Blog·HR Management

August 14, 2020

Remote Workers: How to Close the Opportunity Gap

The chances are you may have some remote workers in your team. When was the last time you made sure they felt they are being treated equally?

COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed the way we work - permanently. One of the biggest shifts we've seen is the move towards employees becoming remote workers.

The associated stay-at-home orders have resulted in the vast majority of workers worldwide setting up office where and when they can, whether it be in the bedroom or the bathroom, to limit physical contact with other households.

Five in 10 workers say they don't want to work in an office anymore and your business is likely considering the pros and cons of honoring those wishes. - Gallup

remote workers gallup

Remote workers become the new normal

Previously, remote workers only made up a fraction of the global corporate workforce. Now, there's a promising likelihood that the new wave of remote workers will stay remote post-pandemic.

There are multiple organizations such as Facebook, Amazon and Twitter that have already put in place post-COVID measures to ensure that they will still offer remote work options to employees. This movement has been welcomed by many, with studies suggesting that Brits are amongst the most fervent remote workers during the pandemic.

remote workers insight

One department that this has had a massive impact on is Human Resources, as they now have to manage employees based both in the office based and working remotely. Although most organizations will have some systems in place to ensure optimal communication and performance management, there will always be issues to iron out. One of the issues that can occur is the growing opportunity gap between remote workers and office workers.

Closing the opportunity gap for remote workers

Those working in the office tend to benefit from casual, face to face contact with both colleagues and clients, as well as any physical perks that an office offers such as meals, coffees and social hours. Remote workers unfortunately don't get the same intrinsic benefits and it can be difficult to spot signs of disengagement.

In many cases it's down the the HR department to bridge these gaps; to find alternative measures to keep employees motivated and on the same wavelength.

We’ve put together some things you can do to ensure equal personal and professional growth for your employees, for both remote teams and those in the office.

Remote Workers Opportunity Gap

1. Team Building for Remote Workers and Office Employees

Team building is defined as “the ability to identify and motivate employees to form a team that stays together, works together, and achieves together”. In order to make sure that there is minimal bias present between the two factions of workers, you must work on fostering relationships between the two groups.

Connecting employees benefits the overall organization. If you are currently onboarding remote new hires, set up a system in which they have to meet a certain number of employees online, like a checklist.

Remote workers team building

Make sure to provide new joiners with two mentors: a professional mentor and social mentor. These should be people who know the organization and the employees to the degree they can answer most questions and introduce the new hire to most people.

Another way you can include remote workers is by setting up informal video conferences - such as coffee breaks - at least once a week, where they can sit in on in-office meetups and catch up with their colleagues.

2. Role Clarity for Remote Workers

In order to bolster equality you'll need to make sure that everyone knows what the function of each role includes, and what is expected of them.

One way to solidify this is to introduce performance metrics. These will be a great tool not only for employees to understand the work that others are doing around them - whether in the office or remotely - but also to offer managers discussion points when checking in with employees.

tips to measure performance management effectiveness

Having clear and measurable metrics in place deters a manager's tendency to micromanage and allows individuals to focus on the tasks ahead.

A method to motivate employees to really strive to meet their goals is to use cascading goals. This way all workers are able to see how their work is directly impacting the overall company objectives.

key performance objectives objectives and indcators

3. Equal Opportunities for Remote and Office Workers

Standardizing the processes behind decision-making fights the corner for equal opportunities amongst workers. This can be something as simple as documenting the process of choosing a project leader, as this can influence career development.

You should implement a system in which you can measure the opportunities given to both sets of workers, and react to the results by implementing more equal strategies.

The benefits of continuous performance management software

Another way to ensure a decrease in workplace bias is to devote several senior leaders and supervisors to remote status as well. This will create a better understanding between peer-manager communications, and they will also be able to lay a greater focus on enabling remote workers to break through any artificial career ceiling that may be present.

4. Feedback for Remote Workers

Make sure you are consistently collecting feedback from employees. Feedback is a great opportunity to find out what your employees need, and how they are feeling about the work they are conducting.

Why is feedback important?

Taking regular pulse surveys helps you to uncover issues before they escalate into bigger problems. You can use surveys to collect data to analyze consistency amongst both remote workers and office employees. In the long term, this will help you find the equipment and assistance that will allow all employees to work effectively.

Making sure that remote workers and their in-office colleagues are on a level playing field is a crucial task for HR right now. PeopleGoal can help you bridge the gap with our easy to use employee engagement apps. Quickly install pulse surveys, 360 degree feedback, one-to-ones and more to make sure your team stays connected and remote workers don't fall behind.

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