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Remote Work Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Remote Employees.

Need information on keeping your remote employees engaged, productive and shattering goals all year long? Then you’ve come to the right article!

Remote work isn’t a fad, it’s a revolution—and one that both employers and employees are finding huge upsides from. Aside from the obvious cost benefits from saving on office space to reducing commuting, people are finding a profound sense of satisfaction from the flexibility it brings as well. Remember all the buzz about work-life balance? Well here’s your answer.

Remote Employees By The Numbers

In fact, 90% of the part- and full-time remote workers that Buffer recently surveyed said that they are planning to work remotely for the rest of their careers.

So what are some of the other big numbers when it comes to remote employees? Let’s take a look:

  • 3.9 million Americans are working remotely at least half the week, according to a Flexjobs Report
  • 43% of the U.S. workforce in its entirety work remotely at least occasionally, according to that same report.
  • 55% of remote employees are doing so full time.
  • $12 Million – that’s how much Dell reported saving on office space because of telecommuting in 2016 alone.
  • 10% – that’s the increase in employee retention you’ll see by including the option to work remotely, according to a report by Gartner.

In short, remote work is here to stay. And not only is it something that your employees want, but it’s something you can’t afford to not have.

Employee Engagement: Remote vs. On-Site Employees

You’ve probably wondered more than once if remote employees could possibly be as locked-in to their work as your on-site employees—doesn’t all that time away from the office just cause detachment?

Actually, it could have the opposite effect.

Gallup, the leader in employee engagement statistics, has published some of the most comprehensive statistics on remote workers that give us keen insight into both the benefits and pitfalls of remote work.

According to their most recent State of the American Workplace report, when we divide workers by their percentage of time working remotely, there are two groups that are the least engaged: those who work remotely 0% of the time, and those who work remotely 100% of the time.

Now what does that tell us? For one, workers who feel like they have flexibility in their schedule are almost automatically going to feel more engaged at work.

But the more important lesson here is that it for your employees to be the most engaged, it doesn’t matter whether they’re working remotely or not: it’s about how you are treating them.

The Secret To Having Top-Performing Remote Team

Make no mistake—top performing, highly engaged remote employees aren’t, and never have to be, a rare commodity. The secret sauce to building that robust team of high-performing employees comes down to one word:

Leadership.

As a manager, business owner, supervisor, or even co-worker, engagement starts with engaging.

In the Gallup study quoted above, they broke down some of the survey results behind the most-engaged block of remote workers (those who were working remotely 60-80% of the time). They reported that, “In spite of the additional time away from managers and coworkers, they are the most likely of all employees to strongly agree that someone at work cares about them as a person, encourages their development and has talked to them about their progress.”

That should be a powerful siren to all of us in leadership. When it comes down to it, you shouldn’t be relying on some perfect algorithm of time in and out of the office to keep your employees engaged—in fact, you should be relying on your effort to spur on that engagement yourself.

Remote Employee Engagement Best Practices:

So maybe easier said than done right? With our help, hopefully not.

A huge part of our effort here on the Hoopla blog is to empower sales leaders to take ownership of their team’s engagement—especially their remote employee engagement. With that in mind, here are some of the best practices that we’ve discovered really hit home across all of our clients, lifting their employees not only to new levels of engagements, but also to new levels of high performance.

Goal Setting

If you real nothing else, at least get this idea in your head: goal-setting is one of the simplest, most concrete ways to get under-performing sales people to engage with their work and positively increase their output. It allows them to begin to track their work against tangible numbers, helping them to immediately identify areas that need improvement.

Friendly Competition

If you’re not familiar with sales gamification, it’s basically the idea that we can afford to make work a little more fun. When you begin to incite friendly competition in your team, they’re going to feel a new sense of ownership over their numbers, seeing how it fits in to the bigger picture of the team’s overall performance.

Accountability

Whether accountability takes the form of posting everyone’s numbers on a leaderboard, or simply following up on performance on a regular basis, remote and onsite employees benefit in a big way from consistent accountability. It’s a sure sign that as their manager, you’re partnering with them on their success, and are invested in their continuing development.

Incentives

At the end of the day, people want to be recognized for their hard work. If someone is busting their tail month in and month out without any sort of recognition beyond a paycheck, you can almost guarantee they’ll have their eye on the door. Whatever sort of rewards your choose for your employees, from plaques to pay increases, incentives are a simple and effective way of letting your employees know that you know how much effort their giving their work.

Relationships

As the experts over at Slack pointed out, “regular check-ins shouldn’t just be the responsibility of employees—46% of remote workers believe thebest managersare the ones who check in frequently… [and]usecollaborative toolsto ensure an open flow of conversation.” Not to sound like a broken record, but creating healthy, consistent, and intentional relationships are going to be paramount to your remote workers feeling engaged.

The world, and the landscape of the workplace, is changing whether you want it to or not. The great news is that we have the tools to keep up. Your remote employees can thrive just as much as your team onsite, it’s simply a matter of if you’re ready and willing to do the work to get there.

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