Many of us are building remote teams or migrating our in-office teams to out-of-office. For both the employer and employee, this process can be overwhelming and there’s much to consider from wellbeing to, well, work. Read this guide to ensure teams stay on top of their workload while keeping culture alive, all away from the office.
The Rise of Remote Work
Interest in remote work has been steadily increasing over the past five years. Since then, coronavirus has only accelerated the adoption of remote roles, especially for knowledge workers who aren’t required to attend as many people-facing meetings. Gartner forecasts that 51% of global knowledge workers will be remote for these individuals by the end of 2021.
Why Remote Work Works
Hiring for remote roles has benefits for both the employer and employee.
For the employee, remote work allows for flexibility, empowering teams to straddle career advancement and personal projects, all while cutting the commute. It’s linked to better productivity, increased wellbeing and location independence.
For employers, offering remote work helps widen talent pools, lower operational costs, boast a better carbon footprint and, of course, boost retention rates and employee satisfaction scores for the reasons listed above. It can also aid global expansion, ultimately enabling companies to offer a more attractive proposition to their customers.
Managing Remote Work the Right Way
Remote work, whether organizations go all-in and create a fully remote workforce or dip their toe in out-of-office using the hybrid model, is set to stay. As a result, companies will need guidance around managing a remote global workforce and better availability of up-to-date information on what to expect from remote work in the future.
Although it poses many long-term benefits, switching to remote work can be challenging, especially during the first stages of implementation. Organizations will need to prepare before they take the plunge, engaging with all the right content and consulting experts in the field — especially if they’re scaling remote work to offer it on a global scale.
Setting Up a Remote Team: Software, Schedules & Processes
The first thing to consider is the logistics of setting up a remote workforce. What will your team use to help them fulfill their role and responsibilities? How will they communicate? Which schedules and processes will change and will new ones be introduced?
Identifying the Right Tools
First and foremost, remote work calls for tools and technology to support the transition to out-of-office work. There's much to think about when putting together your tech stack, from a project management software to an instant messaging system and a more overarching global mobility solution.
There may also be some behind-the-scenes software to implement, like platforms to support payroll and HR processes.
Technology plays a significant role in remote working as it gives senior teams all-important visibility. Suddenly, software replaces the office space to become the tangible element of an organization. Don’t forget to look at tools to help with:
Projects and productivity
Communication and wellbeing
Payroll and HR
Security and storage
You’ll need to think about the bare bones of your business, making sure deliverables are visible and easy to achieve. But wellbeing and HR also creep up the agenda, ensuring your employees have adequate support to succeed.
Structuring Schedules and Processes
In remote work, not as much can be organized on the fly. Instead, calendars will need to be updated with recurring events. Capacity will need to be forecasted far in advance and weeks will need to feel structured to make sure everyone is aligned.
This will call for policy change for existing employees but will require significant changes for individuals who are onboarded after remote work is adopted. For example, you’ll need to be more aware of what employment laws apply to remote employees and if there are any international laws you aren’t abiding by already if you begin hiring from overseas.
Training remote employees and more rigorous employee background screening are just some things you’ll need to consider in remote recruitment to make sure you transition smoothly and create a seamless team.
Thinking Ahead With Remote Work: Company Culture & Performance Management
There’s a lot on a company’s plate from a practical standpoint, but the transition to remote work also signifies a greater change than a different outlook for day-to-day operations. Longer-term, remote organizations can suffer from dilution of their company culture and hiccups regarding performance if there aren’t things to keep all these other elements intact.
Building a culture
How do companies build a culture when there's no physical meeting place or face-to-face communication?
Industry experts recommend everything from leveraging collaboration tools to pushing video conferencing at all costs. But it comes down to reminding employees that company culture exists, using anything from games to frequent messages relaying good feedback to get the point across.
That said, company culture certainly shouldn’t feel forced. A contrived effort to unite employees could have the opposite effect. So, be subtle and work on other ways to win your employees around. Revising employee benefits and replacing in-office benefits to make your offer equally as strong, for example, is a small action you can take so that your team and others looking in are assured you're still standing by your brand story.
Lastly, performance management is undeniably one of the top challenges of managing remote employees. Hopefully, the set up of foolproof processes and technology implementation should help organisations gain visibility over employee action. But firms also need to be poised to deal with poor performance should the situation arise.
Companies can focus on existing disciplinary and performance management processes to tweak these documents to be more geared towards remote work. For example, documentation should include information about total hours logged in a project management system, billable time vs non-billable time and working in core hours, if this is part of your policy.
In the first few weeks and months of being remote, leaders may want to give their teams more grace for them to get used to this new world of work. But in business, teams certainly can’t see remote work as a way to rest up and do less with their newfound freedom.
In short, leadership can’t expect efficiency from day one, and to help; they’ll need to set their sights on more support through a robust remote one-to-one system and better budgeting for extras like employee coaching programs.
Managing newly remote workers, from anywhere is possible, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. From technology to team building, we all need to go back to basics and consider what our current processes look like in an out of the office context. In an ideal world, we’d have one magic tool to help us with it all. And with GXOne, maybe we do.
Learn More About GXOne, the Tool to Help Companies Revel in Remote Work
GXOne helps recently remote and established out-of-office teams to manage their operations. We've developed the platform to cover the entire employee lifecycle, so you finally get peace of mind when it comes to compensation, taxes, benefits, payroll and more.
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