An organization with a remote workforce has many things to consider to ensure its employees continue to work efficiently outside of the office. While the employees themselves also need to put measures in place, there are practices the company can adopt to ensure success. These range from creating a remote working policy that holds all parties accountable to the use of specific tools for effective communication.
Moving from working in an office to working remotely can be difficult, and we would like to offer some tips on how to make remote working successful.
- Remote work policy
- Remote-ready team structures and culture
- Management framework for remote organizations
- Tools for remote work
- Remote-ready homes and workspaces
Remote work policy
Putting a remote work policy in place is highly recommended for all organizations with a remote workforce. It’s used to define who can work remotely and how remote work functions in the organization. The policy applies to all employees that work in a location other than the organization’s offices, either permanently or in a hybrid role, and it ensures that both the employees and the organization benefit from the arrangement. It’s a document that outlines all the responsibilities of the employees and holds them accountable for fulfilling those responsibilities.
When putting together a remote work policy, organizations should consider everything that they will need to do to ensure their employees can work remotely efficiently. They should advise them on the best practices for performance when remote working, which could be as simple as ensuring their workspace is quiet and free of distractions or could include specific details regarding schedules and goal setting.
The remote work policy should put guidelines in place to ensure the employees continue to respect company policy, such as adhering to the terms of the code of conduct. It should also detail any remote working compensation or benefits the employees will receive, as well as any equipment that is required and what the organization will supply for the employee to fulfill their role.
As well as outlining the responsibilities of an organization’s employees, a remote working policy ensures there are no grey areas in the remote work structure. The policy should protect both the employees and the organization, but the specifics of the policy are up to the organization.
Remote-ready team structures and culture
It is the job of management in any organization to ensure the correct team structures are put in place and that company culture is maintained when moving to remote work. They will need to consider how the team will manage to work together when they are no longer in the same location. Effective forms of communication are therefore essential here. Utilizing remote working tools for communication, as well as putting goal-setting structures in place are some of the ways management can supervise their team and ensure they are working effectively.
Although this will be more difficult when working in a virtual work environment, having a good company culture is essential for maintaining a happy workforce. Management should therefore ensure the work culture that is instilled is employee-centered. The organization should look after its employees’ needs and be flexible. A happy and satisfied workforce will lead to greater productivity and higher standards of work as well as employee loyalty.
A remote workforce is certainly more difficult to manage than an in-office workforce. This is why a management framework needs to be put in place to ensure the team performs well. Whether working in-office, in a hybrid role, or in a fully remote role, different factors need to be considered to ensure an organization’s business goals are met. Some such factors are leadership, the overall design of the organization, company culture, performance, employee wellness, and technology, among others. Each of these factors needs to be clearly defined in the management framework to ensure the effective functioning of the organization.
This framework is not only an outline of how the company will function, but it will also assist in establishing a clear method of management for a remote workforce. Those in leadership roles should have the methods and tools to keep track of their team’s performance and manage risk within the organization. The framework should be designed with business targets in mind, and how these can be achieved in the event of a shift to remote work.
The overall success of a remote team, however, comes down to three core characteristics. These are collaboration, engagement, and accountability. With these three things, any team can work effectively and will be well equipped to deal with any challenges that arise in the event of a transition to remote working. In a management framework, these characteristics should assist the organization in figuring out what interventions are needed for a successful transition to remote work.
Tools for remote work
Any organization with remote working employees needs to make use of software and tools that can virtually support these employees. Online tools do everything from host video calls to creating to-do lists. Using these tools assists employees in communicating easily with their teams so they can continue to work together effectively in a virtual work environment.
Video conferencing apps, such as Zoom, allow teams to have meetings just as they would in person but from the comfort of their remote office. Slack is just one of the many popular team chat apps that teams can utilize. Google comes with a suite of services, such as Google Docs and Sheets, that allow people to share and edit documents in real-time, and when it comes to online storage, there’s no service better than Google Drive. Trello is also a great project management tool for putting together to-do lists of monthly tasks and managing workloads.
Along with tools that assist in making remote working easier, it is also important for any organization to have cyber security measures in place for their employees. A VPN, such as NordVPN, will protect personal files, private information, and sensitive data when using public WiFi networks, therefore creating a safe and secure virtual work environment.
While only several tools and apps have been mentioned here, there are an endless number of similar services out there that organizations can utilize when managing a remote team.
Remote-ready homes and workspaces
The majority of remote workers choose to work remotely from the comfort of their own homes. It’s therefore important to ensure that these homes are remote work-friendly and are kitted out with a decent work setup. A good work desk or home office is therefore required, as is high-speed internet that will enable employees to work remotely without delays.
Employees that would prefer to work in a co-working space would need to have access to such spaces. Ensuring access to a remote working space, such as a shared office space in the employee’s destination would be something an organization should look into if required by their employees. This space would also need to be remote-ready and kitted out with a decent work surface and stable, high-speed internet.
With the correct structures in place, any organization’s workforce can work effectively regardless of their differing locations. A remote working policy, good company culture, a management framework, the correct remote working tools, and a decent workspace for their employees are all an organization needs to succeed in this new age of remote work. With these five things in place, there’s no reason why any workforce shouldn’t be successful.