There are challenges that remote workers and companies could face on a daily basis
Thanks to today’s interconnected world, remote work is becoming more common in businesses across the nation, and for good reason.
According to a recent study by Indeed, employees say they receive many benefits from remote working, including better work-life balance (80%), reduced stress (58%) and improved morale (55%).
And the benefits don’t stop with employees. Many Australian employers have also cited experiencing benefits from implementing remote working arrangements, such as more productive employees (67%), employees with improved morale (54%) and reduced employee turnover and absenteeism (57%).
But, while remote working brings many advantages to both employees and employees, there are also some challenges that remote workers and companies could face on a daily basis. For example, employees working remotely could feel isolated from their team members, miss out on important team bonding activities and even lose their creativity and motivation from not having the opportunities to collaborate with others.
But with 68% of Australians claiming their company allows remote work, the answer isn’t necessarily removing remote working arrangements from organisations. Instead, companies should take steps to improve remote work for their employees. So here are four tips on how you can start improving your remote working arrangements today.
Set the expectations early on
To ensure your remote working arrangement isn’t misunderstood, set the expectations early on about what it will look like. For example, are employees allowed to set their own times when working remotely, or are they expected to be online during regular work hours? Can employees work remotely every day, or are they expected to be in the office a few times a week? Remote working can be open to interpretation, so it’s important to make it clear to your remote workers what you expect from them when they are not in the office to help ensure everyone is on the same page.
Invest in the technology and resources your remote workers will need
If you’re allowing employees to work remotely, it’s important for them to have the resources they need to effectively do their job. This means investing in technologies such as laptops, smartphones, video conferencing and messaging tools that give remote workers the ability to perform at their best while also being able to stay in contact with their colleagues.
Since your remote workers won’t always be in the office, it can also be beneficial to invest in project management tools such as monday.com or Asana. This can help give you insight into their workload without having to rely on when they’re next in the office or when they respond to your email.
Regularly communicate with remote workers
Because remote workers can feel isolated and left out, it’s important to set aside time for regular communication. If your team is 100% remote, schedule regular catch-ups with them via video conferencing. It can also be beneficial to establish a virtual water cooler where the team can chat with each other on a regular basis and build relationships that can help increase productivity and boost morale.
If your employees are casual remote workers, try to maximise in-person time by scheduling important meetings and regular catch-ups for when they are in the office. Always provide the opportunity for them to dial into meetings that fall on days they are not in the office to ensure they don’t feel left out.
If possible, take things offline occasionally
If your entire team is virtual, it’s important to try to take things offline occasionally. While technology allows us to communicate and engage with people virtually, without face-to-face interactions, it’s unlikely that your team will develop as strong of a bond with each other as teams who physically interact with each other on a daily basis. So try to set some time for a monthly or quarterly in-person catch up with your virtual team to give them an opportunity to interact with each other and you. These meetups can be brainstorming sessions, meetings, or even team bonding activities that take place outside of the office. Whatever they are, it’s important to give your virtual team an opportunity to engage with each other offline from time to time.
There’s no doubt that remote work can be beneficial to both employees and employers. By implementing these strategies to help support and guide your remote workers, you can be confident you’re taking the extra steps to ensure not only your remote working arrangement is successful, but also your remote employees.
Methodology: The survey was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Indeed among 1,003 randomly selected employed respondents and 200 randomly selected employers in Australia between October 26, 2018 and November 1, 2018.
Jay Munro is the Head of Career Insights at Indeed