The growing number of remote works in today's economy is exciting as it is staggering. While many companies and staff members were struck with the unfortunate blow of unexpected internal restructuring, others were more than happy to switch to remote teams; some even made this change permanently.
In this post, we'll be looking at how your firm can transition to remote work easily.
Between 2005 and 2017 saw an astronomical increase of 159% of the number of people working remotely. The recent pandemic has further made remote work compulsory for companies who want to continue serving their customers without stifling their growth.
Benefits of remote work
There are a variety of benefits that come with remote teams - some might even surprise you:
- Remote work is proven to improve productivity;
- Lower business expenses and overhead;
- Remote teams lower environmental footprint;
- Provides employees a chance to bolster work-life balance;
- Sometimes, the remote work setup just doesn't work for certain people, and being in an office space or a coworking space is what helps them unleash their creativity.
These benefits notwithstanding, there could be knotty issues with transitioning from working in the office to remote work. For a person who's always worked in an office, you are used to having people around, having those coffee breaks, and the usual office conversations. Now, you must be alone, far from this environment. It can be hard.
And for leaders and managers, keeping tabs on what employees are doing, keeping them motivated, and helping them deliver can be tasking. This is an adjustment that both employees and employers may need some time to get accustomed to - as with most changes in life.
Well, here are some tips to help firms transition to working from home. This could help your organization settle in quickly during this period of uncertainty and novel working conditions.
How your firm can transition to a remote workforce
1. Approach the situation with empathy
At a time like this, workers' mental health may not be in the best shape. Change doesn't come easily for many people. A leader should be emphatic when dealing with workers.
Try to understand their unique conditions and treat them like humans moving to a new phase they aren't very familiar with. In relaying the original terms of work to workers, ensure you make them feel like the whole team is together. Let every member of the team feel like they are cared for.
2. Alter your current work policy
It can be hard changing the work environment quickly. Ensure that a work policy is amended to suit your current state. An effective strategy would help the employees know what their work is, the frequency of meetings, how team members will communicate, and the tools that are made available to the workers to aid their work. A working policy should cover the basic guidelines for work.
Over time, the policy can be tweaked to suit the changing requirements. A policy that helps define a system for employees to work with will increase employee productivity. Also, a working policy helps workers know what goals to strive towards and what metrics they should attain.
Check out our guide on 10 remote work policy essentials.
3. Have a group meeting
A group meeting, before the team transitions, is imperative to get everyone's perspective on current and future developments.
As a leader, you should know how your employees feel about the change. Listen to them. Find solutions to some issues that arise to help them be equally- if not more productive at home.
4. Make provisions for remote working tools
As a leader, ensure that stipends are given to assist workers in footing the bills of some tools and operating equipment. A workspace fee, money for tables and chairs, and other forms of assistance go a long way in helping workers transition to remote work.
Also, provide software such as product management software, learning management systems, time-tracking software, performance management software, and cloud services. Of course, these tools will vary depending on your company's size and the type of work each department must handle.
5. Develop communication guidelines
Time for staff meetings should be adequately defined, and topics of discussion laid out beforehand. What kind of conversation is allowed in the meetings? What is the meeting schedule like? Who would be speaking, and on what topics?
Predefined rules for meetings will strengthen the internal business communication and help teams work together to accomplish the main goal.
Also, to foster unity and get everyone involved, the person who’d spearhead a meeting should be rotated. Rotating who’d lead the sessions helps everyone feel like they’re part of the team. And it helps to improve the camaraderie of the group.
6. Collaborate with employees to create a working schedule
As a leader, your main job is to get the team to work effectively. Although in your quest to seek optimal performance from team members, be emphatic to their unique needs.
Helping employees set a working schedule that mirrors what they had before they switched to remote work is a great way to become more productive.
You may also want to consider letting your employees have some additional work hour flexibility. This could be the perfect time to let go of the reigns just a bit and dictate their working hours. That tactic has worked well at our company - people worked at times they felt the most productive. This will need to be balanced out with some additional KPI reporting oversight to ensure everyone is still getting the work done.
7. Continuing communication
Communication has never been more important than at a time like this. Working from home takes workers away from the social life they are used to. Therefore, an open communication channel must allow all staff members to speak about their struggles and other things in between as they work remotely.
Giving time for small talks is essential in maintaining the emotional and social connection between staff members.
Furthermore, using videos and technology like Slack to help all the employees stay connected will ease the strain of social distancing and improve their mental health and productivity.
Communication should be regular at this point. Team members should check up on their colleagues from time to time, to let them know they are not alone. And if any employee has issues with any aspect of their work, encourage them to seek help from their colleagues. You can even set up some communication policies for your team which can help you improve your remote team's productivity.
8. Encourage employees to exercise
Employees, being at home, might feel too relaxed, and may not take time from their work to exercise.
As a leader, encourage workers to do a little exercise in between work. Sitting and staring at the laptop for hours is unhealthy for them.
As a matter of fact, our boss took the effort to order everyone skipping ropes to help get the blood flowing. Of course, those who choose to use them indoors may have made their downstairs neighbors a little unhappy, but I digress.
9. Having virtual tea parties and pizza parties
People connect well over a plate of food. Order pizzas or any food for the team. Schedule a time when everyone will have a virtual pizza party.
Small, social events like this build stronger bonds and continue developing camaraderie between colleagues regardless of location.
Bonus tip: improve your cybersecurity
As everything is going to be online, including the sharing of important information among your colleagues, increasing the security measures of your company is extremely important to consider.
Because of this, companies and remote teams should consider investing in a virtual private network service provider. With a VPN, your team will have a secure and encrypted connection with the ability to connect with your firm’s branches worldwide without worry.
We are in tough times. Companies were hesitant to embrace remote work and telecommuting.
However, some extenuating circumstances have forced our hand. Every company, regardless of size, is looking at remote teams as a wholly rational and viable method of continuing prosperity.
Hopefully, some of these tips - with a dash of personal experience - have or will make your transitional period go that much smoother.
Relevant: 8 steps to creating a hybrid workplace