How Can Organizations Support Remote Workers?
Remote working is challenging but its benefits make it a wonderful opportunity for organizations to grow. Let’s explore how organizations can support remote workers.
There has been a hurried move towards enabling digital ecosystems across businesses and countries. With the growing potential of this ecosystem, new-age working environments have come into being. One such phenomenon of modern working is- remote workers or mobile workers and how do you support them?
Most IT companies today are encouraging ‘Work From Home’ culture and they are the ones that can afford to do it with their job profiles. Since most of the work is done on a laptop in an IT company, it can be done from anywhere. This kind of freedom is both encouraging and difficult too. Let’s dive into understanding how organizations can thrive with remote workers.
What is a remote work environment?
Remote or mobile workers break free from traditional working environments by working remotely. This means they are free to work anywhere without having to report to a specific place. These workers are updated about their work and deadlines through digital communication. How they choose to complete their and at what time period is up to them.
This phenomenon is getting popular because it is proving to provide better results for both workers and organizations. When an individual is working from a place and time that is convenient for them, they are bound to perform better. On the same front, organizations benefit by saving on infrastructure and yielding better performance out of their employees.
What are the challenges faced by remote workers?
Remote or mobile workers in all types of organizations face the same basic challenges. Human beings are social creatures and need to interact among themselves to be happy. So when they are taken away from the workplace, there can be feelings of loneliness and loss in sense of belonging.
By not being present at the time of discussions physically, there are chances of communication gaps. They might develop confusion about their responsibilities if there are multiple people on the project. This can also happen if they are working in different time zones. Apart from social problems, they might also face difficulty in finding the right infrastructure to support their work.
So, how do you ensure that your remote workers are equally involved in the organization? How can you support them?
How can an organization support remote/ mobile workers?
A virtual workforce
To tackle the communication gap problem, you could create a virtual workforce. There are many businesses that are taking off by providing virtual workforce capabilities. The problem of lack of communication and human interaction for remote workers is a serious one. By having them with you through a video conference could help as they will be present in real-time.
For tasks and assignments, they can upload all their files onto the cloud so it can be accessed by managers too. This will help an organization track when an assignment is done and review it.
For more complex functions, an organization could use tools such as TeamViewer to have multiple people access the same screen.
For internal communication, messaging platform Slack would be of great help. It allows you to create multiple channels for different projects by adding relevant people. This way, your remote workers will be in touch with you and your team through messages.
Be careful about security
A major disadvantage for an organization to have remote workers is the risk of security breaches. Since remote workers are not connected to the office VPN systems, their information can be compromised. The freedom of working from anywhere allows them to use Wifi of unsecured locations too.
Be sure that you alert your remote workers of the same and keep them informed of your security policies. They can take a few steps of preventing any cyber breaches by having the correct defensive software. Your IT team should also be aware of remote workers and account for their systems too. They could train remote workers on how to ensure information security and what to avoid using.
Remote worker-friendly policies
To discard the feeling of alienation from the organization, HRs should include remote workers in their policies. By laying out a legitimate framework for them, remote workers will find more clarity on their responsibilities. The policy should account for a protocol, reimbursement, and allowances for remote workers specifically too.
Communicate personally when time zones differ is a great way to support remote workers.
Despite the fulfilling capacity of online conversations, it would be a good habit to make regular calls to remote workers. Make it a ritual to call them once in a while and check up on the status of their work, are they able to work efficiently, do they need anything from the company, what is expected out them, etc.
Sometimes, you have remote workers that work in different time zones. They might not be available to respond to your messages or attend virtual conferences in your time zone. Speaking to them personally is what will help you avoid gaps in communication. By already working on a different time zone, they’ll feel out of the loop of things. Make sure you keep updating them on what the team is working on.
What is the future of remote workers?
As per this report, close to 16% of the total workforce in America alone has moved to remote working. If you notice around you, there are quite a few organizations that allow work from home at least once a week. The year 2020 will only see a steady rise in this modern mobile or remote work environment because of technological advances. A lot of organizations are already working towards enabling remote workers with tools and applications to work effectively. The productivity of an individual is subjective and by allowing the convenience of place and time, it might just help boost it.
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