Most of the country has now eclipsed the year mark regarding stay-at-home orders, mask mandates, and other stipulations caused by the COVID 19 pandemic. Even as vaccines begin to roll out and restrictions are being lifted on brick-and-mortar businesses, many companies are planning to continue to offer remote work to their employees.
Remote work offers benefits to both parties, allowing more flexibility and comfort for employees, and money saved on office space to businesses.
But looking a little bit deeper, it also allows for companies to hire without proximity in mind and offers the same reach to potential employees. With those benefits, also brings forth the challenges.
Here are 4 tips to help keep your remote business running smoothly.
Maximize Meeting Times
With no office space, a quick “hey, we forgot something in that meeting” may not reach everyone, as remote work tends to mean flexible breaks, especially after a meeting. With that in mind, meetings need to have strict agendas, time for reflection, and their attendance is much more important. So be sure your employees understand the reasons why.
Creating an open agenda on your team’s cloud workspace service allows for input and questions to be discussed before the actual meeting, so in-person (somewhat, anyway) chats can be more direct and thought-out, ultimately making them more effective.
Encourage Your Team to ‘Turn Off’
With remote work, there is no way to subtly let your colleagues know you are in focus-mode like there is in the brick-and-mortar setting (closing a door, putting headphones on, etc.). With this and the general nature of remote work, notifications and quick-hit messages are much more frequent. Turning your phone to a “do not disturb” setting and closing your team’s chat windows will help you and your employees stay in a flow state.
Business analysts conducted studies that show that it takes at least 20 minutes to reach high-focus and a “groove,” and every text, call, or message interruption resets that clock, causing lapses in productivity. Save your “emergency messages” for true emergencies and your team will perform at more productive rates.
When co-workers (especially those who may not have ever even seen a colleague’s face) perceive a lapse in response time as a lack in professionalism, it leads to negative views of the individual and a lack of motivation when dealing with them. With this, it is important to convey to all of your employees that lapses in response time just mean the individual is working hard and in a flow state.
Encourage (But Don’t Require) Social Interaction
Any remote business guide will encourage social interaction with team members outside of the scope of employment. As vaccines start to roll out, and social events become safer, be sure to regularly set up events and gatherings. Hikes or other outdoor activities are less likely to scare off some employees as COVID continues to linger, as will the memory of it.
Lacks of non-business interaction have led to many individuals straying from the remote workplace, which can mean completely leaving a company for many businesses adopting the remote model. Even giving the team 10 or 20 minutes at the beginning of a meeting to talk about life and outside endeavors.
The best thing you can do as a remote boss is to let your colleagues work. The general mindset of the worker who prefers the remote setting is “I get more done when I’m alone,” not “I can slack off.”
Enabling your employees to shine means giving them time and resources to perform at high levels. Cloud communications, storage, and scheduling should be easy to use. You should be open to ideas about how to improve remote working conditions, especially if it is a new option for your employees.
As remote business also means potential for extended hiring pools, focuses on diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness should also be increased. As a supportive workspace is one that is proven to retain employees at higher rates (and it’s good for the world).