Five Tips for Supporting a Remote Workforce

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supporting remote workforce

As the workforce becomes more globalised, companies of all shapes and sizes are discovering the benefits of expanding their talent pool by hiring skilled people from across the globe. Thanks to the cloud and digital transformation, the right staff members don’t have to be located within your city or town. You can find the talent you need, wherever it might be.

Companies that have already embraced working remotely swear by it. In fact, research indicates that remote workers are more engaged, happier, and more productive than people in an office. However, the same study shows that 27% of employees experience unique challenges because they’re not located in the same space as their team.

The question is, how do you access the benefits of remote working without falling victim to the challenges? The following tips can help.

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1.    Focus on constant communication.

Communication is critical to success in any work environment. However, in the remote space, the lack of face-to-face interactions between employees can quickly cause staff to lose track of business goals and even suffer from feelings of isolation.

The good news is that there are plenty of tools available today that make remote experts feel as though they’re just a few feet away from their team, rather than in an entirely different country.

RingCentral App
The RingCentral app.

The RingCentral app with instant messaging provides a real-time method of communication across the world. Video conferencing allows for face-to-face interactions for both informal and formal team meetings. Calls to check up on your remote workers remind them that they’re a part of your company.

Find the communication strategy that works for you.

2.    Use video frequently.

Video conferencing

Many forms of communication can support a remote team. However, one of the most important technologies for the globalised workforce is the growth of video conferencing. Video recreates the face-to-face conditions that employees miss out on in a remote environment. Indeed, some studies show that loneliness is one of the biggest distractions for remote workers.

Since remote workers spend most of their time working outside of the office, it's important to put extra steps in place to facilitate a culture of constant collaboration. Click To Tweet

Video conferencing helps keep virtual teams connected on a deeper level. By mimicking immersive, face-to-face communications, video allows your staff members to form tighter bonds. Video also helps to simplify communication by adding nuances like body language and visuals into the conversation. With video techniques, companies can connect with remote workers, train them, and bring them deeper into the team.

3.    Build a culture of collaboration.

Relationships have more of an impact on your workforce than you’d think. In fact, one study found that out of 1,000 employees, 66% felt that the relationships they had with co-workers made them more focused and productive. Another 40% said that the relationships they had with their team members were what they loved most about their career.

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Since remote workers spend most of their time working outside of the office, it’s important to put extra steps in place to facilitate a culture of constant collaboration. Real-time messaging and file sharing solutions like the RingCentral app allows for stronger connections between staff members. Additionally, managers should encourage plenty of informal and formal conversations wherever possible.

Also Read: Working Remotely: The 2019 Recipe to High Productivity

4.    Use animated GIFs and watercooler experiences.

A great way to strengthen that culture of collaboration mentioned above, and create deeper relationships between workers, is to recreate the watercooler moments they miss within the office. Casual conversations might not seem relevant from a productivity perspective, but they’re an essential part of building connections in your team.

emojis and animated gifs
Emojis and animated GIFs help remote workers express themselves without face-to-face interactions.

Create a room in your real-time messaging app where people can talk about things unrelated to business. Remember to encourage the use of emojis and animated GIFs to help with conveying emotion. Since there are no face-to-face interactions, it’s hard for remote workers to express how they feel about things. Emojis and GIFs can help to take conversations to the next level. The right visual aids can also be helpful in conveying tone and context in discussions between employees from different backgrounds.

5.    Prepare for differences in time zones.

Finally, make sure that you take time zones into account when keeping your employees connected. If your team is part in-house, part remote, or you have employees from around the world, inclusivity is essential. Make sure that you include all your team members in meetings where possible. If there are people who simply can’t join a conference, record those interactions, share notes, and make sure that everyone stays in the loop.

Time to go remote?

The rise of unified communication as a service and new collaboration technologies has made it easier than ever for companies to invest in remote workers. However, it’s important to make sure that you have a plan in place to help you tap into the true potential of your dispersed workforce. Remember to put communication first and make sure that all employees feel like a part of the team.

Originally published Sep 04, 2018, updated May 06, 2020

Irina Kirnos


    Irina is a Product Marketing Manager at RingCentral in EMEA. With experience in the cloud software and communication industry spanning Silicon Valley, Research Triangle Park and now London, she enjoys working collaboratively with global teams to develop product messaging and positioning, sales enablement and competitive differentiation. Irina grew up in San Francisco, California and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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