Strategies large employers can utilize for a seamless remote work experience
As employees have been working remotely for the past two months, many companies have been forced to realize it’s possible to conduct business as usual without anyone in the office — in fact, some may have even noticed employee performance has improved since the shift to working from home.
A recent study by Airtasker found that on average, remote employees are productive for 21.9 workdays per month compared to 20.5 for office employees and are productive for 10 minutes longer per day than those in an office. Remote workers are healthier too — clocking in an average of 25 more minutes of exercise per week than office employees, which not only helps productivity, but decreases the number of sick days taken as well.
Many employers have quickly learned how productivity can suffer when they do not have contingency plans involving remote work in place. Employers must reflect on their remote work infrastructure and ensure it enables employees to work productively and remotely in case of emergencies.
Here are some tips to ensure all employees across departments are engaged and set up for success when out of the office.
Implement tools to encourage collaboration
One of the most important parts of being remote is to make sure that communication and collaboration are not hindered by not being physically together. Instead of relying on in-person or phone meetings, take advantage of webcam conferences via Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts. Try to have face-to-face interactions via the web as much as possible to mimic the interactive and engaging feel of an in-person meeting.
Of course, it’s critical to implement platforms such as Slack or Google Hangouts to allow employees to communicate quickly and effectively if they have a question or want to bounce an idea off their co-worker. But because so much of how we communicate today is non-verbal, it’s essential to still find ways to connect with remote teammates beyond an instant message or email. Maintaining a culture of collaboration outside the office is key.
Provide structure with routine meetings
Help remote employees establish a routine by scheduling weekly team meetings to discuss where everyone stands on monthly goals, status updates on current projects and any challenges or obstacles they’ve been facing. This will help keep employees accountable for their individual goals and responsibilities and provide a time for the entire team to connect and offer new perspectives on ongoing initiatives. This time is also an opportunity for the teams to clearly communicate any issues or simply share the blues they may be feeling. It’s more important than ever to ensure the team is engaged in their piece that rolls up to the overall success of the organization.
It’s also crucial that company leadership is communicating on a regular basis and consistently sharing best practices as we navigate this new working environment. It’s important to remember that once any major decision is made, whether it be in regard to company policy, business operations or state and local government decisions that impact the company, that it is then clearly communicated to all employees through smaller team meetings or a company-wide email, depending on the news.
Build and leverage your tech team
As remote working becomes more of the norm, it’s important that companies build out their tech teams with skilled engineers and IT professionals to ensure they have the proper support to keep online operations running smoothly.
Now is really the time for all companies to put a real focus on digital data and modern workspaces as well as collaborative tools such as Dropbox or Google Drive to allow for easy transition to remote work. There’s also the option to look into teleworker licenses. Regardless, to be best prepared for the future, all employees should be able to securely access their work files and communicate with their teams remotely without a problem.
Keep morale high
Another aspect to improving the remote working experience is to take the time to make sure employees feel valued and recognized. For example, our human resources team sends a weekly newsletter to the entire company highlighting the activities for the week and celebrating any accomplishments. It is important to reinforce a mentality of One Team, so encourage organizational leaders to send quick notes to the entire organization celebrating their particular team’s success. This shows employees that their hard work does not go unnoticed while providing them with extra motivation and a healthy level of competition.
The pandemic has shown us that companies can be just as, if not more, successful with remote employees and has forced current organizations to build remote work into their contingency plans. The ability to work from home is no longer a privilege, but the future of the workforce and it’s crucial that companies are prepared.