Successful Remote Work Strategies Require Training, Coaching, and Technology

Remote Work is Here to Stay

March 20, 2024

By Chris Harvey

Most organizations embraced remote work during the COVID pandemic. Employees loved the flexibility it provided and are reluctant to give up this new level of freedom. However, many company leaders are fighting the battle to encourage employees to increase coming back to the office full-time or more frequently.

Embracing Remote Work Realities

What some company leaders haven’t fully realized is that COVID didn’t create the remote work trend, it has just accelerated it. According to a report by FlexJobs, remote work saw a 159% increase between 2005 and 2017, and the number of remote workers in the U.S. workforce grew by 44% between 2015 and 2020. All before the first case of COVID. What was once considered a perk for a select few became a necessity for entire workforces practically overnight. Now, as we move forward, remote work is not merely a temporary solution but a fundamental aspect of the future of work.

Challenges of Managing Distributed Teams

While remote work offers numerous benefits, managing distributed teams presents unique challenges. According to Buffer's State of Remote Work 2021 report, 20% of remote workers struggle with loneliness, while 21% struggle with collaboration and communication. Additionally, remote employees may face difficulties with work-life balance, as the boundaries between work and personal life blur in a remote setting. Moreover, ensuring productivity, tracking performance, and fostering employee engagement pose significant hurdles in a remote environment. One of the biggest challenges is making all employees feel connected and increasing trust in each other.

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The Role of HR Technology

In overcoming these challenges, HR technology emerges as a powerful ally for organizations embracing remote work. Leveraging innovative HR solutions can address the complexities of managing distributed teams and unlock numerous benefits for both employees and employers.

1. Virtual Onboarding: HR technology facilitates seamless onboarding processes for remote employees, ensuring they feel welcomed and integrated from day one. According to a survey by BambooHR, 90% of HR professionals believe that an efficient onboarding process is essential for retaining new hires. Platforms like BambooHR or GoCo offer electronic document signing capabilities and customizable onboarding workflows to streamline the onboarding experience.

2. Performance Management Tools: Monitoring and evaluating employee performance in a remote setting can be challenging without the right tools in place. According to a report by Gartner, 64% of managers are worried about the productivity of their remote employees. Performance management solutions such as 15Five or Lattice provide features like goal setting, progress tracking, and feedback mechanisms, enabling managers to assess performance objectively and provide support to remote team members.

3. Collaboration Platforms: Effective collaboration is essential for the success of distributed teams. HR technology provides collaborative platforms like Microsoft Teams or Slack, equipped with features such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and document sharing. According to a survey by Slack, 85% of remote workers feel more connected to their colleagues when using collaboration tools. In addition, finding ways to celebrate and learn together on Team Experience platforms like Teamraderie help build team identify, trust, and build relationships.

4. Employee Engagement Solutions: Maintaining high levels of employee engagement is critical in a remote work environment. According to Gallup, engaged employees are 59% less likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months. HR technology offers engagement solutions such as Culture Amp, which provide pulse surveys, virtual team-building activities, and recognition programs. These initiatives help keep remote employees motivated, connected, and aligned with the company's goals and values.

5. Recognize and Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate individual and team achievements openly, fostering a culture of appreciation and recognition. Utilize features such as "giving kudos" within HR technology platforms to enable employees to recognize their peers' contributions easily. Solutions like Kudos offer features to recognize peer achievement, share appreciation, and celebrate successes publicly. By incorporating such features into the HR tech stack, organizations can reinforce positive behaviors, boost morale, and strengthen team cohesion in remote environments.

6. Workplace Wellness: Remote work can take a toll on employees' mental health and well-being. According to a survey by SHRM, 67% of HR professionals reported an increase in employee requests for mental health resources since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. HR technology offers access to virtual wellness programs and employee assistance platforms like Lyra Health or Modern Health. These resources provide support and assistance to remote employees, promoting their overall health and resilience.

Manager Coaching and Training for Remote and Hybrid Teams

The success or failure of your organization’s remote and hybrid team efforts come down to how well your managers enable employees. Often, frontline managers lack the tools and training to ensure success. Providing coaching and training programs specifically tailored to remote and hybrid leadership can help managers develop the skills and competencies necessary to effectively lead distributed teams.

These programs can cover topics such as:

- Communication: Effective communication is essential in remote and hybrid environments. Managers need training on leveraging various communication channels, such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and email, to keep remote team members informed and engaged.

- Performance Management: Remote and hybrid teams require a different approach to performance management. Managers should receive training on setting clear goals and expectations, providing regular feedback, and assessing performance based on outcomes rather than inputs.

- Team Collaboration: Building a cohesive team culture in remote and hybrid settings requires intentional effort. Managers need training on fostering collaboration, building trust, and promoting inclusivity among team members, regardless of their location or work arrangement.

- Work-Life Balance: Balancing work and personal life can be challenging for remote employees. Managers should receive training on supporting their team members' well-being, promoting work-life balance, and recognizing signs of burnout or fatigue.

By investing in manager coaching and training programs focused on remote and hybrid leadership, organizations can empower their managers to effectively navigate the complexities of distributed teams and drive success in the digital age.

Remote Work is Here to Stay

As organizations embrace the future of remote work, leveraging HR technology is essential for effectively managing distributed teams. By addressing the challenges of remote work and providing manager coaching and training programs tailored to remote and hybrid leadership, companies can unlock the full potential of their remote workforce and thrive in the digital age.


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