Ultimate Remote Working Checklist
Let’s face it, working from anywhere is becoming the new normal for employees around the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic was an unforeseeable and unprecedented event that didn’t allow teams the time or ability to plan for remote work. Instead, businesses quickly implemented emergency procedures and protocols that were never meant to be permanent.
Teams that ended up loving the flexibility of remote work have been in no rush to return to an office building. In fact, according to the Buffer 2022 State of Remote Work report, 72% of companies plan on allowing at least some amount of permanent remote work. That’s a massive increase from only 46% of companies in the 2021 State of Remote Work report.
With 97% of remote employees saying that they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers, employers and decision-makers now have the responsibility to ensure there are protocols in place to make remote working possible and productive. Here are Tools and processes to implement for successful remote working.
1. Onboard New AND Existing Employees
When you think of a typical onboarding process, you probably think of administrative tasks such as new hire paperwork, and HR presentations. However, another essential part of onboarding is making sure that your employees have important documents such as your employee handbook and company policies. They also will need access to the tools and software your team uses.
Your existing employees should get all of that information and access, especially in regards to your remote working policies. As you go through the rest of this checklist, make sure it isn’t just your new employees who will get this information.
2. Set Clear Scheduling Expectations
Remote working may be especially beneficial for employees who have other life obligations that they need to dedicate time as well. For example, school pick-up at 3:30 might mean an employee may want to check out from 3-4, and continue working afterwards.
However, your team needs to decide what the scheduling expectations will be for your entire team. Whether you decide to allow flexible hours based on individual needs, require availability during normal business hours, or have other scheduling needs, you need to be clear with your entire team.
If you aren’t sure what would work best for your team, we recommend having an open conversation with your existing remote workers to see what their preferences are and why remote working works well for their lifestyle. From there you can begin to develop policies that take their needs into consideration.
Avoid internal frustrations with inconsistent scheduling policies, and instead, make sure that you have clear and consistent standards set in place.
3. Invest in the Right Tools
Your team should be set up for success with the right equipment and software to work effectively while remote. We’ve listed a few of our top recommendations for you to consider:
- Team chat apps such as Slack or Monday.com so that everyone can stay in touch.
- Time tracking software such as Hubstaff, Workpuls, DeskTime or MyTimeIn.
- Scheduling software such as SimplyBookMe, Appointy, x.ai or Toasty
- Remote desktop software so that your remote workers can still access desktops back at your HQ.
- Video conferencing apps, such as Zoom, help keep your remote workers in touch with your team and clients.
- A virtual phone system such as Yodel.io or Google Voice so that your remote workers can still communicate with customers, without having to use their personal phone numbers.
- Online office suites such as Microsoft Office Online so that you can offer web-based versions of tools your team will depend on such as Microsoft Excel.
- Project management software such as MyTimeIn or DeskTime so that everyone can stay up to date on the status of projects.
- Security tools, including file encryption and secure VPNs so that your important information stays protected. We also recommend password managers, and two-factor authentication.
- Virtual assistants can help you improve your call handling capabilities, and are perfect for remote teams.
When your team has the right tools equipping them, they’ll be able to be more productive and effective. We especially recommend taking advantage of cloud-based technologies, so that your remote workers can access them from their home offices.
4. Remove Productivity Barriers
Check-in with your active remote workers to see if any of the common productivity barriers are an issue. A few of the most common issues include: self-motivation, task prioritization, distractions, poor communication, feelings of isolation, and more.
Then work to address those issues. Some easy fixes can include having more open and consistent communication, including weekly check-ins with your team. These check-ins will allow managers to help direct task prioritization issues, determine internal deadlines, and can help address feelings of isolation.
Other tips that we mentioned such as offering task management tools and internal communication platforms can help with communication and productivity issues. Take advantage of different free trials to find the tools that will work well for your team, while addressing the existing productivity barriers.
5. Facilitate Social Interactions
Make sure that your employees aren’t being overlooked for opportunities, lacking in professional development, or not creating important bonds with their co-workers. When your team is connected on a personal level, it can lead to improved productivity, loyalty, and retention.
Find ways to host virtual social events such as happy hours or other team bonding activities. There are tons of inexpensive kits that you can have shipped to your employees’ home offices, so that everyone can work on a fun social activity together. If that is out of the budget, you can simply offer standing “social hour” meetings that allow your employees to check in with each other.
Being able to offer effective remote working policies and tools can help your business thrive. You can also compete for employees who are searching for flexible working opportunities, and take advantage of a global talent pool.
Make sure that your remote workers are set up for success by implementing these 5 simple steps, and we know that you and your team will appreciate the difference.
Author: Olivia is a content writer at Yodel.io. She is passionate about helping businesses of all sizes create effective phone communication strategies that will give them a competitive edge.