Amazing how fast it happens, one day your entire team is in the office and the next......everybody is home. It's becoming more and more apparent that working remotely is quickly moving from a select segment of workers to more of a negotiating tool and go-forward strategy for the masses.
So what can you do to empower your remote workers?
The "shift" of remote workers back to the office, at least part-time, means you may have some technology gaps in your toolkit.
Collaboration and communication are becoming more fluid every day. And now that workers are getting a stronger sense of their new found "home-work" balance, you may be finding your team is looking for better ways to manage the new-life balance effectively.
Are you ready to welcome this remote working change into your structure?
Fully embracing and incorporating remote working should be a choreographed process that you’re well prepared for. We have a few recommendations for your team to help your business to have a most successful transition.
What are the benefits of a remote workforce?
Pre-Covid the hesitation was real. Most business owners wanted physical presence from each team member thinking that productivity and accountability would be reduced by a remote workforce.
Then we all went home.
Turns out, they weren't totally correct. Almost a year later, business are finding a multitude of benefits with a remote or partially remote workforce.
Some of the key benefits for businesses looking to shift to become a remote workforce are as follows:
Did you realize cost savings or profitability in 20202?
Businesses report 21% higher profitability, or an average of $11,000 worth of savings per part-time remote worker.
Are your employees more engaged?
I never would have though it would happen but, employee engagement jumped! A reported 41% decrease in absenteeism shows that removing commutes and allowing workers a little flexibility brings them to the table. Businesses have also reportedly seen a 12% reduction in turnover as a result of introducing remote work.
How was your team's productivity?
Reports suggest that remote employees are more productive than their office-based counterparts by up to 40%. Wondering why? As teams get back together, it might be worth doing a post-covid focus group to help your management team organize future efforts. We have a few guesses but we'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
In Upwork’s 2019 Future Workforce report, 55% of hiring managers said that remote work is likely to grow significantly in the decade ahead. Employees seem to appreciate the option and the pandemic has given business leaders a chance to see differently the benefits of a remote team. Why wait, it's time to take this new information and redefine your team's remote workspace.
So, maybe it wasn't all roses.
What were your remote team challenges and how can we do this better?
In the beginning of the shift last year, we all learned a few lessons. Watch your camera angles. Feed the kiddos first. Put the dog out back....there were some great moments (that we can all chuckle about now).....
Before your team can thrive in a remote environment, it might be good to put a committee together to troubleshoot the issues you saw and reconfigure a few options.
Here are some of the key concerns we heard from our team (and our client's teams) regarding remote working and some top tips on how you might overcome them:
Did your company culture take a hit?
Defining, communicating and keeping your company culture in a remote world is immeasurably more difficult. Your lost coffee room chats, and quick catchups in the hall don't seem like they'll impact your culture until they do. Now imagine how difficult it is for your new team members. Is it even possible to relay your values in an impactful way to someone who isn't physically present?
Consider offering a "team mentor", which is essentially like offering a personal company coach to show them the ins and out of the team structure and values. (Also, not a bad idea for a physical team.)
This person is in charge of team bonding in the form of a ‘values mentor’ whereby a longer-standing member of the team might buddy up with a co-worker to discuss company culture and values and how they might incorporate these into their workday.
Some businesses have internal awards ceremonies or friendly competitive incentives whereby colleagues nominate team members who have shown dedication to company culture and specific values. These simple strategies might just give your company culture more longevity in a remote environment.
Simplify, one application for all interactions
Keep your team connected and collaborating while working remotely.Find out how
How can you help your team deal with isolation and loneliness?
Let's face it, working remotely can be a little lonely. Buffer’s State of Remote Survey found that 20% of remote workers feel that this was their biggest struggle when it comes to remote work. Remember, most of your younger workforce is driven by experiences and interactions. Now they're removed and also dealing with FOMO (fear of missing out). Frankly, for many, this is the biggest issue they have with remote work. Begin a policy of wide-open communication to help your team feel more connected.
ABP Pro-tip: Schedule regular video calls, switching from simple "catch-ups" to a format that allows your whole team to get some much-needed face time. Use video conferencing software for everything, regular 1-2-1, informal catchups with remote team members, or even implement a regular virtual team building activity via conference call to help your team get more face-to-face interaction and feel more unified.
Did your remote team struggle with managing time and projects?
Time management also seems to become a bigger issue while working as part of a remote team. Without a clear policy in place or a lack of effective communication, it can be a little unclear what is expected of your remote workforce. Add to that the myriad of distractions of home life merging with work, it’s important to help them set their work structure early.
Also, help them by defining KPI's so they understand how you are measuring their effectiveness. Does your organization value time on the clock, or is should your team be more focused on deliverables? Define the group strategy based on your core goals.
ABP's Pro-tip: Now it's more important than ever to be clear on your definitions of goals and deliverables for your team. Implementing the right communication tools to encourage open and efficient collaborations along with project management software such as Trello might be a good place to start. Make sure your tools integrate, to allow better efficiency between different applications and platforms.
According to a survey conducted by Monster, over two-thirds of employees are experiencing burnout because of home working. While it’s seen as a major perk by many, home working has blurred the line between life and work like never before. Ensuring you advocate a virtual working environment whereby employees know when to switch off is imperative when it comes to the health and wellbeing of your remote employees.
ABP Pro-tip: Introduce a new policy which advocates switching off at a certain time to ensure employees can feel confident in allowing time to themselves without feeling they are still ‘on the clock’. If your team works across global time zones, it’s even more important to lay down the ground rules when it comes to contact hours.
**adapted from RingCentral