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Remote work checklist

The trend of remote working is continually growing in popularity, and increasingly more businesses are opting for this type of setup. If you’re one of these employers with a remote team, it’s essential to keep everything running smoothly.
This checklist outlines some essential steps for managing your remote team effectively so that your business can thrive.

What is a remote work checklist?

A remote work checklist is a guide for employers to help them manage their teams remotely. This includes setting up the right tools and procedures, as well as creating an effective communication plan.

The importance of a remote work checklist

There are many benefits to working remotely, but managing a team without face-to-face contact can also be challenging. Using a remote work checklist can help ensure that your team stays on track and productive while they’re away from the office. Both employees and employers will benefit from one, since it will establish some ground rules for communication and collaboration.

Who can benefit from our remote work checklist?

Our remote work checklist is handy for:

  • Business owners: it helps them identify if their business is ready to hire workers remotely and manage them effectively. As such, they can anticipate what challenges may arise to prepare accordingly.
  • HR departments: team members responsible for onboarding new employees will benefit from the remote work checklist because it will help them identify potential problems and cover them all.
  • Remote workers: they can use it to check which areas should be covered by their employer.
  • Non-exempt employees: to learn if remote work is for them.
Home office

Explore the remote work checklist

The basics:

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Remote work checklist

Be clear about your working hours, that is the times during which your employees are expected to be working.

Why is this step important?

Both employees and employers should pay attention to this. If people aren’t aware of their working hours, this can lead to problems with the productivity and efficiency of the team. Different employees having varied working hours can also cause friction between coworkers.

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Business hours setting in LiveAgent

How to handle this step?

You can ask employees when the best times for them to do their work are. The important thing is to figure out what would be best for your team, be that precise working times or flexible hours.

Which tools to use in this step?

You can use tools for time management like Trello or Toggl, etc.

Ensure that your employees understand their responsibilities. Don’t overly micromanage, as this will only cause frustration and lower productivity.

Why is this step important?

If everyone fully understands what their duties are and what is required of them, it will lead to a more productive work environment. Employees will feel like they’re contributing and know where they stand, while employers will be able to hold staff accountable for their actions.

Create-rule-in-LiveAgent
Example of LiveAgent’s Rules feature

How to handle this step?

Come up with job descriptions that outline the responsibilities of each position, and ensure that these are updated as needed.

Which tools to use in this step?

You can use collaboration tools like Trello, Asana, or Basecamp to create specific tasks for employees and track their progress.

Set up a clear remote work policy for handling holidays, breaks, vacations, and sick days.

Why is this step important?

Employers need to be able to handle absences so that work can continue, while employees must know what is acceptable in terms of taking time off.

How to handle this step?

It’s best to allow at least a few days off, some paid and others unpaid depending on the specific policy for each employee. Some employers even allow unlimited vacation time, but that usually requires trust from both parties and commitment to work responsibly without supervision. Ask staff to request their days off as far in advance as possible.

Which tools to use in this step?

Use Google Docs or Sheets to create a file where everyone can request days they want off, add notes, and see any changes in real-time.

Google calendar
source: calendar.google.com

Decide how often teams and all-hands meetings should be held, where, and when they are planned to take place.

Why is this step important?

Meetings are an essential part of any work process, so they should be practical and efficient if you’re going to hold them regularly. That way, everyone can stay focused on the task at hand without wasting time.

How to handle this step?

You should set up a regular meeting for team updates, for example, every Friday morning or Wednesday afternoon. You can also arrange ad-hoc meetings when something needs to be discussed immediately.

^Remote work^ checklist
source: calendar.google.com

Which tools to use in this step?

Slack, LiveWebinar, Zoom, or Google Hangouts are all great video communication tools for making video calls.

This is key for any remote team. Determine how you will communicate with your employees and ensure that everyone follows the guidelines.

Why is this step important?

If you don’t have a communication plan, things can quickly become chaotic. You need to establish a way for people to communicate quickly and effectively so that no one is left out of the loop.

How to handle this step?

It’s essential to have a way of tracking the progress of projects so that you can determine if someone is lagging behind. Furthermore, it’s helpful to be able to see what the team is actually doing day-to-day.

Which tools to use in this step?

You can use tools mentioned here earlier like Asana or Basecamp, but they are only effective if everyone uses them consistently.

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Every team needs a set of common values and goals so that everyone is on the same page and heading in the same direction.

Why is this step important?

Having company guidelines in place will help you attract future employees, but it’s also essential for staff retention. If your current workers feel like they’re part of a team and their values align with the company’s, they’re more likely to stay with the organization for longer.

How to handle this step?

You should create a list of core values and check whether or not everyone knows what they are. You can also create an employee handbook that outlines company policies and expectations.

Which tools to use in this step?

You can create a Google Docs document or create a short video/presentation about your company’s core values.

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Before they start working remotely, confirm that your employees have places to work that are conducive to productivity.

Why is this step important?

