Embrace technology – it may be that you use technology already to stay in touch at work, but if not, there are some really easy systems that can help.
A shared calendar is ideal if the current system you use allows this.
For meetings I tend to use Zoom or Skype for Business, but there are lots of other options. Choose one that allows everyone to be visible and interact, and also one that allows you to share your screen with the team.
Apps like Slack or Ryver are ideal for sending messages to either individuals or the team but can be great for just keeping in touch too. Some, like Microsoft Teams (which is also a great option for virtual meetings), make sharing information easy. I also use WhatsApp regularly, setting up Broadcast Lists for different groups of people.
Be Flexible – in the current environment, it is important to recognise that, for some staff, working 9-5 may not be practical. If possible, give them flexibility to work when they can be most focused and productive. Your approach to your people will need to be flexible – it cannot be about treating everyone exactly the ‘same’. Rather, it is about treating everyone with the same respect and trust
Health and Safety – Employers have a duty of care for all their employees, including homeworkers. You will need to carry out a risk assessment to check whether the proposed home workplace is suitable for the tasks they will be carrying out. You can find lots more information on this from ACAS.
Trust – You can’t micro-manage remote teams. But if you get the above right you won’t need to. Developing trust is, without a doubt, one of the most important things you will need to do.
There are definitely things you need to put in place to make homeworking effective – but if you get it right you will have a strong, loyal, productive team. As someone who has worked in and managed remote teams for over 15 years, it is definitely my preferred way of working. You never know, it might become yours too.