Content Marketing Journalist at Repsly. A social media expert and avid writer, she believes in creating fresh, creative content to build brand awareness.