More employees are factoring in remote work capabilities when deciding where to take their next job. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2030 the demand for remote work will increase by 30% because of Generation Z being fully integrated into the workforce (full content available to Gartner clients).
Remote work is becoming a requirement instead of just a perk, and that will continue to be the case moving forward as jobs become more global.
If you’ve never considered how your business would handle remote work, you should think about your policies now so that you’re not losing potential employees to a more attractive offer.
You also want to have a remote work plan in place in case of global health crises or other emergency situations.
To make sure your business is remote-work ready, develop strong habits around these three things:
Communication is key during remote work
Communicating key imperatives while your team is working remotely is crucial to the success of your business because it helps establish and build trust between management and your employees.
It’s true that you can lose some of the more open communication that being in an office brings, but with collaboration software or free chat software, you and your team won’t need to be in the dark. Just make sure you establish policies which require remote workers to be available and communicative.
Having a policy that encourages a worker to ping their manager whenever they’re leaving their computer for a significant amount of time (lunch, appointments, etc.) is a good start. It’s less about keeping track of your staff’s every movement and more about building good habits and trust.
If your business is switching to remote work as a cautionary measure due to an emergency or a health crisis, it’s extremely important to be candid with critical information and keep employees informed about the impact of the crisis on the business. By being the primary source of information about the impact on your business, your employees won’t turn to other, less reliable sources of information to draw their own conclusions.
Whatever the case may be, open and clear communication both at a macro and micro level is crucial to any successful remote working solutions.
Trust employees to work productively when remote
Whatever the reason you’re implementing remote work policies, it’s absolutely imperative you trust your employees to be productive and perform their jobs even when you aren’t near them. It’s easy (and natural) for managers to worry about their direct reports being productive when they can’t see them, but these concerns are often overblown.
If you or your managers are resistant to allowing remote work because of productivity concerns, you might want to think about shifting your focus to outcomes instead of pure productivity. If you focus on outcome-based performance instead of productivity-based performance, you’ll ensure key initiatives are still accomplished without having to stress about productivity as a key metric for success.
As long as you encourage collaboration, build employee networks, and train management on how to evaluate processes and performance remotely, your team will continue functioning at the same level.
Technology ensures your team succeeds while working remotely
Increases in the availability of cloud-based productivity tools such as video conferencing software, remote support software, project management software, or collaboration software has made remote work more possible and accessible than ever before.
However, if you’re a small or newer business, you’re likely concerned about your technological infrastructure when it comes to remote work. You might not have the budget for some of these systems that help enable remote work.
The good news is that you can develop best practices on effectively using email or free instant messaging services to help with communication.
If you do have the budget or are looking for collaboration software, you’ll reap some useful benefits such as helping remote workers remain productive, enhancing communication between peers and management, increasing team morale, and exchanging information more quickly.
For instance, collaboration software allows you to set up group chats that are focused on one objective. Have a project due? Make sure communication is open and flowing by having a dedicated space to disseminate information or answer questions.
Remote work is the future, and you should be ready for it
Eliminating commute time and increasing the ability to more easily handle family obligations makes remote work attractive to potential employees, and introducing remote work policies will increase retention and drive confidence for your current employees.
It’s important when developing your policies to have hard and fast rules, because most organizations simply leave it up to managers to decide whether to allow their employees remote work which can lead to discrepancies between employees and tank morale.
When planning your remote work policies, be open and communicative with your employees about the goals and expectations, and don’t be afraid to adapt new policies based on feedback or some trial and error. Every business is different, and you understand the needs you’ll face better than anyone.
If you’re thinking about introducing new software to help with remote work and don’t know where to start, our advisors are always here to help you develop a feature shortlist or recommend some of the best software solutions for your individual needs. Schedule a free, 15-minute consultation with an advisor to narrow down the list of products that fit your specific business needs.