Twitter is one of the technology giants we have today with a market value of $22.07B and annual revenue of $3.5B. Recently, it set up a remote work team system, allowed some of its employees to work from home. It must have listened to the voice of 45% of Americans who want to continue working fulltime or part-time from home once the economy opens.
As an employer, here is a percentage that will trickle your ears due to a change looming over the horizon.
About 60% of those interviewed on working from home responded that they were equally or more productive than when they worked from the office. Isn’t that great news with a pandemic hovering over our lives?
What if you could get better results without hiring a large office, worrying about the internet, or snacks, and other provisions you have to provide in the office? This is it, folks!
It is time to embrace the remote work team idea. 2020 is undoubtedly the year of change!
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Are You Ready For Remote Work Experience?
COVID-19 pandemic has pushed businesses and organizations, that would never have considered remote working, to become the champions of the idea. However, as sweet as the idea sounds, do not join the bandwagon yet.
Deliberation of the available option is critical if the company is to survive. It will only work for you if you are ready. So, how do you know that you are prepared to allow your workers to operate remotely?
Tasks to do Before Creating a Remote Work Team
- Audit the work done by your employees- an employee’s work will determine whether he or she can work from home. An accountant, for instance, can work from home by accessing the sales and finance systems to reconcile the figures. Some receptionist who receives calls or clients cannot work from home. You will have a group of workers who can work remotely and another that has to remain in the office.
- Evaluate how you interact with your clients and themselves- do clients order through the phone or they come to the office? Sending employees who interact with clients is, therefore, impossible. If physical interaction between departments is necessary, you might have to keep your employees around.
- Is the team ready to work remotely?– working from home requires mental preparedness, the ability to understand as well as use technology, and the availability of a conducive space to work at home. You might want to send them home yet they have small kids or families that would affect their productivity. You need to buy-in your employees before implementing the idea.
- Prepare for the hitches- prepare for glitches at the initial phase. Someone will find difficulties handling gadgets or delivering work on time. Another wants to stay around people to remain productive. If these challenges affect your productivity, you need to consider partial implementation.
Every business or organization should make decisions based on the gains such a vital decision will bring. While other companies could be embracing the remote work idea, your primary concern should be on the benefits it will bring to your organization or business. Further, you should also ask if there exist other options that would be more profitable.
A look at the advantages of a remote work idea will help you to make a more rewarding decision.
Is Remote Work as Good as it Sounds?
- Saves your business office space: you do not have to house all these employees. Nevertheless, you will still get the desired results
- Helps the organization focus on results as opposed to people: The long term effect is that you will know who can deliver with least supervision- an aspect that forms part of the recruitment process.
- Improves the productivity of your team since they work in their most preferred environment.
The benefits of allowing workers to operate remotely are making the idea attractive. However, the hard part is implementing and making it work for your organization.
Hence, creating a remote work team isn’t an unchartered territory. Interestingly, you now have the benefit of doing it better than those who started. Your most significant advantage will be the level of acceptance it is having now. Workers, clients, and the general public are far more comfortable with the idea. Such buy-in will make it easier to set up and manage the team.
Let’s now look into setting up a remote work team
How to set up a Remote Work Team
Remote work is not just about telling employees not to report to work physically and removing their desks. It means creating a whole management system that will guarantee a smooth workflow. The workers’ welfare operating from home should also be considered.
Moreover, remote work also affects the sense of teamwork and bonding that happens when people spend time together. You need a way to maintain such unity of purpose. Henceforth, the cohesion of a team will depend on how you set up your remote work ‘office.’
Here is a step-by-step guide on remote work:
1. Document The Processes
A dashboard view of your organization will make remote work planning and implementation easier. Visualize how a client or project gets to your doorstep up to the point of exit. See how employees exchange information and how such information affects their daily work schedule.
Therefore, knowledge of processes helps you to understand the disruption that would occur if one of the employees was physically absent. This knowledge also helps you in preparing for tools and equipment that would compensate in case of an emergency, making sure that processes are still completed.
