According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24 percent of workers in the United States did some or all of their work from home in 2015. And according to Global Workplace Analytics, that number is likely to grow, as up to 50 percent of U.S. jobs involve operations that are compatible with at least partial telework.
The organization also estimates that among the non-self-employed workforce, the number of laborers regularly working from home has increased by more than 100 percent since 2005.
Expanding your workforce? Make sure they're adequately prepared to work for your company by reading 5 Compliance Trainings You Need for Onboarding Employees.
It's very possible that your business already employs staff that rarely, if ever, come into the office, and if you aren't yet hiring remote employees, you likely will soon.
Given the isolation that remote workers can experience, managers hold a responsibility to clearly define team expectations, deadlines, and final output from day one. Outline what hours they are required to be available and how often they should be checking with supervisors and their peers. By providing these employees with the necessary details before they begin work, they can more seamlessly fit into your operations and culture.
At least for the first few weeks, set up regular touch points with the new hire. Employees working remotely don't have the opportunity to wander the halls and brainstorm potential solutions or ask questions. So, by routinely communicating with these isolated workers, managers and team leaders can help alleviate stress and resolve problems more quickly.
Make sure that new employees know who to reach out to if questions arise or if they need help. Similarly, provide them with centralized access to forms and reports as well as any documentation available regarding processes and procedures related to regularly performed tasks.
If possible, assign a mentor or primary trainer that the new hire can reach out to for any questions or issues.
Your compliance program needs to account for remote employees as well as those in the office. Use eLearning programs to keep off-site staff in line with corporate policies and procedures, including security awareness, sexual harassment, and general business ethics.
Ideally, whatever platform you choose should be:
Obviously, any new remote employee will need network access, a company email account, and application privileges to perform their core functions. But you should also invest in communication tools that help bridge the geographic gap.
Videoconferencing platforms enable stronger communication, allowing remote employees to convey and recognize the nuances and non-verbal communication that can be lost over the phone. Encourage the use of collaboration platforms, such as Google Hangouts, for brainstorming sessions or drop in/drop out virtual office environments.
It can be challenging at times, but take measures to make sure that the remote hires feel like a part of the team. If possible, during the initial hiring process, have the new employee come into the office for the first couple of days to meet the people they will be working with. Structure projects so that every team member interacts with the remote hire -- at least initially -- to encourage healthy business relationships and overall camaraderie regardless of physical location.
Schedule regular video or phone conferences to help add their voice to discussions and team projects. And if the entire team is remote, set aside time on group calls to allow employees to share about their interests or what is going on in their personal lives.
With globalization and innovation continuing to drive most industries, remote workers will only become more common—which creates new compliance challenges. By providing these employees with the tools and training they need to understand and observe your company guidelines, you can avoid potential enforcement headaches and off-set risks—all while reaping the various benefits of remote workers.
If you would like to know how we can help you coordinate compliance training efforts for your staff, whether on or off-site, request a demo today.
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