Working from home is a great perk for employees, but it also means that training is more crucial than ever. With face-to-face interaction limited to conference calls, team meetings, and video conferencing, new remote workers have fewer opportunities to ask questions and get answers quickly. So don’t leave your new workers spinning their wheels; plan ahead with these remote employee training essentials.
Working from home can be an exciting opportunity for disciplined and self-motivated employees to set limits on their personal time. Yet working from home can also be an isolating experience that drains employee morale faster than almost any other job complication. It’s up to you as the manager to keep your new workers happy while working away from the office.
Have a written remote working policy
The first step to managing remote workers is to have a clear and well-publicized policy. Employees who know exactly what to expect are much less likely to feel isolated or misunderstood.
A remote working policy should include the following:
- Which employees are eligible to work remotely
- What technology is required (e.g., phone, computer, internet service)
- What technology is recommended (e.g., webcam, headset, noise-canceling headphones)
- A policy on collaboration (e.g., will employees be expected to work autonomously or in teams?)
- A written emergency policy (e.g., what happens if an employee falls ill, becomes incapacitated, or has an emergency with a family member?)
By having this written down, employees always have a first port of call when they face queries about their work-from-home status.
Hold regular video conferencing meetings
Even the most dedicated remote workers will get cabin fever if they don’t have at least one opportunity to meet face-to-face with co-workers each month. While some departments might need to meet in person more often, most groups can get by with monthly or quarterly in-person get-togethers. Set your team up for success by ensuring everyone has a reliable video conferencing system and a headset or webcam.
A key tip for hosting remote meetings: keep a table of contents visible on the screen throughout the session. This will help you stay on track and save you time editing the video after the fact. Also, use video mute during breaks, so you don’t have to worry about background noise during the meeting.
Train new employees in product knowledge
Remote workers who have never seen your product in person are at a disadvantage regarding troubleshooting and debugging. Luckily, product training is much easier over the internet than in person, especially for complicated product demos.
You may want to consider creating a virtual product tour for new employees. This product training should be accessible anytime, anywhere, and can be revisited as often as necessary.
Product training should cover the following points:
- What problem your product solves
- Why it’s better than your competitors
- How your product works
- How your customers/clients use your product
Teach new employees about cyber security
New remote workers may be blissfully unaware of the risks they face while working remotely. As a manager, you need to ensure that your employees know how to minimize the cyber security threats they face and report suspicious activity if they encounter it.
This can be as simple as walking new employees through the threat landscape for their specific position or department. You may also want to include pointers on accessing your company’s cyber security resources and reporting suspicious activity.
There are plenty of online resources and companies that you can outsource for cyber security tips.
Set clear work-life balance expectations
Last but not least, you must set clear work-life balance expectations. Remote workers who feel they’re not trusted to manage their time correctly will lose motivation and enthusiasm much more quickly than face-to-face employees.
A few ways to set clear work-life balance expectations include but are not limited to:
- Creating a written policy on work-life balance.
- Including guidelines for acceptable use of company equipment and internet, expected hours of work per week, and how to request time off.
- Holding regular one-on-one meetings with each employee. Use these meetings to check in on work-life balance, offer support, and give feedback. Remote workers should have the same access to coaching and performance reviews as non-remote employees.
Remote working can reduce the barriers between home and work. By ensuring your expectations are clear, remote workers should feel they can rest and relax, returning to work the next day energized and productive.
Working from home can be a great experience for employees, but it comes with its own challenges. Managers need to recognize these challenges and be prepared to overcome them to ensure success for their employees.
Having a remote working policy in place, regularly meeting with employees, and providing them with proper product training and cybersecurity education will provide remote workers with the support they need to do their jobs effectively while feeling appreciated.