Rather than just restoring operations to "normal," we advise leaders to evaluate how they can use recent remote-work insights to prepare for a potential remote/hybrid workforce. Going forward, leaders must consider their strategies and practices for remote work in a systematic way. And now is the time to start preparing, whether you are in charge of a big enterprise or a small one.
The first and most critical question for any leader at this time is: how do I look after my staff and clients while still protecting my company in the days and weeks ahead? Since there is no fixed date for when physical sites will reopen, whole companies are transitioning to operating remotely. Some companies may also have the technologies and resources in order to assist their employees in navigating this situation. Still, in order for everyone to keep up, each company must build and implement a competitive remote work strategy quickly.
It is also not all about technology. Moving to a remote-first system necessitates a full rethinking of how companies run, as well as a significant shift in our attitude about work and how we communicate with it on a daily basis. We will assist you with your remote work strategy in this post.
The Most Difficult Aspects Of Remote Employment
These challenges can be resolved with a well-thought-out plan and proper planning and coordination by staff management. Let us begin by looking at what seems to be the most difficult aspects of working remotely
For remote workers: Collaborating and lack of communication, Feelings of loneliness, Unplugging after work, reliable wifi and technology, distractions at home, and losing motivation
For Managers and Human Resources Teams: Team cohesion suffers, Reduced employee focus and productivity, Maintaining company culture, Implications for the employee’s career
1. Company policies
Remote work can necessitate changing company policies to accommodate the needs of a scattered workforce. Companies will need to answer the following questions when they rethink their strategies.
The right mix of remote work
Nature of the work: Remote work is best for projects that do not require a lot of teamwork or communication with others. Remote work that is highly collaborative can be competitive, but it takes more time to handle. Few jobs, obviously, cannot be done remotely, but they are likely to be less than you expect. Companies are pushing the limits of remote work, using robotics and virtual reality to allow remote system repair in manufacturing for example.
The workforce's experience level: New employees or others that have just been promoted benefit from an initial period of time in the workplace, both to establish relationships and to acquire implicit knowledge that is easier to learn in the office setting. If the majority of the staff is remote, synchronous simulated orientation sessions or on-site retreats can be helpful.
Employee preferences: Given the diversity of personalities and remote job interests, individual decisions should be considered. Even if certain workers express interests now, those discussions can be revisited as job schedules and routines become more defined.
Work From Anywhere (WFA) policy
Employees would be free to live anywhere they wanted as long as they were able to do their jobs well with the company. Early WFA research suggests that allowing workers regional freedom allows them to achieve larger life goals like "residential satisfaction," and that this advantage can potentially improve employee productivity when compared to WFH conditions.
WFA's business considerations include the prospect of expanding its workforce base and competing for increasingly sought-after workers. Company executives must also decide how to better take advantage of asynchronous work in a WFA system when addressing scheduling and task coordination issues.
HR policies Updates
- Potential candidates' skills and competencies, such as self-motivation, initiative, and successful interactive interactions, can require new or different recruitment techniques.
- Compensation decisions, such as changing wages for operating at home and scaling pay based on regional offices, are critical to think about. According to one study, about 44% of staff will be able to take a 10% salary cut in order to operate remotely permanently.
- Benefit packages should be updated to accommodate the change away from on-site perks and into more remote choices. For example, as a substitution for a former gym membership gain, one of our corporate contacts has begun accepting a company-provided Peleton subscription.
Companies are gradually understanding the social and psychological aspects of remote work are just as relevant as technological and business policy preparation.
Companies can have training on behavioral skills that have been shown to improve remote employment, such as forming working standards, building trust, developing successful virtual contact habits, and integrating social aspects into virtual work relationships. In addition, hybrid team collaboration preparation can be helpful in retaining equity between remote and on-site workers.
2. Management practices
Organizations should suggest adjusting management processes and behaviors to a distant or mixed job environment in addition to business policies. As part of the move to a longer-term remote workforce, executives should address the following issues
a healthy working climate for remote workers
Establishing a workplace environment that is welcoming and constructive for remote employees would be one of the most critical aspects of maintaining a remote or hybrid workforce in the long term. A leader-supported statement of organizational objectives relevant to remote work is one valuable method. Similar positive comments and actions from leaders may have a big effect on the post-pandemic remote-work climate.
Managing work and life priorities
Leaders have the ability to assist staff in enacting models to successfully balance job and life in a remote or blended work environment. This may include showing that the aim is not really to achieve optimal harmony, but rather to develop a work-life pattern that fits better for them.
Employees appeal to their superiors for guidance on how to do this. According to studies on boundary management, there are many forms of boundaries that leaders may help their workers create and retain, including Physical (Where to work), Temporal (When to work), Relationships (when is it okay for colleagues to reach out), Cognitive and Behavioral.
According to research, high-performing teams have a psychological climate in which workers feel comfortable speaking up, asking for advice, and offering solutions without fear of being humiliated or ostracized. In a remote work environment, psychological protection is critical, and it can be enhanced when managers ask questions, expose weaknesses, invite all team members to participate, and promote taking risks.
3. Clear communication
A consistent contact approach is at the core of every good remote work program. Every day, leaders must express precisely what they want from each employee. It is critical to define roles, tasks, and deadlines.
Managers must ensure that all workers perform their assignments on schedule and on a consistent standard, rather than relying only on detailed time monitoring.
Employees mistrust and dissatisfy tools like electronic time stamps because they feel dominated by them. Online work scheduling systems that are open to all staff members are much more suited for calculating effectiveness. To better communications:
- Leaders should lay out a strategy that includes traditional FAQs, technological and digital tools, and a contact list. Be sure that all of the supervisors give those to their workers so that they know what to expect and who to contact if problems occur.
