In a recent PwC survey of 133 U.S. business executives, 83% said remote working was successful, but only 13% are willing to give up their jobs for good. At the same time, the majority of executives and the 1,200 office workers who took part in the survey believe hybrid work will become a reality once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and vaccines become more widely available. .
At my own company, a tech startup in the San Francisco Bay Area, we had to weigh the benefits and challenges of working remotely before deciding to become a remote business first. Below are some takeaways from our decision-making journey and tips for ensuring successful remote work.
Benefits of remote work
1. Freedom of movement
One of the good things about remote working is that it gives employees the freedom to move and work from anywhere. For many employees, especially in tech industries and other industries traditionally concentrated in specific geographies, working remotely allows people to stay connected, collaborate and contribute without incurring a high cost of living. or other limitations. In my business, this fact alone has contributed to a higher employee satisfaction rate.
2. Personalized workspaces
Open office spaces have been the norm for companies in all industries for quite some time. Yet for a job that requires a high level of concentration for long periods of time, an open office environment, with all of its distractions and noise, is far from ideal. Remote working allows employees to design their own workspaces for maximum focus and productivity.
3. A larger hiring pool
Now you can compete for top talent all over the country and around the world. More than that, remote hiring allows you to build a more diverse team in every way, attracting people from different backgrounds and skills.
The challenges of working remotely
1. Loss of community
There are a few things that are difficult to replicate in the virtual work environment, and among them are impromptu brainstorms, team outings, and friendly conversations at the proverbial water cooler. For many companies, face-to-face interactions fueled a sense of community and were an integral part of the corporate culture.
2. Communication gaps
It can be difficult to get a read on people on a video call. It’s also easy to miss the social cues we often use during in-person interactions without even thinking about it. But just being aware of this fact can help you better understand and find ways to bridge the communication gap.
The past year has presented new challenges for all of us in all aspects of life, including health, family and work. Working remotely while caring for loved ones and / or dealing with social isolation has taken a huge physical and emotional cost, causing burnout.
Tips for successful remote work
Each challenge is also an opportunity to learn and grow. Here are some proven tips to help you overcome the challenges of working remotely.
1. Think digital first
If you haven’t already, embrace digital tools and systems that are easy to use and meet your team’s unique needs. If all you need is Zoom and Google Workspace and you’re off to the errands, great. But if you’re planning to move to fully remote work or a hybrid model where some of the workforce stays remote, you’ll need more than just basic planning and communication tools. For example, you may need to adopt learning management systems to deliver everything from onboarding and HR training to in-house product and service seminars.
We live in the digital age where new data is being generated every second. All of this information, including customer data, is useless if you don’t manage it properly and integrate different parts of the business to implement data-driven continuous improvement. Consider a data management platform to secure your business and customer data, align remote teams to KPIs, and track progress across the organization.
2. Focus on communication
More doesn’t mean better when it comes to communication. Zoom fatigue is real, and meetings aren’t more popular now than they were when we worked in physical offices. Keep your meetings to a minimum and favor clear, coherent and written communication. Make face-to-face meetings more intentional and focused.
3. Encourage work-life balance
While working from home has its appeal, it can cause burnout. On the flexibility side, the lack of commuting and comfortable clothing is the lack of structure in terms of a clear start and end of the working day. It is the responsibility of both managers and employees to set clear expectations for working hours, response times and meetings, taking into account different time zones. It may seem overwhelming at first, but honest and open conversations can help find and maintain balance.
4. Check employee pulse regularly
Over time, our feelings about remote working and its impact on our lives may change. Don’t wait until you see drops in productivity or a drop in employee satisfaction rates. It may be unrealistic for you to regularly check in with everyone individually, but you can use brief surveys to give your employees the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions.
5. Introduce remote work policies
Remote work can look different for different companies. To make sure your employees understand how remote working will affect their day-to-day work and long-term lives, consider introducing policies specific to remote working. Policies can include anything from allowing employees to work anywhere in the same time zone or country to offering an ergonomics allowance to scheduling regular outings in person once it is safe to do so. . At my company, we conducted a series of employee surveys to determine our team’s priorities and policies as we adjust to a new normal.
At this point, it’s clear we’re not going back to how we worked before the pandemic. Now the task is to make remote work the best it can be and keep the work productive and meaningful.