Organizations in nearly every industry are exploring ways to add remote work options as part of their workflow. Some are hiring remote employees. Others are offering current employees a chance to work remotely exclusively or just a few times a week.
Pairing Remote and Onsite Workers
There are a lot of positives that come with remote work, both for employers and employees:
- Working remotely can boost productivity, create greater employee engagement, and maximize the talents of workers.
- Some organizations see remote work options as a way to help them build a more agile workforce.
- For others, working remotely is an enticing perk to offer in the candidate-driven hiring environment, especially when job seekers and employees appreciate having more control over commuting, and choices related to where they work.
Still, before hiring remote workers, or adding remote work options as an employee perk, it’s essential to build a plan that takes the needs of remote and onsite workers into consideration.
Below, we’ll discuss some of the pitfalls you’ll want to avoid, and offer three tips on how to ensure that remote and onsite workers can successfully collaborate.
Plenty of organizations are looking for ways to increase workforce agility. That includes hiring remote workers. Remote work options can also help enhance the employee experience. Read our recent report, “The Employee Experience,” and find other ideas that can help create a more engaged workforce.
Building Teams with Remote Workers
Remote workers can make excellent contributors on just about any team. Many remote workers are self-motivated and highly organized, traits than can lead to positive outcomes across workgroups, departments, and projects.
At the same time, you still want to be sure that remote workers can mesh their work style with the needs of your onsite teams. Consider:
- Employee workgroups can play key roles in how your organization functions. However, some workgroups thrive because members work in close proximity to one another. Can your remote workers engage in groups where team members succeed in part because they work in the same space?
In short, creating synergies between employees who work in different locations, or different time zones, can be a challenge. Here are three tips that can help strengthen the links between onsite and remote workers:
1. Determine how to balance different time zones
As we mentioned above, remote workers may be located in a different time zone. To maximize the way that remote and onsite workers pair up, it’s important to strike a balance that includes consistent business practices. Otherwise, you could create an atmosphere that leads to frustration.
- Consider organizing a system where communication and collaboration spike during key hours or days of the week, depending on your workflow. Perhaps you need all workers, regardless of location, to be available for specific stretches of time during the workday. Hosting regular virtual meetings during these stretches can support your efforts.
- Some time zones can create challenges. In those cases where remote employees work completely different hours than your onsite workers, project managers may need to step in as intermediaries in order to drive collaboration.
2. Prioritize the way you check in with remote and onsite workers
Earlier, we mentioned some of the high points of working remotely. What about the downside? Working remotely can leave some workers feeling isolated, or like they’re out of the loop.
- You can delve into potential issues related to isolation during check ins, rather than waiting to discuss things during performance reviews.
- When you’re hiring a new remote employee, you might need to check fairly frequently at the start, perhaps even a few times a week.
At the same time, you also want to be sure your onsite workers feel like collaborations are working.
- Do onsite workers see the value their remote-working coworkers bring?
- Bumps in the road are one thing, but have there been distractions? Do perceived challenges outweigh the successes?
3. Hire and onboard with an eye toward fostering collaboration between remote and onsite teams
If you’re currently looking to hire a remote worker, or are just starting to explore the idea, one place to start is in the position itself.
- In many cases, creative services, accounts, and technical positions make obvious choices for remote workers. If you’re hiring someone who will spend 80% of their workweek building code to launch a new mobile application, this could be an easy place to start—especially if you’re having trouble finding the right fit in your local hiring market.
- However, if you’re looking to fill a position that requires a great deal of internal, face-to-face collaboration, perhaps this isn’t the right place to start.
The way you handle onboarding can also affect how you roll out remote work options.
- For instance, in an effort to help new remote hires get comfortable with your organizational culture, you might want them to be onsite for stretches of time, especially during the onboarding period.
- If you’ve hired someone knowing that they will work remotely, and they live in another state or time zone, consider flying them out for a week-long orientation and team-building experience.
Lots of employees would like to work remotely, at least some of the time. Some job candidates might even take a lower salary if it means they can work remotely. Remember: the way you fold remote workers into your workflow often beings with how you hire and onboard. From there, continue to support onsite and remote workers, to ensure that they have what they need to collaborate and succeed.
Whether you’re seeking a remote candidate, or hiring with an idea of remote work options, myStaffingPro’s applicant tracking software can help you stay organized, score resumes, and set your new hire up for a successful onboarding experience. Contact a representative, and find out how myStaffingPro can support you from requisition through retention.