What Strategies Help HR Professionals Support Remote Workers?


    What Strategies Help HR Professionals Support Remote Workers?

    In the age of remote work, adapting employee relations strategies has been crucial for maintaining team cohesion and productivity. From a CEO's tactic of implementing project-specific Slack channels to additional answers including employing suitable remote performance metrics, industry leaders and experts weigh in on effective strategies. This article explores a range of innovative approaches that have proven successful in nurturing remote work environments.

    • Implement Project-Specific Slack Channels
    • Utilize Collaborative Tech for Engagement
    • Engage with Virtual Conversation Cards
    • Adopt Flexible Remote Work Hours
    • Offer Online Professional Development
    • Establish Clear Communication Channels
    • Provide Virtual Wellness Resources
    • Employ Suitable Remote Performance Metrics

    Implement Project-Specific Slack Channels

    An increase in remote workers can lead to more micromanagement, whether intentionally or not. I never wanted to be one of those bosses checking in daily, but it was hard to avoid. I just didn't always know what was going on—a nightmare for any Type A personality.

    The result, though, was a smothered team and heavily burdened management. No one was winning.

    Once I switched to a dedicated Slack channel for each contract and project, things got way better. People are more likely to update their status when they can do so on the computer, and I found I didn't need much when it was solidified and saved: a single-line check-in was more than enough.

    Really, what I needed was that visual reminder that everyone was working on the task at hand. Fewer phone calls and emails let everyone get back to it.

    Rob Reeves
    Rob ReevesCEO and President, Redfish Technology

    Utilize Collaborative Tech for Engagement

    Leveraging technology to share and collaborate was key to preserving productivity and culture in accommodating our remote workers. Employees who were on-site needed to be able to interact with employees working remotely, and vice versa, not only for productivity and task completion but also to build relationships and maintain engagement. We actively utilized chat and meeting software such as Zoom and Teams to ensure our remote employees could be part of the on-site meetings and leveraged both free and proprietary software that allowed for collaboration on documents (examples include Microsoft Forms and Google Docs).

    A specific example of how we kept our remote workers engaged and included in workplace culture was setting up team meetings and one-on-one meetings that built specific time in for personal wins and open dialogue about non-work-related topics. The company also allowed for various chat groups to be built in Teams or Zoom so employees could share memes and GIFs (work-appropriate) and have personal chats about their interests just as if they were around the proverbial water cooler.

    For anyone wanting to preserve remote work options, I recommend utilizing software that allows for personal connection and also carving out time from calendars with those on-site to ensure remote workers are being included and engaged.

    Heather Kerr
    Heather KerrHuman Resources Manager

    Engage with Virtual Conversation Cards

    To accommodate remote workers, I tailored my employee relations strategy by implementing consistent and engaging connection activities aimed at fostering relationships and collaboration among team members. One specific tactic that proved effective was the use of Conversation Cards during our virtual meetings.

    These high-quality, colorful cards featured thought-provoking questions designed to spark meaningful conversations among team members. By incorporating these cards into our weekly meetings, we provided a structured yet enjoyable platform for remote employees to share personal insights, experiences, and interests with their colleagues.

    Additionally, I facilitated breakout group discussions to ensure that everyone had the opportunity to participate and interact with different team members regularly. This tactic not only strengthened relationships among remote workers but also promoted a sense of belonging and camaraderie within the team.

    By consistently incorporating interactive and relevant connection activities into our remote meetings, we were able to overcome the challenges of distance and isolation, ultimately enhancing morale, collaboration, and productivity among our remote workforce at Careers in Government.

    Michael Hurwitz
    Michael HurwitzCEO and Co-Founder, Careers in Government

    Adopt Flexible Remote Work Hours

    Human resources managers can contribute greatly to the success of remote teams by adopting flexible work hours. Recognizing that employees may reside in various time zones can alleviate pressure and enhance productivity for workers who aren’t confined to traditional 9-to-5 schedules. A flexible system can accommodate personal obligations and reduce burnout, leading to higher job satisfaction among remote staff.

    This approach acknowledges the unique challenges that come with remote work. To better support your remote employees, consider evaluating your team’s scheduling needs and introducing greater flexibility in work hours.

    Offer Online Professional Development

    One key strategy for human resources managers is to provide online professional development and training opportunities for remote employees. Access to career growth pathways ensures that remote workers feel valued and invested in. This could also lead to increased employee retention as staff feel they are able to advance their skills and careers without needing to seek opportunities elsewhere.

    Training can be delivered through webinars, e-courses, or virtual workshops, thus accommodating the remote work environment. As a human resources manager, start exploring online training programs that could benefit your remote workforce today.

    Establish Clear Communication Channels

    To effectively support remote workers, establishing consistent and clear communication channels is essential. Doing so will help ensure that all team members remain informed and feel connected despite the physical distances. Regular updates, scheduled check-ins, and accessible contact points can foster a sense of community and collaboration.

    These efforts can minimize misunderstandings and bolster team morale. Human resources managers should prioritize setting up and maintaining reliable communication methods to bridge any potential gaps among remote workers.

    Provide Virtual Wellness Resources

    Human resources managers play a pivotal role in promoting the well-being of remote employees by offering virtual wellness and mental health resources. With the potential for isolation that remote work brings, it is crucial to have support systems in place. Providing access to online counseling, stress management workshops, or virtual social activities can help maintain employee morale.

    Encouraging a culture that values mental health can lead to a more vibrant and productive workforce. Make the well-being of your team a priority and explore the variety of virtual wellness resources available.

    Employ Suitable Remote Performance Metrics

    It is imperative for human resources managers to employ performance metrics that are suited for remote work environments. Traditional office-based evaluations may not translate well to the remote context, where employees have different challenges and resources. By measuring outputs and outcomes rather than just hours worked, managers can get a better understanding of an individual's productivity and contributions.

    Adjusting expectations and metrics to fit remote work realities can lead to fairer assessments and more motivated employees. Assess your current performance metrics and consider how they can be adapted to better fit remote working arrangements.