3 techniques to help off-site employees collaborate with team members in the office

rawpixel-256641-unsplash-1A growing amount of employers are providing full- or part-time remote work opportunities; 70 percent of employees, in fact, now work somewhere other than the office at least one day a week, according to a global IWG survey.

Data indicates a number of companies also plan to expand into new locations in the next few years. Nearly half of the employers in approximately 20 economies that participated in a 2018 World Economic Forum survey said they anticipate modifying their geographical base of operations by 2022.

Currently, 70 percent of businesses around the world have employees who work from home and employees and teams that are spread across several sites, according to research from Clarizen — and some organizations are utilizing specific methods to help ensure off-site employees’ engagement, productivity and output remain high.

Could any of the following approaches to managing remote employees — and making sure they consider themselves part of the team — work for your company?

Encouraging contact

If employees can’t meet in person, having access to systems that enable communication can help them keep in touch. Eighty-five percent of workers want to feel more connected to their remote colleagues, according to Slack data — which also revealed nearly three-quarters of employees prefer using technology that allows them to send real-time messages to each other, compared to other communication tools.

Managers should also make an effort to stay in touch with telecommuting employees. One in four workers said supervisors who insisted on having some face-to-face interaction — meeting in-person yearly, quarterly or at other regular times — had more success managing remote employees. If in-person contact isn’t possible, and supervisors aren’t sure how to make remote employees feel included, video conferencing and phone calls are also viable ways of reaching out.

rawpixel-620238-unsplash-810849-editedConsidering where — and when — employees will be working

Remote employees, according to research conducted by corporate training company VitalSmarts, are more likely than on-site employees to feel colleagues leave them out and mistreat them — saying bad things behind their backs, for example; making project changes without telling them or failing to stand up for telecommuting employees’ priorities.

One potential way to keep that from happening: Add other team members in remote locations. A TinyPulse survey found off-site employees have better relationships with their coworkers when the rest of their team doesn’t operate out of a singular time zone.

Shifting your culture to emphasize execution

Although numerous studies have found working remotely can increase productivity, more than 60 percent of telecommuting employees worry they won’t be perceived as diligent because they’re not in the office, according to research from Polycom — which also suggested companies focus on measuring output-related performance, instead of the amount of hours employees rack up during the work week.

For additional suggestions about what to include in a remote work policy and more information about managing remote employees, view our blog posts on reaching out to remote locations, 3 ways to effectively engage off-site employees and 5 ways to tackle global talent management.

For additional information on structuring remote work opportunities that require employees to move, our blog posts on responding to employees’ top relocation package concerns and making employee relocation work may provide some insight.

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