Remote work is proving an increasingly popular option. Even before the global pandemic, there was a gradual move towards working from home.
The positives are apparent for both employers and employees: no office overheads, no commute, no stress, or rush. Naturally, the move towards a more decentralised business landscape was all but inevitable. However, there can be no doubt; the lockdowns have accelerated this progression by years, if not decades.
Such a monumental working from home change has naturally been difficult for many companies and their employees. Here are some essential tips to remember to ensure the transition to remote work is successful.
Create a clear set of policies
For any task or aspect of company life, it’s always valuable to have clear and concise policies. These will layout the expectation of employees, the hiring processes, and any necessary procedures. For remote work, the guidelines will naturally be dependent on the unique circumstances of each company. However, consider these primary areas:
– Tools: How are you going to communicate? How will information be shared?
– Communication: How are online meetings going to be run? When is an online meeting appropriate?
– Data management: Is there a cloud storage system? What is to be done with paper files?
– Availability: What are the working hours? Are employees allowed to be flexible with the time they are online?
– Productivity: What are the metrics for performance? How will managers keep track of projects and results?
Each of these areas will require a specific strategy for tackling the issues raised by remote work. You will need to be flexible, open-minded, and adaptable. It is not the same working world of yesteryear. It is an entirely new way of doing things.
Here are some ideas:
The Toolkit of Tomorrow
What is a plumber without a wrench or a farmer without a plough? Our tools enable us to complete our jobs; they are what make the modern world possible. There are two primary toolkits necessary to make remote work a success: video conferencing and cloud storage.
Video conferencing allows people to connect over vast differences, sharing ideas and collaborating. It will enable your employees to contact customers, to run virtual meetings, or to showcase your products to the world. There are a few issues that put employers off. Previously, when inviting a client to an office, you could wow them with your workplace.
Nowadays, in a video call, your client is more likely to see a pile of dirty washing or children running around, than they are to see an expensive boardroom. Therefore, check out Hello Backgrounds, for their selection of virtual backgrounds. On the website, they describe how to choose virtual backgrounds, providing hundreds of options from which to choose. Have all your employees use the same backdrop, to give the company a distinct image.
On the other hand, cloud storage allows the instantaneous transfer of information. If documents and files need to be accessed quickly, cloud storage is the way to go. It is essential to have a free flow of ideas and information within a company, improving efficiency and productivity. Without it, workers risk becoming siloed, separated from the answers and resources they need.
Managing from Afar
Back in the old days (or a few months ago), managers had the benefit of working amongst their teams. They could see their progress, the level of work and ability. It was easy to keep them motivated: to keep the ball rolling.
But how does a manager complete their job today, when removed from their teams?
Part of the solution is constant communication. Emails and chat messengers are useful for sending quick messages that require simple replies. Email is slightly more nuanced and formal. However, regular video conferencing both collectively with the team, but also with individuals will help create a collaborative culture.
During these meetings ask how the transition to remote work is going, and how it can be improved. Any difficulties will need to be ironed out. Additionally, encourage the team to communicate with each other, sharing any solutions or ideas they’ve produced. Using both the video conferencing and cloud storages services will maximise this flow of ideas.
Finally, let your team know that although you might seem distant, you are always available to talk and to answer any questions. A manager’s role is to support their teams, helping to boost their abilities and productivity.
Remote work is a challenge. But that’s not necessarily a terrible thing. With the right approach, businesses can adapt and grow from this sudden change. The world of work will never be the same, but with that comes all the benefits of a decentralised business landscape. More time with our families, less community, less money spent on extravagant offices. That can only be a good thing.