As the world becomes more digital, more and more companies are offering remote work options to their employees. In fact, a survey conducted by Buffer found that 98% of remote workers would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. Remote work is not only beneficial to employees but also the organizations. An organization benefits from remote working through increased productivity, reduced overhead expenses, access to diverse talent pool as well as the ability to accommodate global clients’ time schedules.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that a growing number of companies are embracing remote-first culture. While remote working can unlock a range of benefits, it can pose some challenges to traditional setups. In particular, the lack of interaction between employees when working remotely can lead to isolation and disengagement. As such, it’s important to find ways to engage, motivate and connect remote and in-office employees. However, some companies are still hesitant to fully embrace the remote working revolution. This could be due to several reasons such as lack of trust, difficulty tracking employees, or lack of established processes for remote work. If you’re one of those companies, keep reading to discover how to embrace a remote-first culture while still keeping your physical office.
One of the best ways to support remote employees and build collaboration across the workplace is through technology. Embrace video conferencing software, messaging systems, project management tools, and file sharing platforms. These technologies can help make remote work more seamless, efficient, and productive.
The use of video conferencing software can take the concept of remote work even further by enabling remote employees to interact and collaborate effectively without being physically present. For instance, web conferencing solutions such as Zoom, Google Meet, among others, can help remote workers stay connected and up to date with all the information they need, thanks to high-quality video and audio. Furthermore, use of messaging systems and project management tools such as Asana and Trello can enhance teamwork, particularly in co-ordinating and managing tasks, ensuring project deadlines and timelines are met.
Champion a Hybrid Workforce
While having everyone work remotely can be a great option, it may still be important for some people to come into the office. For example, some positions may require physical presence or some people may prefer face-to-face interaction with colleagues. In such cases, a hybrid approach may be a smart option. By giving employees the flexibility of choosing to sometimes work from home and sometimes come into the office, you can enjoy the benefits of both remote and in-person collaboration.
A hybrid workforce can help you reduce office space and overhead expenses while maintaining a physical presence, which can be advantageous in some sectors. For instance, it can be necessary when physical materials, equipment, or machinery is needed to fulfill a particular task, requiring physical contact.
Communicate Frequently & Effectively
When working remotely, communication can be a challenge. Ensuring that team members are communicating regularly and effectively is critical. It’s important to set regular check-ins, establish clear communication expectations, and track progress. To make sure that everyone is on the same page, consider using asynchronous communication tools, such as messaging apps or chat services, so that employees can check in and share updates throughout the day.
It’s also important to foster a culture of open communication and transparency to promote motivation, trust, and teamwork between employees. Effective communication can help reduce misunderstandings or conflicts that may negatively impact performance and the overall morale of the team.
Trust Your Employees
When your employees are working remotely, you can’t always be sure that they are working productively. However, trusting your employees is important to building a healthy and fruitful work environment. Encourage your employees to take ownership of their work and set clear expectations for their performance. A results-oriented approach can help motivate employees to meet or exceed agreed-upon targets, which eliminates the need for micromanagement.
Trust your employees to work independently and collaborate effectively towards a shared goal, and ensure that they are equipped with the necessary information and tools to meet their objectives. This can lead to higher productivity, a more engaged workforce, and improved overall morale.
Rethink Your Office Space
With remote work becoming more prevalent and accepted, it may be time to rethink your office space. Because many employees are spending less time in the office, you may need to find a way to make the time they do spend there more meaningful. Creating more collaborative spaces or dedicating areas for specific tasks can make your employees’ time in the office more valuable.
You may also consider creating more open space, such as an open office layout, to encourage more interactions and collaboration among employees. This approach can help blend in-office and remote employees and contribute to building a work culture that places emphasis on teamwork and communication regardless of the physical location of workers.
Build a Remote-First Culture
A remote-first culture can help ensure that remote workers feel included and valued. This is especially important since remote workers might feel disconnected from the organization, leading to decreased motivation, burnout, and disengagement. Emphasize transparency, regular communication, and collaboration to foster a positive remote work culture. Celebrate successes together regardless of the location, and give virtual employees a voice when making decisions.
Building a remote-first culture involves considering the entire employee journey, from recruitment and onboarding to offboarding, to ensure that remote employees feel included, valued, and supported at every stage. This will help you attract, retain and engage all employees, whether remote or in-office.
Embracing a remote-first culture or embracing hybrid work is essential to stay competitive in today’s business landscape. If you’re ready to take the plunge, start by embracing technology, fully embracing asynchronous communication, and fostering effective communication. Be sure to trust your employees and encourage them to take ownership of their work, regardless of where they are located. Don’t forget to rethink your office space to meet the needs of your hybrid workforce, and continue to foster a remote-first culture that celebrates the successes of all employees, whether working remotely or from the office.
By integrating these recommendations into your business, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of remote work, including increased productivity, lower overhead costs, access to a diverse talent pool, and better alignment with global clients. As an organization, it’s important to lead the way in embracing remote work, hybrid work, or any other flexible work arrangements that may arise in the future. Doing so will help you attract the best talent, provide customers with excellent service, and achieve the highest levels of productivity, innovation and growth.