Finding the Remote: Keeping Your Mobile Employees from Getting Lost

If you are looking for ways to expand your new talent pool and make your current and future employees happy, offering remote work options could be just the solution you need. 

Obviously, teleworking isn’t right for everyone. Certain businesses require their staff to be onsite for a variety of reasons, and that’s okay. That said, if your organization doesn’t fall into that category, you might want to start thinking outside the couch cushions. And outside the office.   

Research has shown that employees value flexibility and will take benefits such as remote work options into consideration when making their career choicesStudies have also shown that remote employees are happier, more productive, and more likely to see themselves in their positions for longer.  

If increasing employee engagement, productivity, and/or retention sounds good to you, it may be time to go remote. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.  

Remote work doesn’t come without challenges, and your strategy should be developed with thought and care. Here are three ways to make sure your remote work policy works for both your employees and your company.  

Do your research

If you’re a company committed to offering remote work options, start by creating a policy that makes sense for how your business and employees operate.  

What to keep in mind: 

  • Which positions could successfully work remotely?  
  • Will these employees be 100% remote or will there be in-office requirements also? 
  • How will you structure your teams? Your communications? Your performance management? 
  • How will you hold people accountable for their time, work, and results? 

It may be tempting to jump right in without a thoughtful plan, but don’t do it. Pouring your energy into creating a solid remote work policy will save you lots of frustration when the time comes to implement and manage it.  

Find the right people

Just as some businesses aren’t well suited to remote work, neither are some employees. Not everyone likes working remotely or functions well in that environment. It’s important to keep this in mind during your hiring processes.  

If you want to hire people who will be more likely to thrive as remote employees, here are some ways to find them.  

  • Look for people who have worked remotely in the past. If they’re applying for another remote position, chances are it’s something they like to do.  
  • Talk to applicants with demonstrated success in positions where they took initiative, worked independently, and managed their own time.  
  • Consider candidates who describe themselves as being disciplined, self-motivated, and tech savvy. Excellent communication will be another important skill to look for. Responsiveness is also a plus. 

Ask your applicants why remote work seems appealing. If they say it’s because they can’t bear to be away from their dog/cat/hamster for 8 hours a day, that’s not a compelling reason. If they talk about how having control of their time and environment allows them to think creatively and get more done, you’re on the right track. 

Be flexible

Research has shown that remote workers have higher levels of productivity, loyalty, and satisfaction when they choose to work remotely. But these results were significantly lower when employees were forced to work at home.  

Having both remote and onsite work options is really the best of both worlds.  

  • If you have a great employee who is moving but wants to keep working for you, that’s now an option.  
  • If you have a remote employee who decides they are happier working in an office environment, you can welcome them back into the fold.  
  • If an onsite employee needs to go remote for a specific period of time, they can be accommodated.  

These are the kinds of flexible situations that benefit both employers and employees. 

Ready to run with it? 

Watching your employees walk out the door isn’t always a bad thing… especially when you know they are working harder (and happier!) than ever in their remote locations.  

If you’re thinking about offering your employees the option to do their jobs offsite, do your research and put together a plan that works for everyone. You may be surprised at just how quickly you’ll find that magic remote you’ve been looking for.  


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Photo by mihtiander