- Establish working habits for workers so that they learn where, how, and why they can meet with their supervisors.
- Make a list of objectives, deadlines, and outcomes which can be evaluated.
- Decide on the most critical tasks so that everyone is on the same page: main working hours, contact procedures, responsibilities, etc.
Trust your remote teams to succeed
The secret ingredient to an efficient dispersed workforce is trust, but there are a few other main techniques for making remote work a success.
Leaders must then encourage team members to work in a manner that suits them until they are encouraged to prioritize the tasks they have been assigned.
Dropbox's global head of media innovations, Andy Wilson, said
"Once employees feel they are trusted to manage their own time and have the right tools in order to reach business goals, business leaders have cleared a path to optimal output, and these results will in turn lead to an increase in trust from managers – it's a virtuous circle."
4. Productivity and continuity
It is critical to set smart targets and other relevant core success metrics. It helps you and your colleagues to come to a consensus on the outcomes you intend to achieve.
Employees can chart their progress toward pre-determined milestones and, as a result, accomplish their objectives. It also keeps them organized by letting them see how far they have come.
The below are some of the most common methods for ensuring employee productivity and company continuity:
- Make sure that the staff has everything they require to work from home.
- To save files, just use digital tools. Scan and upload any documentation that your workers might need.
- Make sure you bring any physical materials you may need home with you. Consider potential privacy and privacy conditions, and if in doubt, consult with the legal team.
It is important for a distributed workforce to use chat and interactive meeting tools to foster teamwork. According to Steve Jobs,
"Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they're doing, you say 'Wow,' and soon you're cooking up all sorts of ideas."
Managers should advocate for innovative technologies to facilitate remote video calls and improve staff morale. In the original remote work strategy plan, determine if you want the teams to communicate, whether that means calling either in an emergency or using Slack. Make a conscious effort to set aside time to socialize with coworkers. For eg, you can take virtual coffee breaks with the "Donut" App.
6. High-end technology
Remote work necessitates technology that links directly to the organization's platforms, files, and processes.
Although the practice has certainly gained interest in recent years, many companies have been caught off guard when it comes to integrating the systems required to keep things going smoothly outside of the workplace. However, there are also moves that company executives and owners should take right now to get the tools and technologies they need to run their companies effectively from home.
Internet Video Conferencing
As you would expect, the usage of video conferencing tools, websites, and services has risen rapidly in recent weeks. As companies, schools, and event planners switch meetings and classes to conferencing platforms, web conferencing services are reporting record usage. Organizations who are new to these networks are rapidly learning that they need more bandwidth to satisfy increased demand.
Meetings are needed, after which it is necessary to switch to a voice or video call of some kind. Your organization could still have a video conferencing system in place; all that needs to be done now is to ensure that everybody has access to it (and there are enough licenses).
If you do not already have a company-wide choice, you should check at Zoom, Slack Video, Skype, and other options. Check out which one fits well for you. If you're more interested in this topic, we recommend checking this article, with full resources and examples.
If clear lines of contact have been developed, the next step in implementing a successful remote work plan is to make it possible for teams to collaborate. It is important to move enterprise records and processes to the cloud so that they can be viewed from anywhere and on various platforms.
Without the need for a local hard disk or lengthy email chains, the cloud effectively integrates collaborative work through day-to-day operations, enabling colleagues to exchange and update data, reference essential details, and even view fresh training materials.
Offsite storage of business data adds another layer of confidentiality. Migrating sensitive data and operations to the cloud will also secure a business from a variety of risks, including hard disk failure or loss.
Invest in a dependable cloud solution for your organization to reduce the chance of losing sensitive company data.
7. Plan for an Emergency
Prepare for the working from home scenario
If remote work becomes a requirement (as it has for many), make sure workers are comfortable using remote software, accessing critical business data, and understanding the fundamentals of remote contact while operating from home.
Employees who are worried about their health
Employees may be reluctant to attend a clinic, urgent care center, or hospital for fear of being infected with the coronavirus.
Employee services that include telehealth may help to relieve fear and anxiety. Platforms like Trapollo allow teams to obtain essential medical assistance without exposing themselves to the media.
Employees should also contact a healthcare provider without risking infection to ask questions or get medication for illnesses other than coronavirus.
This is an important option to explore if the healthcare policy does not provide a telehealth provider.
8. Maintaining company culture
When work shifts to more remote/hybrid systems, business culture may need to be reinforced or refined. In a distributed workforce, transmitting knowledge of the organization's essential norms, beliefs, and assumptions becomes more complicated.
Town halls and special lunches to create common events, pulse review polls to see how shared beliefs are being communicated to staff and intentional communications around activities and projects vital to the company are both suggestions for maintaining community in a virtual world.
Dunja Heinrich, director HR EMEA at Red Hat, says:
"The famous quote 'culture eats strategy for breakfast', attributed to management consultant Peter Ducker, could not ring more true given the current challenges organizations face when managing the pandemic."
The Business Benefits to Adopting A Remote Work Strategy
Lower Workplace Costs
Because you have fewer workers, you require fewer office rooms. The amount of money saved on real estate depends on the economy and the scale of the company, but it has far-reaching consequences. You are saving money on things like tables, seats, mugs, cups, beer, and office supplies.
Employee performance can be increased
To increase productivity and job satisfaction, a successful remote work platform would require careful consideration of strategy, policy, and procedures. However, each organization's remote work will certainly look different, and not everyone will be able to address the three main elements in the same order. The mission at hand is to make remote work more than just a perk for workers.