With the continued rise of remote work, many companies are being forced to balance their office and remote teams. While some companies have become fully remote, others have opted for a hybrid approach where employees can choose to work from the office or remotely. In either case, it’s crucial to have a remote-first mindset.
What is a remote-first mindset? It’s the idea that remote work is not a temporary situation, and it’s not a secondary option to work in the office. Instead, remote work is considered the default way of working, and everything else is adjusted accordingly. Here are some tips for balancing your office and remote teams and creating a remote-first culture within your company.
Make sure all communication is digital
If remote work is going to be the default way of working, then all communication should be digital. Emails, instant messaging, video conferencing, and collaborative software should be the primary methods of communication. When everyone is communicating digitally, it makes it easier for remote workers to feel included and for everyone to be on the same page.
Create a culture of inclusivity and equality
It’s essential to create a culture of inclusivity and equality across all teams, whether they are in the office or remote. When there are discrepancies in how different teams are treated, it can lead to a feeling of exclusion or resentment. Remote workers should feel like they are valued members of the team and are given the same opportunities for growth and advancement as their office counterparts.
Use collaborative tools to keep everyone on the same page
When balancing office and remote teams, it’s important to use collaborative tools to keep everyone on the same page. Software such as Trello, Asana, or Monday.com can help manage projects and ensure everyone is aware of what needs to be done. Additionally, setting up a company wiki can help employees access the same information regardless of their work location.
Have regular one-on-ones
Regular one-on-ones are essential for both office and remote employees. For remote workers, it can help them feel connected and provide an opportunity to ask questions or voice concerns. For office workers, it can help them understand the challenges remote workers are facing and provide support. One-on-ones should be conducted on a regular schedule, whether it’s weekly or bi-weekly.
Foster a sense of community
Creating a sense of community is important for any team, but it’s especially important when balancing office and remote workers. Having a remote-first mindset means prioritizing remote workers’ inclusion and creating a sense of belonging. This can be achieved through virtual team-building activities, company-wide events, or virtual coffee breaks.
Provide opportunities for career development
Remote workers should have the same opportunities for career development as office workers. Providing training and development programs that are accessible and relevant for remote workers can help them feel valued and invested in the company. It’s important to ensure that remote workers are included in any mentoring or coaching opportunities as well.
Flexibility is key when balancing office and remote teams. That means being open to different work schedules, accommodating different time zones, and understanding that remote workers may have other responsibilities outside of work. By being flexible, it shows that the company values the well-being of its employees and is willing to work with them to create a work-life balance.
Establish clear expectations and guidelines
When balancing office and remote teams, it’s important to establish clear expectations and guidelines for all employees. This includes guidelines around communication, work hours, and project deadlines. By having clear guidelines in place, it helps to reduce confusion and ensures that everyone is on the same page.
Foster a culture of trust
Trust is crucial in any workplace environment, but it becomes even more important when balancing office and remote teams. Managers should trust their remote employees to get their work done without micromanaging. Similarly, remote workers should trust their office counterparts to include them in important discussions and decisions.
Encourage remote workers to take breaks
When working from home, it can be tempting to work longer hours since the office is just a few steps away. However, this can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. Managers should encourage remote workers to take regular breaks and step away from the computer. This can include going for a walk, taking a yoga class, or even just doing some stretches.
Emphasize the importance of cybersecurity
Remote workers may not have access to the same level of cybersecurity protocols as those in the office. As a result, it’s important to emphasize the importance of cybersecurity best practices. This includes regular password updates, two-factor authentication, and not sharing sensitive company information over unsecured networks.
Working from home can be isolating, which is why it’s important to encourage socialization. Managers can set up virtual happy hours or coffee breaks where employees can catch up and connect. Additionally, setting up virtual game nights or other team-building activities can help remote workers feel more connected to their colleagues.
Provide the right tools and resources
Remote workers need access to the same tools and resources as office workers. This includes reliable technology such as laptops, high-speed internet, and video conferencing software. Additionally, remote workers should have access to productivity tools such as project management software, time tracking software, and collaboration tools.
Encourage feedback and transparency
Creating a culture of feedback and transparency is important for all teams, but it becomes even more crucial when balancing office and remote teams. Managers should encourage feedback from both office and remote workers, and be transparent about company decisions and plans. This helps to create a sense of trust and belonging among all employees.
Provide support for mental health and well-being
Working from home can take a toll on mental health and well-being, which is why it’s important to provide support for all employees. This can include providing access to mental health resources such as employee assistance programs, offering wellness programs such as yoga or meditation classes, and encouraging employees to take time off when needed.
Balancing office and remote teams can be a challenge, but with the right mindset and tools, it’s possible to create a seamless and productive work environment. By adopting a remote-first mindset, companies can foster a culture of inclusivity, collaboration, and trust among all employees, regardless of where they work. It’s important to establish clear expectations and guidelines, encourage socialization, and provide support for mental health and well-being. By doing so, companies can create a work environment that values all employees equally and sets them up for long-term success.