Little by little remote working is becoming a reality. Over a quarter of U.S. workers are now operating remotely for at least a few hours every week.
But making it actually work on a more permanent basis and taking it from an idea in a white paper is an different scenario entirely. This guide is going to go into how working remotely long-term is going to work and how people will actually enjoy working remotely.
Through Great Communication
The reason why remote working could never possibly function before was because the tools weren't in place to enable smooth communication between employer and employee. To make remote working work, you need to use a platform that's going to allow you to get the information you need to the people that need it. A phone call can work, but in the real world this isn't good enough.
You can use a range of methods to communicate through remote working. Up to now, this has come in many forms, including email and Skype, but as remote working gains in popularity expect to see the growth of combined platforms. These platforms will see project management and communication tied together in one piece of software.
By Being a Great Manager
Managers have to take on even more responsibility for their teams with the growth of remote working. It's not viable to tell someone to go away and work from home without any support. Great managers have to provide regular assistance and they have to set out clear goals and expectations.
Keeping this connection can prove challenging, but remote working is forcing change and companies are finding that remote managers are getting better and better at this.
Working as a Team
When remote working first came up in conversation many companies feared that it would pull people apart. This is why it has taken so long to actually catch fire. But now that organizations are trying remote working for themselves, they are discovering that it can actually bring people closer together. There's no reason why remote working has to ruin the team dynamics you have in place.
Working as a team can happen through the various pieces of collaboration software available. This enables people to brainstorm and speak in real-time. Make sure that you are having regular video contact with your team to build the perfect team.
Making Remote Working Personal
Remote working has gone much further than simply allowing people working in the same office to go home and work from the comfort of their living rooms. A lot of companies are now relying on remote working to survive. It is not uncommon to see organizations that have operated using workers from multiple countries who have never met each other before.
This can present the problem of building relationships between team members. After all, it's difficult to get personal with someone you have never met half the world away.
That's why you need to temper your work sessions with regular water cooler talk. For example, you may decide to begin each team meeting by talking about what everyone did over the weekend. It may seem like a small gesture, but it can make all the difference because you are gradually building relationships between people.
Keep in Mind that Productivity is Still a Must
Advocates of remote working were shocked when Yahoo announced they would be abandoning the organization's remote work policy. It led to people questioning whether remote working was really viable. But the truth is that the 'remote' part of the equation wasn't the issue.
Instead, it was more to do with Yahoo and the decline in the company's overall fortunes. Productivity and progress have both seen downturns within the company.
To make remote working function in the real world, it's necessary to set clear goals and then come up with a way to measure those goals. You have to have clear expectations and then you have to communicate them to your employees. It's no good moving your operations into the homes of employees and expecting everything to continue as it did before. You have to carefully monitor such a policy.
Conclusion: Remote Working Can Be Extremely Powerful
When done right, remote working can bring a lot of benefits to your company. But it's not going to completely change the way your company works. It's not going to cover for a poorly executed strategy. Remote working is the future, but it's a future that has to be carefully managed.