Written by EMILY GENT

Advances in technology now enable companies to employ remote workers from just about anywhere in the world – provided they have a WiFi connection and a laptop, and the nature of the work is compatible with remote working, they’re ready to go.

Statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that, in 2015, 4.2 million people across a range of sectors worked from home, and businesses both small and large are increasingly adopting the remote working strategy into their ways of working.

Although some die hard nine-to-fivers may struggle with the notion that employees can be more productive working outside the office, this approach comes with huge benefits to businesses and employees alike, including:

  • Saving money on office costs
  • Gaining access to a wider talent pool
  • Increased retention and staff morale
  • Lower environmental impact
  • Preparedness for the future

Benefits to employees include:

  • Better work – life balance
  • Freedom and flexibility to work anywhere
  • Happiness, motivation and sense of freedom are reported as generally stronger among remote workers

Remote working, however, does come with its own set of challenges – keeping remote workers engaged and ensuring they are ‘part of the family’ is vital to achieving brand consistency, keeping employees motivated and keeping staff retention levels high.

Keeping remote workers engaged

  • Utilise technology – as an employer utilise social media platforms such as Facebook or applications like Slack, Trello and Hangouts to get everyone communicating, its best to ensure everyone is using the same platforms whether office based or remote.
  • Use video conferencing, applications like Skype, Hangouts and FaceTime. These are all free and a fantastic way to maintain the relationship between employer, remote working and team-mates.
  • Still give remote workers the big projects – it may be tempting to only give the bigger projects to an employee who is visible in the office, but this is a sure-fire way to make remote workers feel undervalued or even sidelined.
  • Include remote workers in celebrations – inviting remote workers to team events, even if they can’t attend, will make them feel included, and if they can attend is a great way for them to build relationships with their coworkers.
  • Hold face to face meetings where possible, for example quarterly summits – this is another way of keeping that long-distance relationship strong.
  • Recognise and celebrate the input of remote workers as you would in person – positive feedback and recognition is a known contributor to staff happiness and motivation, this means not forgetting to feedback to your remote workers when they’ve done a great job.
  • Have strong brand training, guidelines and make sure your brand is consistent across all channels – this is an important factor to any company when trying to get staff buy in to your brand, and when you have remote workers its absolutely vital.
  • Send a newsletter – keep everyone up to date on the latest news internally by sending out a staff newsletter – this can be as simple as a round up email once a month but will be more effective than a series of small emails which people can tend to switch off from over time.

For more information on how Reality HR can help you get the best out of a remote working model, contact us today on: 01256 328428 or email: info@realityhr.co.uk