2. Establish The Infrastructure
Infrastructure can be both physical and in the form of software. Will your employees require laptops, computers, mobile phones, and such gadgets? What features like cameras and sound need to be installed? Can they access the internet from the comfort of their homes?
Invest in the best remote work tools for productivity and efficiency. Some of these tools and equipment are already available in the office.
In case the infrastructure is shared, you will have to buy separate gadgets for each remote working employee.
3. Define Roles
Establish or reinforce management protocol. The hierarchy of work management must be clear. Since it will be difficult to walk over to the desk of your employees, they need to understand their roles in keeping the office work running.
Communication is the secret formula for making remote work effective. Determine the flow of emails, calls, video calls, and other forms of communication in the management process. Remember, If one key employee is off the grid, it might cause the entire team to be redundant.
4. Equip Your Staff
Readiness goes beyond investment in laptops, software, and internet connection. Can they work with the equipment and tools without hitches? What happens if there is a technical hitch? Do you send your technician to their homes?
Teach them how to remain productive when working remotely. Furthermore, educate workers on how to manage family and friends. Such knowledge will give them confidence that they can still deliver while away from the office.
5. Pay Attention To Results
A remote work setting requires more focus on results than the presence of an employee. Each member of a team must understand that he or she is now a boss. With limited micromanagement, results will count more than anything else. Create reasonable delivery timelines with rewards and penalties for delivery. Address any challenges that may hinder the goal of the business.
Results will require adjustment of protocols. For instance, if one employee depends on reports of other people, he or she might ‘report’ later. It also means that the team member could be requested to stay longer in the evening.
Find a balance that works for every member of your team to guarantee productivity.
How To Manage The Remote Work Team
The biggest nightmare for a manager is dealing with workers who are out of sight. The office environment means that you cannot account for their time. Supervisors do not have their eyes on them.
Consequently, the management of remote workers and the work environment needs you to consider two elements.
- Managing the workers– how do they get the work, complete it, and submit for action
- How safe is your virtual office?– can rivals snoop into your secrets? Will clients be comfortable with the dispersal of their information to private homes?
Managing Remote Workers
The remote work team (In this article) now have computers, internet connection, and work schedules in place.
However, there are a few challenges that require a solution. They include:
- Absence of face-to-face supervision– lack of physical interaction may lead to complacency or employees feeling as though managers are not in touch with their needs. Video conferencing tools will help solve the problem. Organize one or two days a week when the entire team works from the office for bonding.
- Lack of access to information– information is only useful if it is timely. The processes you developed when setting up must guarantee quick access to adequate information. Such a hitch will slow down the delivery of results.
- Loneliness– with remote work rated so highly, organizations thrive on collaboration. Remember, office space did create some synergy that enhances result delivery. Allow and facilitate workers to interact through video calls. Consider having a day (or two) at the office to help in eliminating (work) loneliness.
- Distraction at home– children, entertainment gadgets, and friends are some of the sources of distraction that will affect productivity. An allowance to create a home workspace may help. You should also sensitize employees on how to work best at home.
Securing Your Work
Remote work comes with the challenge of securing employee and client data. As an organization, you must invest in internet security, considering that a lot of company secrets and client details will be shared online. Any breach can lead to loss of business with a damaged reputation.
Workers must receive extra training on cybersecurity and sensitization on why organization secrets must be guarded.
It is essential to update software and hardware.
Other measures, like keeping children and strangers away from your work station at home, also require attention.
Building A Remote Work Team Culture
Just like working from the office, you need to start thinking about remote work culture. Employees should also have this option during recruitment. Your budget must also reflect investment in such provisions.
Continually review your strategy to identify areas of improvement and efficiency. Another important aspect of building a positive remote work culture is to recognize and appreciate your employees’ hard work and achievements. You can create custom awards and recognition programs to motivate and inspire your remote workforce.
The success of the remote work team lies in planning, facilitation, and collaboration.
Thus, the entire team must work on management, communication, productivity, constant training, and results.
Remote work is the new future that everyone has to embrace. Each member of the team must strive to make it work.