What are the challenges when working remote?
Talent and intelligence are equally distributed throughout the world, but opportunities are not. In Start-up Hotspots such as Berlin or the Silicon Valley, companies are essentially fishing talents from the same small talent pond. By making the company distributed – allow remote work- they can fish from the entire ocean.
Remote work allows people autonomy over how they do their work. Unless you are in a role where specific hours are important, you can make your own schedule, chose on your preferred location, food and weather there should be music or silence.
The truth is, for all its benefits, working remotely can have its struggles such as in forming relationships and career development. But the truth is- remote work is the future. 51% of workers would change their job for a role that offered them flex time and 37% would make a move for a role that allowed them to work remotely at least part-time.
But perhaps the issue isn’t with remote work. It is how we manage and work with remote employees. For managers and co-workers to develop successful relationships with remote workers, changes need to be made. Have trust and confidence in your remote workers. Just being in the office does not guarantee that an employee is being productive. By changing your attitude and management style you can make remote work successful for your team.
Here are some practical tips on how you can support your remote workforce:
1. Document everything
In an office it is easy to make decisions at the moment e.g., at the coffee machine. But if members of the team work remotely, they do not have access to those conversations. Thus, they will see these decisions being made without understanding the why. Always leave a trail of where you were and what you were thinking about. This allows others to pick up where you left off. It allows people in different time zones to interact and is also great for new people joining the organizations.
2. Move communications online
Try to have as much communication as possible online. When everything is shared in public, it allows new people to catch up quickly. No one likes to feel like they are in the dark, so start by setting expectations. Clear and honest communication is even more important for remote workers. Remote employees do not have the luxury of being able to swing by your desk to ask questions, so be sure to schedule consistent check-ins.
3. Find the right tools
There are so many apps and tools that help with day-to-day communication. Test out and experiment with different tools that enable collaboration.
4. Create productive face-to-face time
In a traditional office you are together approx. 48 weeks out of the year and you might have 3 weeks when you are not together. Perhaps, try to flip that, and come together for short, intensive bursts. Try to meet up once a year with the entire company for a week, with the primary goal to connect people.
5. Help people create their ideal space
Provide employees with a coworking stipend that they can put towards their co-working space or just to buy coffee, so they do not get kicked out of the coffee shop. Alternatively, provide a home-office stipend, in other words, money that people can invest in getting the desk setup, so they can have the most productive environment for them.
Author: Jana Osipov