The world of work is changing faster then we can even keep up with at times, but no modern trend has swooped in faster than remote work.
Everyone has daydreamed about the lifestyle of working from home. Waking up and pouring yourself a cup of homebrewed coffee before heading to your in-home office or maybe just your couch to check in to the office in your pajamas. Plus, who actually “enjoys” traffic in morning and evening commutes?
Not that working from home is a brand new idea, exactly. But there’s no denying the millennial generation has brought about new ideas about how it could function. Often times allowing the new generation to earn a living through the internet while also enriching their souls and traveling the world through programs such as The Remote Year.
In a survey conducted in the summer of 2018 by PurelyHR, we found that out of over 1,200 users who participated 57% of their employers offered remote work as an option. A hefty percentage worth taking note of, and one we believe is a pretty reasonable reflection of the workforce today.
So it makes sense if you’re getting requests from your team to allow this working condition more often. Not to mention it broadens the talent pool when it comes time to hire new roles. But if you are considering offering remote work in your organization, there might be some things you want to consider or prepare for first.
1. Setting Clear Expectations
Everyone has a different idea of what doing something “quickly” or “well” means. Whether showing examples of what you expect to be done, calendar sharing, etc., make sure you have clear expectations from those you work with online. The more prepared they are, the better they can serve.
2. Treat Remote As Local
This is one of the best lessons I’ve learned about operating remote roles. Treat your remote people like they are local and treat your local people like they are remote. Give remote people as much access to you as possible. Remember, your local people see you in the halls, eat with you at lunch, stop by your office, etc. The remote people don’t have that access and can feel distant. Respond to them as quickly as possible. Make your local people set appointments.
3. Engage With Them Regularly
Engage your remote workers on a daily basis through some kind of communication. Use multiple channels to communicate like email and slack. Then, plan a regularly scheduled face-to-face meeting. This can be weekly, monthly, or annually, and could be combined with a training or coaching program. This constant interaction and engagement will help remote workers feel included in an important aspect of the organization.
4. Schedule Video-Based Coaching
I think it’s absolutely necessary, especially with virtual employees, to schedule time and look at one another when you’re speaking. In the past, I’ve used Zoom, Appear.in, and Uber Conference to work with clients and employees. If you do not schedule time or talk with one another and hopefully face to face, silence becomes very loud and dangerous, as remote employees might end up wondering how they’re doing.
5. Trust Your Teams
Sometimes, companies are not willing to embrace a remote work style because there’s uncertainty about whether or not the work will get completed at the same level as if they were in the office. To combat this belief, set up work-from-home guidelines, such as emails must be responded to within 24 hours, use text for urgent matters (but keep the hours of this as reasonable as possible and take into consideration time zone changes), and no calls between certain hours to make sure teammates are not working around the clock, as this can become very dangerous as well.
Remote work is a working style you’ll want to be extra careful with. We don’t recommend kickstarting it in your organization unless you’re 100% confident in your current culture.
One step you might want to take to ensure success in not only considering the systems and processes you want to implement in your policies surrounding remote work, but also considering the environment of remote work, and educate and train your team members on how to achieve success in the event they encounter these issues.
1. A Remote Worker Needs to be Highly Motivated
Working remotely means that it is the employee and the employee alone in their home office. There is no boss to oversee their every move, and no co-workers who are looking over their shoulder. What they get done, and how they spend their time is all up to them. It might appear to be easier to blow off work or even deadlines to do other things that they see as more important at the time, but this can lead to a problem with a remote position with your company. Working from home requires a certain amount of motivation to be able to get up and get busy with work, just as if you had to go into the office.
2. Remote Work Takes Discipline
Being a remote worker also means they are surrounded by all kinds of chores and tasks around the house that are staring them in the face. Where normally, these would be things they worked on once they got home or around working hours, now they have the option to put their work down and start working on those household chores, or perhaps, take off to run errands, or maybe even do a little shopping, and let the work fall to the wayside. Setting a regular work schedule and adhering to it is critical in order to be able to get work accomplished, or meet deadlines. It may be tempting to blow off work and go to lunch with a friend, just because they can, but getting into a routine of doing this will prove to be a #RemoteJobFail.
3. May Cause Jealousy Amongst Teams
There are plenty of employees who would give anything to be able to work from home. You hear more and more, people making the comment that they would love to have the luxury of working from home, so if you are offering it in your office, be prepared to face some jealous co-workers. One way to help combat any tension that may arise between fellow co-workers is to be clear with those working remotely to avoid bragging or boasting about their mornings of checking emails in their pajamas, or their flexible schedule that allows them to have lazy mornings and long lunches. Rubbing their remote job in their co-workers’ faces is a sure way of losing the respect and friendship of co-workers.
4. Remote Work Requires Strict Boundaries
Setting boundaries and sticking to them is the only way to keep your remote employees focused on their work schedule. You may find that they have to tell people what their work schedule is, or write a chart up and hang it on their office door for others to see, listing the hours they plan to work each day. This will help them and others get used to their schedule so that no one can disturb them during work hours. If they have a conference call, set boundaries that they are not to be disturbed during that time.
5. Other People in Their Life May Take Advantage
Working from home may mean something else entirely to other people in their lives. Their mother may think they have the time to run her to doctor’s appointments or go shopping for the day. Even their children’s school may think they have extra time for helping out with school events or field trips. Being able to say no, is an important part of being a remote worker. Family members need to know their work schedule and that they are not able to deviate from it at their whim.
According to CNBC, nearly 70% of the global workforce work from home at least once a week. That’s a really hard stat to ignore. So if you’ve been offering remote work for a while or maybe it’s just around the corner for you and your team, hopefully, there’s something in this article for you!
The one absolutely fantastic thing about this new world of work is there is a culture of sharing, meaning if there’s a policy or procedure that is flawed, you’re sure to be able to find an article somewhere on google. And the same thing goes for policies and procedures that are effective. Make sure to do as much research as possible to ensure a positive roll out and experience for your staff. Consider all the things they might run into at home and help them prepare for it as best as you can.
Did we miss something? If there’s an uber-important faction of remote work that we left out, please let us know in the comments below! Otherwise, feel free to share this post on Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter.