Solvo Global

Challenges with remote workers

3 Challenges Business Owners Face With Remote Workers

For many, what it means to go to work has shifted. Instead of traveling 90 minutes in stop-and-go traffic each way every weekday, many workers are taking 30 seconds to get to their jobs— and that’s including a pitstop for coffee.

With the rise of the digital age, technology allows for non-stop communication and continuous access to data. For employers, that supports recruiting flexibility and the ability to hire talent from around the country (and the world!). 

Remote work has grown 173% in the past ten years, and 4.7 million employees in the US now work from home at least half the time. With a growing emphasis on flexibility in the workplace, 62% of employers now allow workers to work from home at least part-time.

But remote work presents its own challenges, including a lack of employee engagement, complexities in accountability, and difficulties of accessibility and security.

To effectively engage remote employees, managers must understand and incorporate what works for both parties: employers and employees. Addressing these challenges is ultimately crucial for the success of the business. Here are three challenges business owners face with remote workers— and how to overcome them.

1. Employee Engagement

The conversation about remote work is almost always immediately associated with employee engagement. While factors of employee engagement can certainly vary within the office, for remote workers especially, many feel a social disconnect between others at the company. 

You likely already have a recurring formal meeting with your employees in place, be that monthly, weekly, or even daily. Consider expanding on your meetings by increasing their cadence, adjusting meeting times, or targeting different team members. 

Make sure to lead meetings with an agenda that includes recent decisions from you and other executives, progress and current status of projects on your team, company timelines and roadmaps, and even financial information where applicable. 

Be proactive about addressing issues that may be circling between workers onsite. It comes down to building an employee-employer relationship of trust, regardless of whether the employee is within the four walls of your office or not.

Another crucial method of communication may not even include you in it. As a leader, allowing your remote workers to talk to each other is important. This can be as easy as setting up a Slack channel, video call, or even flying remote employees into the office annually. 

Conversations don’t necessarily need to be all work-related but rather can include casual conversations as well. Encouraging team members to talk to each other can strengthen company culture, boost morale, and inspire collaboration and innovation. 

A remote worker’s communication with their manager, and vice versa, is essential. Both formal and informal 1-on-1 discussions with your employees, scheduled or not, can help you establish a consistent feedback loop. You can also use time together to assess current and future projects with your employee, timelines and deliverables, and your employee’s career goals and job satisfaction.

2. Accountability

Remote work is often criticized over expectations of poor accountability and productivity. As a leader of remote workers, you should know this not to be the reality. However, wide skepticism still remains, and it often puts even more pressure on those who work from home to prove themselves and their work.

At the root of the remote work situation is, of course, the worker. As you hire for remote positions, evaluate not only the requirements of abilities and experience, but also soft skills regarding employee integrity. 

Is the employee self-motivated? Can they work independently and meet deadlines without micromanagement? Have they worked remotely before? How good are they with technology and learning new abilities?

Hiring with an emphasis on company and team culture goes a long way. For current remote workers who may show fluctuating signs of accountability, it may be necessary to engage them in conversations that involve coaching and mentoring, or simply highlight the significance and relevance of those traits in an employee.

At the other end of the situation is your own mindset. How exactly do you measure productivity? A heavy debate on in-office culture and work hour flexibility focuses on measuring the time employees spend at their workstations versus how much work is actually produced during that time. 

Employees who accomplish the same amount of quality work in less time as others should be rewarded equally, if not more, for the work they do. Be sure to enable your employees to put in full effort into their work, even if it’s at hours that differ from 9:00-5:00pm. 

Measurements of success can vary, but qualitating and quantifying results is a must for remote workers. Technology can also offer efficient ways of measuring employee outputs, and it can serve as unbiased information when a project has been completed or moved along. 

3. Accessibility and Security

More challenges identified with remote work are accessibility and security concerns. When you have employees living in different states or different countries, two or more hours of time difference can greatly impact your operations. 

It takes extra commitment and planning, but being proactively considerate of varying time zones and as inclusive as possible when setting schedules can help. Are you flexible when you send out meeting invitations, and willing to adjust as necessary? Is your main office’s time zone acknowledged as the default time in conversations in order to avoid widespread confusion? 

The willingness to accommodate and work together as well as respect each other’s time starts with you and your leadership team, so don’t miss out on setting an example for your employees.

And it goes both ways. Remote workers should be willing and able to be highly responsive and communicative with those in other offices, including home offices. 

Degrees of communication matter, so set expectations for it. Request that employees update statuses based on their online availability to assist in the effective use of instant communication tools. Establish small time frames that all employees should work to fuel collaboration, innovation, and productivity within your team. 

One additional element of availability is that of online resources. While employees having access to what they need to do their jobs at all hours of the day is important, so is data protection. 

Preventing security threats starts with having a comprehensive remote work policy, listing processes and best practices in dealing with networks, passwords, data and confidential information, and even clean workspaces. 

Influence security accountability among team members, too, not only managers. Conduct regular check-ins to ensure these policies are known and followed and that questions and issues can be resolved. When the appropriate attitudes and tools are in place, remote employees can communicate just as effectively and work just as securely as others.

Solvo Can Help You Manage Your Remote Team More Effectively

It’s clear that remote work is growing, with no end in sight. Understanding the unique differences and needs of your employees brings you closer to building and setting an example for mutual trust and respect throughout all your employees. 

Through an accommodating and motivated team, your remote employees are supported and appreciated, and that’s no doubt a substantial benefit to everyone, your in-office and remote employees alike.

Ultimately, hiring the right remote employees can be the most impactful. Need help hiring and managing your remote talent? Contact Solvo today and find a talent solution that fits your business’ needs. 

Solvo Global drives business growth by connecting North American companies with exceptional remote workers and AI-powered tools. Our unique nearshoring model ensures efficient collaboration in the same time zone, reducing turnover, and driving cost efficiencies. With a focus on fostering a great work environment, Solvo is dedicated to attracting top talent, ensuring our partners never have to choose between cost and quality.