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Today’s workers are more mobile and independent than ever before. In fact, according to the latest Gallup poll, nearly half of all employees work remotely at least part time. The rise of virtual working is only going to accelerate in the future. In response to these changing workplace demographics, businesses are now shifting their focus from office space to technology that facilitates communication and collaboration – a practice known as remote work or telework . These strategies not only reduce overhead costs but also improve employee satisfaction and productivity. Here’s how your company can embrace distributed teams and reap the benefits of remote work.
Build a Culture of Transparency and Open Communication
A remote workforce thrives on an atmosphere of open communication, in which employees feel empowered to share their concerns and opinions with their managers and colleagues. This transparency is essential for resolving conflicts and addressing challenges before they escalate and result in turnover. To foster transparency, companies must first be willing to be open about their communication strategies – the tools and channels they use to communicate, their expectations for how those tools should be used, and how employees can access support. This can be tricky for managers who are used to having face-to-face conversations with their teams. Be transparent about your expectations and strategies, and provide training and support as necessary.
Offer Remote Employment as an Employment Benefit
If your company already employs remote workers, you should consider making remote employment an employment benefit. Doing so will help you attract and retain top talent, while also demonstrating your commitment to promoting work-life balance and fostering an inclusive culture. This could also qualify you for tax benefits and incentives. Besides, offering remote employment as an employment benefit will allow you to hire people who aren’t limited by geographical boundaries. This is especially useful in industries like nursing, where long-distance care is essential. Besides, offering remote employment as an employment benefit also helps reduce turnover. In fact, research shows that remote employees are 18% less likely to quit than those who work in an office. This lower turnover rate is likely due to the fact that employees who work remotely are generally more satisfied with their jobs.
Invest in the Best Communication Tools
Communication tools are essential for remote work. They help foster a sense of community and connection across geographies, while also promoting productivity. Besides, communication tools should be integrated into the core workflows of your organization. Otherwise, they’ll fall by the wayside and fail to achieve their full potential. When choosing communication tools, make sure they’re designed for remote work. Beyond the tools themselves, your company also needs policies and guidelines for how employees can use them. Make sure to include both in your employee handbook.
Use Video Collaboration
Let’s be honest: Despite all the hype about remote work, some tasks are easier when done in person. For example, certain types of training and brainstorming sessions are more effective in person. They can be more difficult, challenging, and awkward when done virtually. However, there are certain situations where video conferencing is essential. For example, when you want to connect senior leaders with their teams, when you have to present to investors, when you have to train new hires, or when you need to hold a meeting with several stakeholders. Beyond these occasions, video conferencing also makes it easier to collaborate with colleagues both inside and outside your organization. This is particularly true in industries like marketing, where teams often need to collaborate with clients.
Provide High-Quality Equipment
Communication tools are important, but they won’t be effective if employees don’t have access to high-quality equipment. You’ll want to equip employees with high-quality computer hardware, internet infrastructure, and mobile collaboration tools to make sure they can connect and collaborate effectively and efficiently. Besides, you’ll want to make sure your computer systems and networks are resilient and reliable, as you won’t be able to rely on employees to visit IT and make repairs on the fly. Beyond computer systems, you’ll also want to make sure remote employees have access to high-quality audio and video equipment for video conferencing. This will help ensure that all employees are given equal access to collaboration opportunities.
Hold Regular Collaboration Sessions
While it’s important to provide employees with the support and tools they need to collaborate virtually, regular in-person collaboration sessions are essential for building relationships and creating a sense of community. You can hold these sessions at a centralized location or encourage employees to host them at their homes. Alternatively, you can hold them at neutral locations, such as a co-working space or a nearby coffee shop. Besides, you can also hold virtual collaboration sessions. These sessions don’t require employees to travel or interrupt their workflows. They also allow you to connect with employees who might not otherwise have access to the tools or resources they need to collaborate.
Over to you: Are you ready to embrace remote work?
Remote work offers many benefits, including increased productivity, reduced costs, and improved work-life balance. To reap these benefits, companies must embrace remote work fully and invest in the infrastructure, technology, and communication tools necessary for collaboration.