The concept of remote work is nothing new. In fact, remote work has been around for many years, but it was never as common as it has become in recent times. Traditionally, people worked from their offices and commuted to their workplaces for work. However, over the past few years, more and more people have begun working from home, and remote work has evolved into one of the most popular work options available.
The year 2020 was a turning point for remote work. The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies all over the world to adopt remote work policies to keep their employees and communities safe. Companies that had never considered remote work before found themselves having to make the transition, and for some, it proved to be a challenge.
While remote work has many advantages, it also has its unique set of challenges. In this article, we will explore some of the best practices for remote work, as recommended by experts.
Communication is Key
Communication is an essential aspect of remote work. In a traditional office setting, it is easy to drop by a colleague’s desk or office and have a quick chat. However, in a remote work setting, this is not possible. As a result, communication becomes even more important.
It is essential to establish clear communication channels and ensure that everyone knows how to use them. Companies should use technology such as video conferencing, team collaboration tools, and instant messaging apps to ensure that communication is smooth and seamless.
Establish a routine
When working from home, it can be easy to get distracted by things. For many, working from home means working in their comfortable clothes, binge-watching Netflix, or playing video games. However, it is important to establish a routine, just as you would in a traditional office setting.
Set your work hours, establish your breaks, and have a designated workspace. When you have a routine, it helps improve your focus, productivity, and maintains a healthy work-life balance.
Create a Distraction-free Environment
One of the significant challenges of remote work is maintaining focus. With a host of distractions available at home, it can be hard to maintain focus, leading to reduced work productivity. It is essential to create a distraction-free environment.
Choose a quiet workspace away from traffic, home appliances and if possible, have a door to limit disruptions from others. Insulate your workspace with soundproof materials if possible. Install noise-cancellation headphones, which can effectively help to block out background noise.
It is important to take breaks, just as you would in a traditional office setting. Taking short breaks away from your workstation to stretch, walk around, or grab a snack can help to improve productivity and overall work performance.
Short breaks increase your concentration and the ability to stay on task when you return to work. The American Optometric Association recommends the 20/20/20 rule: Take a break every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It helps reduce eye strain from staring at digital screens.
Stay Connected with Co-workers
Isolation can be a challenge when working remotely. The lack of social interaction and human connection can affect one’s mental health and productivity. It is important to stay connected with colleagues, not only for work-related matters but also for social interactions.
Create scheduled virtual happy hours, team building exercises and informal meetings can build a thriving work culture even in a remote work setting. Apps such as Slack, Zoom, and Skype make it easy to foster strong relationships with your colleagues, even when you’re physically distant.
In a remote work setting, it can be difficult to stay motivated, without a supervisor checking on you. Therefore, it is important to set goals and objectives to keep yourself motivated.
Start with small goals, celebrate each accomplishment and reward yourself. In addition, working with colleagues on joint projects or team objectives, can make it easier to stay motivated and focused.
Set Clear Expectations
When managing remote teams, it is important to set clear expectations for each team member. This can include specific goals, deadlines, and key performance indicators (KPIs). Managers should ensure that everyone on the team understands what is expected of them and how their work aligns with the company’s goals and objectives.
Provide the Right Tools and Technology
In order for remote teams to be successful, they need the right tools and technology. This includes access to collaboration tools, project management software, video conferencing, and other communication platforms. Providing these tools and ensuring that they are up to date and easy to use can help teams stay connected and work efficiently.
Collaboration is key to the success of a remote team. Managers should encourage team members to communicate and collaborate regularly, share ideas and best practices, and work together to achieve their goals. This can be done through virtual team meetings, using collaboration tools, and creating a culture of teamwork and cooperation.
Be Available and Supportive
Remote employees may feel isolated or disconnected, so it is important for managers to be available and supportive. Regular check-ins and one-on-one meetings can help employees feel connected and provide them with opportunities to discuss any challenges or concerns they may have. Managers should also provide regular feedback, recognize achievements, and offer support when needed.
Emphasize Work-Life Balance
Remote work offers the flexibility to work from anywhere, which can also blur the boundaries between work and personal life. As such, it is important for managers to emphasize the importance of work-life balance and encourage employees to take breaks, set boundaries, and prioritize self-care.
In conclusion, remote work is here to stay, and organizations that adapt to this new reality can reap the benefits of a talented and globally distributed workforce. Implementing these best practices for managing remote teams can help companies successfully navigate this transition and ensure the success of their remote workforce.
Embracing remote work requires companies to redefine their leadership, management, and communication styles. Remote work provides flexibility, improves work-life balance, productivity and can lead to cost savings such as reduced office space overheads. Implementing the best practices for remote work can contribute to a work culture that is both productive and successful.
Creating channels for open and transparent communication, staying connected with colleagues, establishing a routine, creating a distraction-free environment, taking breaks and staying motivated, are key tips for success when working remotely.
Ultimately remote work can offer a happier work-life balance that yields greater productivity and life satisfaction. With these best practices, companies can create a culture of remote work that leads to higher engagement, better performance and increased staff satisfaction.