But First, What Is It?
Remote work is a work arrangement that allows employees to work off-site.
The term covers many location-independent work settings. Some examples include fully remote work, freelance jobs, online businesses, etc.
Remote work is particularly attractive to people who live far from the workplace or manage a household. A company may opt to hire remote workers who are highly skilled or are hard-to-find specialists.
Technological advancements today contributed a lot to the popularity of remote work.
Tools specifically created to cater to remote workers are proliferating, and internet connections worldwide are becoming more stable than ever. Contacting someone across the globe is cheap and fast.
Building a Remote-Friendly Culture
From years of traditional office work, how can we transition smoothly into accommodating remote workers?
Investing Time in Training
Unlike employees in the office, remote workers do tasks alone and may receive less feedback about the work they do. This may result in outputs that have lower quality compared to your office employees.
One way to keep the quality of remote workers’ output at par with those of office employees is by investing in onboarding and training.
Onboarding helps educate the remote worker in the history, goals, and products of your company. Solid knowledge of the company’s goals and objectives can help remote workers make small and big decisions on their own.
Training also keeps them in line with the company’s internal rules, guidelines, etc.
Nurturing Communication and Camaraderie
This seems to be one of the most important points when it comes to hiring remote workers.
Social interactions are easy if you share spaces with people; however, socializing with someone who is miles away takes initiative and genuine interest.
One good way of ensuring that remote workers still have a connection with office workers is by introducing a buddy system.
A buddy system not only allows the remote worker some connection to the work in the office, but it also helps in improving their knowledge of the company, tasks, projects, and other information that they aren’t exposed to often.
Conducting retreats that include remote workers may also strengthen relationships between office employees and off-site workers. The retreat should involve activities that mainly targets becoming more familiar and friendly with each other and fostering trust among employees.
Using Tools to Improve Collaborations
People need to know how to collaborate over the internet, and we must provide tools that will help teams and remote workers do this seamlessly.
There are companies that gained recognition for creating apps that allow people to collaborate for work while a few big tech companies have tweaked their applications into becoming one as well.
Launched in 2013, Slack caters to teams with features that streamline project management and collaborations.
Teams can communicate in channels, which managers and project heads can create according to teams, projects, or locations. Slack also allows guest accounts, so teams are free to talk with clients, consultants, and freelancers, among others.
We can even integrate various apps in Slack, from file management, emails, to project management applications. The application can be accessed using a browser or through the mobile application.
Tech giant Google, too, has a stake in the industry of modern business tools.
G Suite for businesses is a collection of browser-based applications that replaces word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation tools with apps that allow team members to edit, suggest, and comment in real-time.
Google offers Hangouts Chat, an instant messaging platform, and Hangouts Meet, a video conference app.
G Suite also has an application called Currents, which hosts company-wide open forums for employees to collaborate, discuss, and learn from other employees’ experiences.
G Suite for businesses also provides employers full control over user access, so companies can limit or provide access to certain applications based on what the employee needs.
Skype for business
Another great tool for companies that want to appeal better to remote workers is Skype.
Skype for business is an all-around messaging application from Microsoft that targets teams and companies. What sets it apart from other messaging applications is its video conference features.
Using the app, you may upload and share presentations or demonstrate ideas by using the whiteboard. Meeting attendees can mark the presentations or write on the virtual whiteboard as well.
Unlike most applications that support video conferencing, Skype offers built-in instant messaging so you or your employees can write down important notes that are said during a call.
Its broadcasting feature, Skype Meetings Broadcast, can accommodate 120 people and can broadcast to 10,000 people.
Possibly one of the things that employers and managers would have trouble with would be trusting their remote employees.
It’s OK: having doubts about something new is totally normal. But if doubts push you over the edge and into micromanagement, then you must do something about it.
How do you know if you’re micromanaging? Here are six clues that leaders at your company struggle with micromanagement:
They’re overworked because they can’t delegate.
When leaders can’t delegate, it shows a lack of trust in other people’s skills. It usually starts with them thinking that doing a task themselves will be faster.
That may or may not be true, but as leaders, their job is to be able to utilize and develop their team members’ talents and abilities. Besides, leaders’ time wasted on smaller errands pile up and wind up being the company’s loss.
Knowing when and to whom to delegate is a skill, and as far as skills go, people can learn and develop it over time.
Motivate micromanaging leaders to learn their team members’ strengths and weaknesses better using different tools. This can greatly help them the next time they need to delegate tasks or recruit someone for a project.
They’re obsessed with progress reports.
Progress reports are great at keeping everyone on the same page. However, constantly monitoring people may be a sign of micromanagement.
One good way of keeping track of employees’ progress without going overboard is by using this tool that lets you track employees’ progress, know their plans, and attend to their problems.
When assigning tasks, they give way too much detail.
Micromanagers give tasks with instructions that take more time to write down than to actually do, and this severely cuts down on a company’s productivity.
Most of the time, this comes from a fear of failure, but it also communicates a lack of trust from the manager to the employee.
What leaders must understand is that employees will make mistakes, and it’s only natural.
If managers really do want fewer mistakes, they must train employees and let them learn by doing the work. Making sure that employees know the company’s goals well can also help them improve their work quality.
At the End of the Day…
Technology transformed many industries, and these transformations bring new problems, solutions, and possibilities. Remote work opens up the workforce, and doing it right can greatly help companies make the best out of it.