Updated: Sep 9, 2020
Someone who is a good worker will not always automatically be successful as a remote employee since productive telecommuting involves mastery of certain skills beyond industry knowledge. However, people can be taught to be more adept at off-site work, and employers who take the initiative of training employees to work remotely reap the benefits. For employees who are used to the daily grind of commuting and being in an office, it can be a steep learning curve to thrive in a remote work environment.
These tips can help you train employees to work remotely:
1. Phase it in.
Unless your company suddenly needs to be 100% remote, try implementing your workers’ flex in phases. Start by having some employees working remotely one or two days a week, so that they can get a feel for what it’s like, especially those who have never worked remotely before. Then, ask them what they feel they need in order to work more effectively. This gives your workers the safety net of still being able to come into the office, but also enjoy the work-life balance of being able to work remotely.
2. Teach technology.
Remote work frequently involves using modern technology to communicate and collaborate. Do not assume everyone knows how to video chat or fully understand how Slack channels work. Rather, devote time early on to the set-up and mastery of tools that are important to your business. Having in-office training can be far more effective than expecting your workers to automatically know how to navigate the tools when they are alone and working on their own.
3. Provide guidance.
Let your employees know that you’re there for them if issues arise or they need help. Allow them to feel that they can reach out if they are having tech issues or questions about the work. Also, consider assigning a mentor to new remote employees. Their first-hand experience can serve as a rich resource for the challenges faced by off-site employees.
It’s a good idea to schedule check-ins with your team as well as each individual worker. Telecommuters may not be quick on their own to recognize and rectify areas that could use improvement. On a personal level, if one of your workers feels lonely being remote, encourage them to connect with colleagues outside of the office or take advantage of some of the more social aspects of the communications tools you’ve implemented. That way they’ll understand that in a remote work environment, out of sight is never out of mind.