Despite the challenges of remote work, many employees have recognized its advantages. Here are tips for sustaining the new norm in office setup.
The last couple of years has been quite tumultuous for the workforce. Workplace settings shifted dramatically, as working from home or remotely became increasingly prevalent and necessary. In-person events, overcrowded meeting rooms, and massive training sessions went out the door. Zoom calls took over their place instead.
Given these changes in the workplace, many leaders and managers had to maintain employee engagement, motivate the best performance, and retain top talent in the new setup. As one might expect, companies faced tremendous challenges, especially in the initial stages of the transition to remote work.
However, shifting to a remote work environment is a valuable learning experience for companies moving forward. It allows them to study trends and analyze how they can progress and adapt to workplace trends. The goal is to introduce innovations in helping employees become efficient and productive while emphasizing work-life balance.
Most Employees Want to Continue Working Remotely
When employees needed to work remotely during the surge of COVID-19, most of them lacked the proper equipment. Many had to make do with improvised workspaces.
But despite the challenges, most employees have recognized the advantages of remote work. Remote employees say they can be more productive, avoid stress from daily commutes, and have fewer. Other personal reasons include being able to spend time with their family or hobbies. Many employees also want to continue working from home because they believe it allows them to have a healthier lifestyle.
Currently, multiple models comprise most working environments: traditional on-site work, remote work, and hybrid office setup. The last approach—which combines on-site and off-site reporting arrangements—denotes the best of both worlds.
In the coming years, many employees will likely have more options since companies recognize the need to be flexible in their work policies, including where, when, or how employees work.
9 Strategies to Achieve a Sustainable Remote Work Setup
The strategies below can help any team achieve a sustainable remote work setup and guide the company’s leaders on properly managing a remote team. Of course, not every approach will work for everyone, and certain situations may require extra time and effort to establish an ideal remote work environment.
Provide options for efficient communication
In the past, email served as the primary means of communication for most organizations. Fortunately, email remains relevant in today’s virtual workplaces requiring systems that enable asynchronous communication.
However, it pays to explore other channels that facilitate faster and better communication with remote coworkers. For instance, platforms with video conferencing features allow face-to-face conversations that enable sharing of ideas.
Invest in the right tools and technology for enhanced collaboration
Identify which collaboration technologies best improve team performance and develop connections across virtual groups. Once you’ve identified them, attain the necessary buy-in from the company’s decision-makers, then train your employees on how to maximize them for project management and collaboration.
Encourage professional growth and development
Professional development may be incredibly motivating for your employees, showing that you and your company care about their success and advancement. Consider how you can help your team members grow by partnering with learning and development specialists about training events and other learning opportunities.
Recognize and respond to employees’ challenges
Inevitably, remote employees may face hurdles—ignoring distractions at home, setting boundaries when working remotely, etc. Assist struggling employees in overcoming those challenges. Encourage them to communicate their difficulties and reach out for help. The team may be able to offer some helpful advice, such as best practices in organizing tasks, setting priorities, and the like.
You could also consider investing in fitness and wellness programs to help your staff become more conscious of the need to care for their physical and mental health.
Reinforce the company’s values and vision
An organization will run more efficiently if all employees find motivation in their work. To achieve this, managers should establish efficient communication systems and have regular check-ins with their staff. Rewarding exemplary workers can boost engagement, too.
Everyone should be aware of the company’s core purpose as well. When employees know how their work affects the organization’s main goals and principles, they feel more invested in contributing toward those targets.
Boost teamwork and acknowledge individual differences
You can win your team’s trust and produce more significant results by making teamwork a standard while cultivating an appreciation for every member’s ideas and opinions. Set up a regular small group or team discussions to brainstorm project ideas and welcome all unique views to the table. The more you accommodate various perspectives, the more creative the outcome can be.
Improve the organization’s feedback system
Coordinating communication and scheduling across a remote team can be challenging, especially if employees work in various time zones. That is why it is critical to building a consistent feedback culture. Managers should regularly ask remote teams for input to learn how to best support staff members, identify potential tension or conflict areas, create trust and rapport, and drive performance.
Integrate remote work culture into the office policy
You won’t get the outcomes you want if you don’t have a strategy in place. This mindset is also true of the corporate culture. As such, you should include remote work as part of your organizational culture and strategy, enabling you to formulate policies that align with that culture. Workplace setups may vary in different countries, so businesses that incorporate remote work setups should also consider work policies globally.
For example, when hiring talent, HR must ensure that candidates can work without the direct supervision that is used to characterize traditional office setups.
Recognize employees to show your thanks and support
Employee appreciation remains a crucial motivator of employee engagement and success, regardless if you pursue the work-from-home setup. It’s easy for remote employees to feel cut off from the rest of the team or organization, especially if your workforce has a mix of in-office and at-home workers. For this reason, it’s vital to incorporate employee recognition into your workplace culture.
Remote Work is Here to Stay
As employees anticipate and demand greater flexibility in remote work, leaders must revisit their strategies for overseeing remote teams. Fortunately, managing remote workers can be as enjoyable and productive as managing an in-office staff with the right technology and employee engagement tools.