It will be impossible for your staff to work effectively if they are not doing so in an optimal environment. Not everyone has ideal conditions for working at home. If you want them to focus on their work, your staff need to have the resources and remote work tools that they need.

How to handle this step?

If possible, consider renting a physical workplace in their area (e.g. a coworking space). If not, at least try to provide them with better working conditions at home by supplying some equipment (chairs, desks, etc.)

Home office

Which tools to use in this step?

To find out if someone lacks an appropriate remote environment, you could survey them via Google Forms, for example.

When your team starts to work remotely, it’s essential to have a set plan for onboarding new employees.

Why is this step important?

If you don’t have an onboarding plan, it can be challenging to get new employees up to speed.

How to handle this step?

Plan video meetings and training sessions for your employees to become familiar with the new system quickly. During the first few weeks on the job, you can also create handbooks for each employee to read so that they can familiarize themselves with the company’s guidelines.

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Which tools to use in this step?

You can use LiveWebinar for online training sessions. Google Docs/Sheets are great for creating handbooks that everyone will have access to on the go.

Ensure that your remote workers have the tools they need to perform their work efficiently, such as a computer with all the necessary programs installed.

Why is this step important?

If your remote workers don’t have the proper personal devices or tools, it will be tough for them to complete their work. Before sending your team off to work remotely, provide them with the appropriate tools to do so.

How to handle this step?

Equip your employees with the right tools and devices.

Which tools to use in this step?

You can create a list of remote work requirements on Google Docs or Sheets. You should also consider investing in technology like cloud storage (e.g. Dropbox) and file sharing (Google Drive, for example).

Organized workspace - news, phone, calculator, notepad, laptop

A reliable Internet connection is a must for remote workers.

Why is this step important?

If an employee’s Internet goes down for even a few minutes, it can have significant consequences. This means you should check that they’re not experiencing any of these difficulties when working from home or any other locations.

How to handle this step?

You need to check everybody’s Internet speeds periodically. If there are any issues, you should contact your service provider right away and get them resolved as quickly as possible.

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Which tools to use in this step?

Pingdom is a great tool that allows you to monitor the status of an Internet connection from anywhere in the world.

You need to make sure that your employees have access to technical support if something doesn’t work correctly.

Why is this step important?

If your remote workers don’t have access to technical support, they may become frustrated and see it as a roadblock that prevents them from getting their work done. Therefore, you need to be sure that everyone has someone who can help them if and when they run into problems.

How to handle this step?

You should provide your employees with a list of support contacts including an email address and phone number, etc.

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Which tools to use in this step?

You can create a document (e.g. in Google Docs) outlining the technical support process and grant everyone on your team access to it. You should also consider investing in software that provides your employees with access to support 24 hours a day.

The safety obligations you set for your remote employees must be clear.

Why is this step important?

The safety of your employees should always be a top priority. They also should be aware of the dangers involved in working from home and understand the company’s safety policies.

How to handle this step?

Your employees need to be aware of their obligations to keep the whole company safe. Clearly explain to them what needs to be covered on their side and which elements they should focus on.

Woman holding smartphone and chatting on social media

Which tools to use in this step?

Geofencing is a great tool that allows you to track the location of an employee’s device and set boundaries that they cannot cross. Nevertheless, this step is only essential if your company holds really sensitive data, otherwise you should just trust your staff – it pays off.

Maintain regular updates for your team’s apps and devices.

Why is this step important?

If your remote employees don’t update their devices, they may become vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Verify whether or not everyone is taking care of regular updates and doesn’t neglect them for too long.

How to handle this step?

Create a document that contains a list of necessary updates so that everyone has access to this information.

Update

Which tools to use in this step?

You should consider investing in tools like Microsoft AutoUpdate (for Windows) or Mac OS X Update (for Apple devices), which will allow you to update all of your employees’ software automatically.

You need to identify areas where your employees are most likely to encounter safety issues.

Why is this step important?

If you know where the dangers lie, you can take steps that will help mitigate them and avoid any loss of productivity or efficiency. Identify all potential risks before they become a problem.

How to handle this step?

You should consider creating a safety risk map that outlines the areas in which your employees are most likely to run into danger.

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Which tools to use in this step?

You can use various tools to help you identify safety risk areas, including Geofencing, social media monitoring software (like Mediatoolkit), and Google Alerts.

You need to provide an emergency plan in case something goes wrong and to increase the security of workspace.

Why is this step important?

If something happens and your remote workers don’t know what to do, they could panic and make things worse. Set up a plan for increasing the security of your workplace so that everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.

How to handle this step?

You should create a document with a to-do list that outlines the emergency plan step-by-step.

Exit sign

Which tools to use in this step?

Those you use on a regular basis will be the ones your employees are most familiar with and can probably handle fastest.

One of the biggest problems with remote work is the inability to communicate with people directly. The mental health of remote workers is crucial, since they might spend most of their time within four walls.

Why is this step important?

