Managing employees can be challenging at the best of times. But with the prospect looming of managing hybrid employee structures – some office-bound, some remote working – the task can seem ever-more daunting. Sure – there are huge potential benefits to fostering a team that works when and where they feel most creative and safe. The arrangement can give your people a much greater feeling of empowerment. Here are six steps to help you manage and support them effectively – wherever they work.
1. What does a remote workforce mean to your team?
First, you need to clarify a few questions about your employees.
How flexible can you be about where and how they work? Do you need to get them into the office for part of their working week? Should they come in occasionally but regularly (say, one day a week)? Can they relocate easily?
Essentially, you need to be sure about what a ‘distributed model’ looks like. One of the best things you can do is simply to talk. Go over things with your employees. What are their thoughts on hybrid working? Just by having this discussion, you’ll make your people feel engaged.
2. Are your remote employees as invested as their office-bound colleagues?
Creating a distributed workforce opens your company up to a world of possibilities. By taking on people from a broader geographical field will mean you’ll benefit from a much wider talent pool.
However, you’ll still have to invest time and resources in educating new remote employees about your mission and your company values. You’ll have to take extra care to ensure that new remote employees feel as invested as your in-house staff. This will start at the interview stage of the recruitment process, through on-boarding and as part of your regular HR and management practices.
3. Make use of the right technology
Creating the right technology portfolio is vital to a healthily maintained hybrid team. Consider the pros and cons of -
• Slack - a messaging tool for companies of all sizes; excellent for streamlining communications, enabling you to message the whole company, different teams, or individuals across various channels.
• Google Drive - Sharing files and information, collaborating on important documents and presentations.
4. Balance benefits
Office workers might enjoy certain benefits that aren’t available to remote workers, such as catered lunches or free coffee. You need to find a way to balance the perks you offer office workers and remote workers.
You could consider
• Home office expenses - to pay for things like a nice desk, office chair or a proportion of utility bills.
• Gym memberships - Help your remote employees to stay healthy with a gym membership or a subscription for online workout classes.
• Meal delivery kits: If you often cater lunch in the office, how about supplying your remote employees with vouchers for services such as HelloFresh.
5. Make your remote staff feel part of the whole team
Be extra careful not to show favouritism towards in-house employees. Think about how you treat all your employees so that everyone feels valued and appreciated.
This might include
- Checking-in regularly with your remote workers to ensure they have all they need.
- Striving to foster fruitful relationships between your in-house and remote staff.
- Celebrating your remote employees’ work anniversaries, birthdays, etc. Make them feel good about working with you.
- Treating remote workers like employees - not contractors or freelancers.
6. Bring employees together regularly
Try to get your employees together physically a few times a year. It may not be easy to do – but at least by trying, you’ll be seen as an employer who cares. If your company is large, then at least try getting individual departments together.
Specialist HR advice
Adapting to a hybrid structure won’t be easy, but it may reap untold benefits. Talk to us about how to manage the change and, once achieved, how to maintain a hybris team that feels fulfilled, engaged, supported and included.
For more on engaging remote teams, get in touch.
For straight-talking HR advice - 01604 763494