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Remote Working Trends and Options: Eliminating DesksBy Devon Maresco
Remote work is here to stay. The prospect of long-term remote working is yet another chapter in the long history of workplace evolution, and companies need to adapt. That doesn’t mean pivoting to accommodate this change temporarily—it means setting up for flex work, distributed teams, and remote employees as the new standard.
Is working remotely effective? All signs point to yes, which is all the more reason for companies to get behind the trend and start adapting. It’s not as simple as allowing employees to log in and work from home. Embracing remote work means companies need to reestablish expectations, create new processes, and give employees new opportunities to be productive.
Here’s a look at six must-have keys to success and the role they play in a sustainable shift to remote work and distributed teams.
1. Remote accessibility
Remote work demands remote accessibility. Employees need access to the same digital resources they would use in-office. This goes beyond access to an email server or the company cloud. It needs to encompass the complete suite of apps, programs, and tools they need to do their job. For many companies, this means looking into licensing and cloud-based platforms, to ensure everyone has access no matter where they’re working from.
Companies moving to remote work permanently need to also consider cybersecurity. Opening up access to a wide array of applications, data, and systems means shoring up practices and protocols that might leave the company and employees vulnerable. Make cybersecurity a priority to enable safe accessibility for all.
2. Collaborative tools
Remote work often means working alone, but it doesn’t need to command isolation. There are a plethora of collaborative tools out there, and companies need to leverage as many as needed to enable distributed teams. From file repositories like Dropbox to collaboration through Google Docs, give teams the tools they need to be productive as one.
Among the most important collaborative tools are project management platforms. From keeping people on-task to delegating amongst the team, these apps serve as a home-base for bringing teams together. As an added bonus, there’s opportunities for management to communicate with staff, track progress, and weigh in on problems.
3. Seamless communication
Communication goes hand-in-hand with collaboration. Thankfully, there are so many applications out there that combine them. Microsoft Teams, Slack, Discord, and Facebook Messenger all help employees maintain communication in a broad capacity. Whether it’s weighing in or asking questions, a trusted means of communication is the backbone to any successful remote work migration.
While it’s vital for working together, good communication also plays a role in helping employees adapt to a new remote work norm. They need to be able to chat with employees in the same way they would in-office, with opportunities for banter and off-task chatting. Even something as simple as the #random Slack thread serves an important purpose.
4. Engaged leadership
Managing a remote team successfully comes from learning to balance a hands-on approach with a trusting one. Leaders need to position themselves as accessible and available to solve problems, while maintaining the role of authority. While the tendency might be to hold the reins tighter, it’s actually smarter to give them some slack. Employees need to adjust and feel like they have room to adjust. Bearing down on them can taint the allure of remote work.
The most important trait of remote managers? Empathy. Emotional intelligence and the ability to empathize with each individual’s unique situation creates mutual trust between leaders and subordinates. “I give you the freedom and understanding to do a good job; you prove to me that you can do it your way.”
5. Flex work solutions
Remote work doesn’t signal a death knell for the office. Many employees like the office and the familiarity of going to work. Whether they choose to come back to the office full time, split their schedule, or show up at random, there need to be desking options available to them. This is why hoteling is so popular in the age of flex work. Like remote work, it gives employees the power to choose their own work style and provides a framework for support around that optionality.
6. Patience and flexibility
Even the best digital resources and agile strategies aren’t enough to make a remote work situation successful if they’re not backed by patience and flexibility. Companies need to show clear support for their employees and provide them with peace of mind as they transition remote. That means easing the transition, checking in on the adjustment process, and putting emphasis on trust. Employees need to feel excited about the transition and feel comfortable reestablishing their own habits in their own way. If they feel supported, they’ll adapt quickly.
These six keys add up to a remote work approach that’s designed to foster success. Remote work solutions need to enable employees, support teams, and benefit the business. The above focus items do exactly that. Most companies have some semblance of a remote work system in-place. Use this roadmap to fill in the blanks, to make it more effective and, most important, sustainable.
Keep reading: Remote Working Trends and Options: Eliminating Desks