If an employee starts to struggle with their mental health, it can have a massive impact on the company’s efficiency.

How to handle this step?

You need to make sure that everyone has access to help if they start struggling with anything, whether it’s a work-related issue or not.

^Remote work^ checklist

Which tools to use in this step?

You can conduct an anonymous survey via Google Forms or SurveyNuts, for example, to see how your employees are doing and find out if any problems need to be addressed.

Encourage your employees to have casual chats with their coworkers, even for non-work related purposes. This will help them feel more connected to the team and prevent any feelings of isolation.

Why is this step important?

If your employees start feeling like they’re in a fishbowl, it could become difficult for them to concentrate and do their work.

How to handle this step?

Pay attention to every opportunity for “remote” meetings, not only those about work but also to celebrate employees’ birthdays, for example.

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Which tools to use in this step?

Every webinar and messaging tool (LiveWebinar, Zoom, Google Hangout, etc.) will work here, just make sure that your employees turn on their cameras and microphones for meetings for that human touch.

It’s much more challenging to learn a new skill when you work remotely than it is in an office. provide your employees with alternative options and incentives to learn new skills, opportunities to better themselves, and access to technology that will help them do all of those things.

Why is this step important?

Giving your employees the opportunity to develop helps them to see their work as a career, not just another job. Encourage them to attend webinars or take courses related to their professional interests.

How to handle this step?

You may want to consider offering different types of training, such as video tutorials, webinars, or e-books. You could also ask your employees to complete training modules in their own time.

Woman explaining to team members stick notes

Which tools to use in this step?

When it comes to training your employees, there are many great tools at your disposal. You can use video conferencing software like Skype or Zoom to conduct live training, or platforms like Lynda.com and Coursera to offer online courses.

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Summary of remote work checklist

The basics:

  • State your working hours
  • Set up clear responsibilities and expectations
  • Decide about time off
  • Arrange meetings in advance
  • Set up a communication plan
  • Take care of company culture
  • Check your employees’ remote work environment
  • Plan remote onboarding

Technical aspects:

  • Make sure that your employees have the required devices
  • Grant everyone access to the Internet
  • Provide technical support

Safety:

  • Set safety obligations
  • Take care of regular updates
  • Identify safety risks
  • Write an emergency plan

Mental health:

  • Take care of wellbeing support for your employees
  • Facilitate casual chats with teammates
  • Provide your employees training options

FAQ

How do companies normally onboard remote employees?

There are many different ways to onboard remote employees, but most companies use various methods. One popular method is to create an online portal with all the information that a new employee will need, such as policies, procedures, contact info, and training materials. Another standard method is to assign a mentor who can help adapt the new employee to the company culture and answer any questions. Other methods include video chats, conference calls, and on-the-job training. Decide which method is most suitable for your business.

What makes for a successful remote employee onboarding experience?

A successful onboarding experience for remote employees should include: building relationships with other workers; learning how to work remotely; understanding company policies and procedures; understanding the company’s culture and getting plugged into internal communications channels. The key is giving people time and support to become acclimatized before they are thrown into 'high-stakes' situations. That way, they can feel confident that they'll be well supported by their teammates in the future whenever they need help too.

Do virtual employees benefit from a remote work experience?

Yes, virtual employees do benefit from a remote work experience. In fact, research has shown that remote employees are more productive and have less stress than their in-office counterparts. They also feel more engaged with their work and are less likely to leave their jobs. They feel comfortable working in their home environments and aren’t distracted by office politics, drama, or water cooler chats.

Where can I find a remote employee onboarding checklist?

We covered a remote work checklist above, but many of its steps can function as a stand-alone remote employee onboarding checklist too.

How to onboard virtual employees?

You should evaluate the specific skills and temperament of the individual in order to determine an appropriate onboarding strategy. This might include formal training sessions, skills auditing, or mentoring from a more experienced colleague. Some remote employees who have their own technical abilities may prefer to manage dependencies themselves, while others will require help setting up the necessary software. As such, you should consider what level of self-sufficiency you expect from a new hire before deciding on a strategy for how they will be onboarded.

What is the onboarding process for a new remote employee?

The onboarding process for a new remote employee generally includes the following steps: 1. Review job duties and expectations with the new employee. 2. Verify that they have the necessary tools and office equipment supplies to do their job from home. 3. Provide the employee with company policies and procedures, including those related to remote work. 4. Assist them with setting up their home office space. 5. Introduce them to other team members, both remotely and in-person, as appropriate. 6. Help the new employee get started on their first project.

What is the best way to organize remote work in 2022?

There is no single best way to organize remote work in 2022. It all depends on the policies, management philosophy, and how much autonomy it wishes to grant its employees. Generally speaking, three different organizational structures can be applied when managing a team of virtual workers: completely distributed teams with flexible work hours, partially distributed teams with set hours, and fully centralized teams with employees working from a designated office. Each of these structures has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it's essential to evaluate what will work best for your specific company.

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