There’s no denying that working remotely can have some major benefits for employees. A better work-life balance, no commute, lower costs and the chance to personalise your workspace are just some of the perks of being away from the office. However, it’s also clear that working remotely can come with its challenges too. Many people feel disconnected from their teams, and it can make some aspects of work life harder, particularly for HR teams and managers who are often people-focused, rather than task-focused.  

So how can we get past these challenges and make remote working possible and practical for all employees, including HR? We take a look. 

Employee onboarding 

HR teams are an essential part of employee onboarding. They’re often the first people that a new hire talks to besides their new manager, so a good first impression and smooth transition into the company is really important. Not only does this make the new employee feel welcome, but it builds a level of trust and engagement that means they may feel more comfortable coming to HR with any issues in the future. 

However, it can be difficult to ensure that the new employee has everything they need, are settling in well and are clear about the company processes when you’re working remotely. To tackle this, it can be helpful to have a virtual onboarding list set up, where the new hire can access the forms they need, see what HR tasks need to be completed, and get information about the company. You can then schedule regular check ins at appropriate intervals to see how they’re getting on. 

Conflict management 

Unfortunately, many people will experience some kind of conflict in the workplace, whether that’s a simple disagreement about work tasks or a formal complaint. Whatever the issue, a conflict resolution process can help tackle the concern before it gets any worse, and HR is often called upon to help mediate these conversations. Remote workers may actually experience more issues, as they’re not in the same space – they can’t physically see if their colleagues have been too busy to respond to their message, for example, and instead may feel ignored. 

It can feel challenging to do this remotely, especially when humans tend to use body language as an indicator of feeling in a conversation, which can be harder to pick up via video call. However, it’s well worth the effort – whilst they have their challenges, remote teams can be extremely productive, and you’ll want to make sure communication lines remain open between team members. Take the time to invest in some training in this area, and perhaps even create a training programme for all employees, to help them resolve any small issues at an early stage. 

Employee wellbeing 

Happy and healthy employees are essential for any business – not just from a moral perspective, but also because productivity increases, plus they’ll be more likely to recommend your company as a good place to work. However, it can be hard to get a good sense of what the team needs or how everyone is feeling when they’re working remotely. Contact time is often reduced to a few calls a week, which can make it hard to notice any issues. 

HR can address this problem by looking at any policies and making sure they’re fit for a remote team. For example, allowing some more flexibility than you did at the office can help team members balance all their commitments, and reduce stress. You should also ensure that everyone can take advantage of any benefits such as medical insurance, regardless of where they are geographically. 

A better future 

HR can be an essential part of a smooth transition to remote working for businesses. By placing people at the heart of the policies and ensuring a fair experience for everyone, both productivity and efficiency can increase. 

This post was supplied to by Kate Sands