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Empowering and Valuing Remote Teams: 3 Best Practices

Janet Martin August 4, 2022

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Document Management
According to Pew Research Center, nearly 60% of American workers whose jobs can be performed from home are still working remotely in 2022, even though their workplaces are now open and, for many, concerns over COVID-19 have subsided.

But why exactly is remote work so attractive? Some workers cite increased flexibility and improved productivity; others say they enjoy saving the time and money that commuting requires and spending more time with their families.  

Of course, there are some challenges to remote work, too. For example, some workers experience more distractions when working at home—whether those distractions take the form of small children to keep an eye on or a towering pile of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. It can  also be tough for remote workers to develop relationships with coworkers, leaving some feeling isolated and struggling with mental health issues. 

Clearly, remote work (and its mixed bag of pros and cons) isn’t going anywhere. Thus, this trend serves as a clarion call for employers in every industry to re-examine how their remote teams are managed, compensated, and recognized for their contributions.   

We’ll help you get started by diving into three best practices for empowering and valuing remote teams:

  1. Strengthen your approach to compensation. 
  2. Equip your remote teams with the best possible tools for the job. 
  3. Recognize your employees in meaningful ways. 

Prioritizing remote workers’ experiences and doing everything you can to demonstrate your loyalty and appreciation to your remote teams will improve employee engagement and retention. 

You can take your efforts a step further and work with an HR consulting firm. A consultant can bring HR-specific expertise and a third-party perspective to your organization, helping you assess your current processes and systems and implement sustainable improvements. 

Ready to learn about how to strengthen your organization’s approach to remote work? Let’s dive in. 

Strengthen your approach to compensation. 

A great place to start when assessing your organization’s approach to empowering and valuing remote teams is your compensation strategy. 

An effective compensation strategy will not only provide financial and non-financial benefits to employees for their work. It will also demonstrate how your organization values remote team members’ contributions and how those contributions align with role-specific performance expectations. 

Our recommendation for improving your compensation strategy is to take a total rewards compensation approach. This kind of approach encourages employers to take a holistic view of how employees are compensated and consists of two parts: 

Direct Compensation: Direct compensation includes the direct financial ways employees are compensated, like: 

  • Salary
  • Commissions 
  • Allowances
  • Bonuses
  • Overtime pay 
  • Equity benefits

Indirect Compensation: Indirect compensation includes all of the non-financial ways (both the tangible and intangible) that employees are compensated:

  • Benefits (e.g. health insurance, retirement plans, PTO, etc.) 
  • Scheduling flexibility
  • Performance recognition
  • Career development opportunities
  • Internal culture

Characterizing both aspects of compensation as a larger, more comprehensive total rewards approach can benefit your remote employees and your relationships with those employees in a few different ways. 

For example, a total rewards approach can lead to better employee engagement and retention, as remote workers view their compensation as fair and benefiting different areas of their life. And, your organization’s managers and other leaders can more clearly connect tangible benefits to performance and productivity, ensuring your performance management processes for remote team members are carried out fairly and encourage open communication and improvement. 

When updating or creating your total rewards approach, it can be helpful to partner with a compensation consultant. Their assistance can be especially valuable when you roll out your new program to your remote employees and need help communicating changes in the best way possible. 

Equip your remote teams with the best possible tools for the job. 

One of the challenges of remote work is optimizing workflow between team members. After all, in an office, it’s easy to turn around and speak with a team member about a snag in a project or knock on a supervisor’s office door to get a signature on an important document. 

But with remote teams, the process looks a lot different, and can be more difficult without the right tools empowering your employees to not only complete tasks but complete them to the best of their abilities. 

You’ll need the right tech stack on your side in order to streamline your remote teams’ workflow experience. Here’s what we recommend: 

  • Document Management System: A cloud-based document management system (DMS) can empower teams to store and manage digital documents with greater network security, version control, and collaboration capabilities. In other words, your remote team can securely access, work on, and pass on documents from anywhere in the world. No email attachments (or worse, printing!) needed. 
  • Video Conferencing Apps: Video meetings can be extremely valuable for remote teams, giving them a chance to have a face-to-face work experience from their respective locations. A tool like Zoom or Microsoft Teams can empower teams to communicate quickly, collaborate through screensharing capabilities, and more.
  • Fundraising Automation Tools: If your organization is a nonprofit, you’ll need easy-to-use fundraising automation tools to empower your remote workers. With the right tools, you can process gifts securely and capture and store essential donor data.  
  • Focus Apps: Some remote team members may benefit from using apps or browser extensions that block specific sites or limit the amount of time you spend on them in order to stay productive. 

Tools like these won’t just help your employees to do their jobs—they’ll also help keep remote workers engaged and interested in their work. After all, having the right tools available to complete a task makes the entire experience better. For example, you’d never want to dig a hole in your garden using a plastic spoon. A shovel would make the experience more time and energy efficient, and thus more enjoyable! 

Recognize your employees in meaningful ways.

According to Astron Solutions’ guide to employee recognition, “when your employees feel seen and appreciated in their roles, they’ll be more productive and loyal workers, and you’ll be more likely to retain them in the long run.” 

Recognition is especially important for remote teams, because remote employees aren’t always able to immediately see how their contributions are providing value to their fellow team members or the rest of the organization as a whole. 

For example, say a remote team member suggests a better method for tracking business-wide key performance indicators (KPIs). The change might result in an improved experience for multiple team members, but with the hurdle of sending additional emails or hopping on a video call, that person might not be recognized for their contribution in a timely manner (or at all).  

This is why it’s important to plan regular, meaningful recognition efforts for remote teams. Need some ideas? Here are five of our favorites: 

  • Thank-You Cards: Handwritten notes or a quick email to say “thanks” are the easiest way to let someone know you appreciate their work. Go the extra mile to personalize the note and get it to the recipient in a timely manner!
  • Virtual Bravo Board: A virtual bravo board is a slide deck that you use in team-wide or organization-wide meetings. Encourage managers and other employees to “bravo” each other by putting the bravo recipient’s name on a slide and a short explanation of what that recipient achieved. 
  • LinkedIn Recommendations: LinkedIn recommendations help boost an employee’s professional profile and can be a great way to help them form more connections with people in their industry. Your recommendation doesn’t have to be complicated, either! Simply express what makes the person stand out in the workplace. 
  • Gift Bags: Everyone loves to receive snail mail. Send gift bags to your remote employees that include items like office supplies, gift cards, water bottles, snacks, headphones, and power banks. 
  • Subscriptions: There are a number of subscription services available to offer your employees, from music and video streaming services to meditation apps and meal-kit delivery services. Plus, your employee will be reminded of their accomplishment every time they use their subscription!

There are dozens of other employee recognition ideas out there. As you consider your different options, consider what you know about your remote teams and what they value. Strive to employ recognition strategies that will resonate with them and benefit them in their work-from-home experience. 

As an employer of remote teams, it can feel next-to-impossible to find success in engaging and retaining your remote employees. After all, without face-to-face interactions, it can be hard to judge how their employment experience is going and what you can do to improve it. However, by implementing these three strategies, you can provide your remote employees with the best experience possible and ensure your employees feel invested in your organization’s long-term success. 

Looking to make your workflows, document storage, and AP payments accessible from anywhere? Get a demo today to see how PairSoft can set your remote team up for success.

Headshot of Janet Martin

Janet Martin

Janet joined the PairSoft team upon its merger with Paramount Workplace, where she was also an integral part of the sales team for years. Janet resides in Michigan with her family.

View all posts by Janet Martin
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