How I would make remote work, work for therapists

  • By Annie Mork
  • Published on August 10, 2023

So, you’ve listened and allowed your employees to work remotely, or you simply had no choice but to pivot to remote work due to high demand for these wonderful working conditions. Now what? How do you retain employees and keep them happy? I’ve recently joined the remote world for speech therapy and in my limited experience I have some thoughts…let me know what you think!

Build Community

As someone who moved from being in a school, getting to help kindergarteners release butterflies, and chasing down teachers who I needed the inside scoop from, let me tell you it can feel kind of isolating when you start working remotely. The kids are great (and still very entertaining), but my day to day interactions are much less.

I would HIGHLY recommend implementing a chat feature for your company. A place for workplace chit-chat. What does this allow? Well for one, community. I’m not saying your company is your “family” (instant cringe), but rather we spend 8+ hours a day working for our respective companies. It would be nice to know what podcasts people are listening to, talk about current events, and share funny stories from our day. By implementing this, you build community as well as engagement. See your employees as people. Speaking as a SLP, I know that we are dying to talk with other people. It’s quite literally our job.

Manager Check-Ins

I don’t know about y’all, but I love a good check-in, one-on-one, whatever you wanna call it. If your employees are remote, how else do you know if they are performing well or at the very least engaged in their work? You also get to know what’s happening at the most integral part of your company. Your therapists will be able to tell you what’s going well and what needs work. If you’re not checking in, you are in the dark and so are they. It’s an opportunity to provide guidance and support, but also get to know what your employees are interested in and see where they might fit in in other areas of the company.

Which leads me to my third point…

Company Check-Ins

I get it, it’s scary to send out a whole company survey and let them run wild with their suggestions and probably more often complaints. BUT, the positive here is again your people with boots on the ground can tell you what’s really happening, and they will also most likely have the best ideas to fix those problems. A once a year check in doesn’t cut it. I would suggest at least quarterly, and then implement changes as soon as you can. If people don’t see change, there’s a good chance they’re going to go somewhere else leaving you with bigger issues.

Can you tell communication is my jam? I could maybe make an argument that communication is at the heart of everything, but I won’t go there today. In my opinion, remote work is a fantastic opportunity for those who want to take it on, but it has to be done well. There are lots of opportunities for therapists, if you don’t do it well, well they have plenty of options elsewhere.