Having your staff working from remote locations offers businesses a lot of flexibility and advantages, but there are also a number of challenges involved. One of the most important considerations is how to best provide training for remote staff.
In recent years, the number of businesses that embrace remote working has skyrocketed. For some companies, this is as simple as letting their existing staff work from home either on a permanent or as-needed basis, while for other companies remote working takes the form of outsourced workers who are often based overseas.
The reasons for the rapid uptake are numerous.
From a technology and productivity point of view, the advances in cloud-based file storage and sharing means employees can quickly and easily access, edit and share work files anywhere, any time.
For the staff, remote working allows them to cut out travel times, live wherever they want, and improve work-life balance.
Employers also benefit as it allows them to access top staff from around the globe, not just their local area, retain staff that they might have otherwise left, save on office space and overheads, and in the case of offshore staff, they will usually save on staff wages as well.
However, despite the many advantages that embracing remote staff offers, it is crucial that companies invest time into training their remote employees.
There are a number of great communication tools out in the market that can be easily accessed to assist with staff training. Instant messaging and video conferencing tools to make training more interactive and accessible, while recording processes via webinars can also be a good option as it allows the training to be shared with any new staff and can be a great resource that staff can refer back to.
The single best option, however, for remote staff training is to periodically meet the staff face to face.
At Cloudstaff, our customers frequently visit our offices in the Philippines for staff training, as well as invite the staff to their home countries for additional training.
We often receive feedback that after face to face training, our customers are able to take the team’s performance to the next level. To find out how they were able to do this, we interviewed a number of staff members who had recently spent time overseas training with their clients.
Here is what they shared with us:
Staff get equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills needed for the job
Paolo, who works as a Purchasing Officer, needs to ensure that customers get their orders complete and on time. His client decided to bring him to Australia for training. Both believed that although technology allows them to communicate with one another even when they are miles apart, there are some things that just can’t be taught over the phone.
Paolo told us that meeting his managers and the team in Australia has really helped him to know exactly what they want in a job and how they want them to be done. He was able to realise how important his role is for the company and how it affects the overall processes, and it urged him to do better.
Staff learn about the value of ownership
Working as an Assistant Property Manager, Collin is responsible for the reference checking of rental applicants in their office. She also assists during open house events and is expected to provide excellent customer service to landlords and tenants to benefit both parties.
Her employer wanted her to see the actual process from start to finish so they decided to bring her to Australia. Meeting her Australian team made her see both how professionally their office is run and allowed her to build closer relationships with the team. She told us that this made her more comfortable to ask for further assistance with her tasks.
Collin also mentioned that she learned a lot about the value of owning her work—that providing customer service is not enough—and that the key to doing her work is to understand how people from different cultures value their houses and have different expectations and needs.
Staff can come up with better strategies to improve remote support
As a current IT Manager, Regino is in-charge of the deployment, maintenance and troubleshooting of all IT systems for his employer.
Regino was recently brought to his company’s Melbourne office to help with their transfer to a bigger location. While there, he also took the chance to document and create diagrams of their existing server and network infrastructure so it can be easier for him to address any issues in the future.
Now that Regino has a clearer picture of the current infrastructures and system setup, it has been easier for him to provide remote support—whether he is in the Philippines or in another Australian state.
Staff learn how to communicate better
Communication is the backbone of organisations. When sharing an office, colleagues have the luxury of interacting face to face and getting to know each other personally.
For Jenmar, a Business Development Manager, visiting his boss and co-workers in Australia helped them improve their methods of communicating with one another.
While they had previously been able to communicate effectively, Jenmar says that getting the chance to know each other and bond has allowed them to learning each other’s culture. This, he says, has allowed them to speak and communicate in ways that they hadn’t previously been able to do.
Staff feel that they are part of the family
Paolo was brought to Australia not only for the training, but also so that he could attend the company’s anniversary. This gesture from his employer made him feel that he is a valued member of the team even though he works remotely from the rest of his colleagues.
Likewise, Collin says that she was overwhelmed with the hospitality shown by her employer. After spending days training in the office, her colleagues took her out for after-work activities such as wildlife tours, fruit picking, shopping and even had invitations to spend Christmas together with their families and friends.
When employees feel that they are not only part of the process but of the whole organisation itself, they feel more empowered and motivated to do their best. It improves staff morale, productivity, and retention.
Cloudstaff believes that filling your organisation with the right staff and providing appropriate training is the key to setting your company up for success. To learn more about training tips and techniques for setting up and training remote staff, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org