The world of work has changed since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic in March 2020, which forced companies to explore other options to keep the lights on.
Two years later, people have experienced working from their homes for the first time, and 59% of workers say they would be more likely to choose an employer who offers remote work. Employees also believe that they can achieve more productivity and maintain a good work-life balance while working remotely than they do on-site. As the world becomes a global village, talent hunting is now open to any geography where competent workers are. With this new reality, companies are exploring how to create a workplace that will fit the needs of the people that work for them.
While remote work has many advantages, you can lose the sense of structure and productive environment that an office provides, including organic interactions, informal communication, and sociability between teammates.
As a HR specialist in a remote team, your role now rests increasingly on fostering collaboration and success by caring for the team's needs.
Your new role is to ensure that people are productive and happy in their jobs, which can help the company achieve its goals.
You may need to adjust deadlines for remote workers to accommodate time differences and working schedules or pay to reflect the standard of living where they stay; it is also crucial to understand all societal and cultural differences between team members.
The HR department will also work with managers to improve processes related to compensation, benefits, training and development opportunities, job design, work-life balance programs, and employee scheduling systems/hiring policies/work hours. They also oversee employee satisfaction and conflict resolution between employees.
Tolulope Adeola, HR Lead at Bundle, has shared some insights on how to build company culture, motivation, engagement, and productivity in a fully remote team.
1. A culture of trust and transparency
When you set up a remote team, trust and transparency between all members are crucial to creating a uniform company culture and shared vision.
Trust is the foundation on which high-functioning teams can work together seamlessly. Transparency allows employees of the company to see what others are doing, which helps them better understand how their work fits into the bigger picture.
Monthly internal newsletters that capture highlights and lowlights, upcoming projects, training, and company news creates a culture where every member feels valued for their responsibilities and sees how their roles contribute to the company's goals.
2. Create clearly defined roles and responsibilities
To make sure that everyone knows what their job is, it's important to have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. This means that you need to define each person's job description in as much detail as possible, including their skills, abilities, and qualifications.
Once you've done this it's time for you to communicate the details of each position such as hours spent working on projects or specific tasks within those projects. You also want to make sure that everyone understands how much autonomy they should have within these roles so as not to overburden them with too many decisions or responsibilities.
3. Make sure everyone feels like they have a voice
It’s hard to be heard when everyone is miles apart. A lot of communication is lost in the absence of facial expressions and one-on-one contact.
A good way to make sure everyone feels like they have a voice is to create forums for opinions and feedback from the whole team. This will allow for open discussion about any topic, which means the people who aren’t directly involved in the decision-making process can still be heard. An example of this is feedback forms where employees can submit questions or comments anonymously, rather than having their ideas filtered through management or HR before being considered by those at higher levels. This allows all employees access to information regardless of who they work with or what department they belong to; it also encourages more diverse viewpoints because people feel comfortable speaking up without fearing consequences (e.g., being reprimanded).
4. Make sure you have a good process for onboarding new hires.
Onboarding is the process of integrating new hires into your team; it helps to ensure that their incorporation into the team is hassle-free. Communicating your values during this process ensures that you select the right people to join your team. A study found that the employees thoroughly engaged in their onboarding process are 69% more likely to continue with the company for a minimum of 3 years. While bad onboarding impacts employee morale and performance, leading to resignation.
As an ongoing process, onboarding answers questions from new hires and facilitates their fit with other employees. It creates a sense of belonging for new hires by pairing them with other coworkers who can show them the ropes and help them meet their team members.
5. Empower your employees for success
The digital age requires technological solutions achieved with the right technology. Equip employees with appropriate hardware, project management software, and real-time chat applications to make communication as easy as possible and increase productivity.
Institute for Employment Studies found that poor or inadequate equipment can reduce productivity. The easier it is for your team members to access relevant tools, share necessary files or brainstorm ideas, the more likely it is to collaborate and not work independently.
6. Engage the Team
While motivating and encouraging productivity, remember that your employees are still human. They have loved ones, celebrations, and bad days while working from home. Detecting these bad or good days will help build loyalty, avoid isolation, and prevent mental and emotional burnout.
Here are some ways you can keep remote employees engaged:
With a careful mix of human resources and remote working practices, you can create an environment that works for everyone. Your team will enjoy more time together and have lower stress levels. The benefits are clear: the productivity of your entire organization will increase; morale is up, and people feel valued as individuals. And with all those benefits comes a lot less pressure to get things done in the way that we’re conditioned to think about productivity.
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As an HR specialist in a remote team, your role rests on fostering collaboration and success by caring for the team's needs. You may need to adjust deadlines to accommodate time differences and working schedules or pay to reflect the standard of living of where your employees stay.
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