What HR Managers Can Do to Improve the Experience of Remote Employees

By Jordynne Byrne

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Years ago, work meant commuting to the office and settling in for a typical 9-to-5 at your desk. Today, things have definitely changed. According to CNBC, 70% of employees have been working remotely at least once a week since 2018. And as the number of employees working out of office climbs, human resource (HR) managers must find new ways to keep this workforce engaged.

Here are five things HR managers can do to improve the experience of remote employees:

1. Set clear expectations upfront

Clear expectations are a key component in work relationships. They’re especially important for remote workers, who will be working without as much supervision as regular employees.

This means setting expectations for the work schedule, the quantity and quality of work output, emergency procedures, and other work-related details. These expectations must also be continuously updated as the work-relationship progresses over time, especially with employees working away from the office.

2. Listen and support

A great way to address problems within a company is by encouraging employees to speak out. With remote employees especially, companies should create avenues for employees to communicate their concerns and needs.

For example, DirectSuggest allows employees to send in feedback and suggestions, thus enabling HR managers to understand their employees’ needs. This connects high-level managers to frontline problems, giving them the opportunity to solve a problem through recommendations from an employee who understands the issue. The end result is better efficiency, and a workforce that feels seen and heard by management.

3. Communicate regularly

It’s a manager’s job to make sure their employees feel connected to the company as a whole. The manager should be able to communicate the company’s vision to the employee, and show them how their work contributes to this objective.

Having training or experience in HR management means being equipped with the skills to connect with employees and bridge this employer-employee gap. With remote work, regular check-ins can easily occur by using technology — HR managers can send an email, SMS, or set up a conference call via Zoom.

DirectSuggest also bridges this gap by enabling employees to easily and effectively communicate with the organization on any device. Employees can use the app to send in suggestions and boost collaboration, creating a healthier and more open work environment. Regular communication like this allows remote employees to feel connected to the company, and also enables HR managers to understand their needs despite the distance.

4. Be flexible and understanding

With remote work comes many unforeseen circumstances that may affect the employee’s working environment, such as power outages, loss of internet connection, computer failures, and even weather disturbances. Therefore, managers must be flexible and understanding with their employees, especially when the problem could be out of the employees’ control.

The best way to handle these situations is to express concern and work together to build solutions. Remote work presents new challenges for both manager and employee, but with collaboration and communication nothing is insurmountable.

5. Track progress

Tracking progress is crucial to achieving a goal, especially with a remote workforce. Managers and employees must be able to actually see how a team has progressed, and how close they are to reaching each target. For remote work, this can be done in many ways, like using productivity tracker apps, Google Sheets, or other tools for project management.

Linking together

Working remotely has great benefits for companies and workers alike, but it poses certain challenges as well. It’s the job of HR managers to ensure that remote workers understand they are an integral members of the company. By setting clear expectations, listening objectively, communicating regularly, being flexible and tracking progress, HR managers can celebrate milestones with their teams from anywhere around the globe.