With the outburst of deadly Coronavirus throughout the planet, everything from international travel to the availability of face masks & hand sanitizers has been affected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised organizations to go remote, and
it’s one of the policies that nearly half (46%) of organizations are implementing.
This means that a lot of businesses are dealing with an unusual challenge: “Remote Work.”
COVID-19: A Blessing in Disguise
Remote working or telecommuting isn’t a new concept. Even before COVID-19 struck, it was there, but was rising slowly.
Remote work has been part of the corporate work pattern for at least a decade if not two. Lack of super-fast internet connection, effective communication & collaboration software, and real-time access to data and documents were the roadblocks to efficient telecommuting.
The coronavirus pandemic has sparked an anxious trial run for remote style of work at a grand scale. Furthermore, it has contributed to the tremendous increase in number of remote work opportunities.
It is clear that whatever we learn in the upcoming months will help us shape the future of corporate work culture.
Debunking the Myths of Remote Working
In order to switch to remote work culture in the right way and take maximum advantage of a dedicated remote team, you must be free from any of the misconceptions or concerns surrounding it.
Here are a few remote work myths to leave behind:
1) Remote workers aren’t productive
Many organizations believe that people, who work from home, sit around in their pyjamas, watch YouTube & Netflix, and do as little work as nothing.
While it’s true that the dress code for remote workers is more lax, the notion that they pull off nothing is completely false. In fact, in many cases, it’s the exact opposite.
For instance, a study carried out by Stanford Business School found that remote work leads to a 13% improvement in employee performance. According to another study, 91% of remote workers believe they “get more work done when working remotely.”
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2) Communication is a headache
Due to lack of in-person interaction and presence of different time zones, it is easy to assume that there is no effective communication between remote employees.
Whether it is in office or out of office, if employees don’t make a genuine effort to interact and engage with each other, communication is going to suffer.
When it comes to working remote, there are a number of communication apps available (such as Skype and Slack) that allow employees to stay connected (via text, voice, and video chat). Communication can be truly productive if these apps are utilized in optimal way.
3) Company culture gets disturbed
Company culture doesn’t depend on how many table tennis games are being played but it depends on how many quality interactions are taking place i.e. happy and engaged employees are the base for a successful business.
There are several ways to foster a productive work culture in a remote environment such as infusing transparency, scheduling regular one-on-one meetings (keeping cameras on), fostering a spirit of belonging among employees, and so on.
Working Remotely, the Right Way
Focus on Metrics That Matter
Invest in a Reliable IT Infrastructure
Utilize Productivity Applications
Set Clear Deadlines
Cultivate a Remote Work Company Culture
Prepare for the Future
If you’ve just boarded your go-remote train (or are about to board it) amid the Corona virus outbreak, here are some of the best remote working tips that’ll help you achieve the best results:
1) Focus on Metrics That Matter
When your employees are in office, it’s easy to observe and gain a sense of approximate time they spend working. Things become more challenging when your team is remote.
As a leader, you need to embrace this dynamic, and the fact that employees will become slightly informal when they go remote.
While leading a distributed team, it is important that you focus on right metrics. For instance, instead of worrying about the amount of time someone works, you need to put your attention on objectives, outcomes and behaviour.
2) Invest in a Reliable IT Infrastructure
As a leader, it is important for you to figure out how to provide your employees with a secure access to business assets and online services.
For this, you need to focus on every aspect of the IT infrastructure – this includes internet broadband service, data storage medium, along with the remote work devices (e.g. PC, laptop, or mobile).
3) Utilize Productivity Applications
To simplify remote work for your employees, give them the right tools to succeed i.e. the remote workers’ toolkit.
Here’s a quick look at the productivity tools you can utilize to bind your employees:
4) Set Clear Deadlines
You don’t want to be worrying or constantly checking up on your team to get the job done. On the other hand, your team also don’t want to reach an important deadline only to find that the task isn’t accomplished.
To make remote work successful and stress-free, make sure to set clear expectations, have check-ins for milestones, and maintain open lines of communication for any disaster along the way.
5) Cultivate a Remote Work Company Culture
When a sudden change occurs, such as switching to remote work in a short span of time because of COVID-19, it can take a while for employees to adjust.
As a leader, you need to step up and create a supportive environment that nurtures progress. You need to give your employees some extra time to learn the remote working skills and tools. You need to help them by regularly sending some or the other educational content regarding remote work.
In meetings, make sure there is open participation and inclusion – each employee should get the opportunity to discuss his/her opinion, whether it’s about the execution of a project or problems/exceptions/opportunities.
Last but not the least…
6) Prepare for the Future
It’s important that you plan for the future. If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. Apparently, hoping that the COVID-19 stops spreading doesn’t count as planning.
Planning includes developing a remote work policy that best suits your company’s goals. Don’t forget to modify it based on the ever-changing circumstances. Think of remote work as a golden opportunity to take your business to newer heights.
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The transition from a structured office to a flexible remote work lifestyle can be difficult at first. However, if your organization handles it the right way, it can be as productive as ever.