Last year has changed a lot in terms of how we work. Home offices have become much more abundant with the restrictions in place. For this reason, company leaders and management had to establish a well-functioning remote work environment. Building one is no easy feat, as work from home has its challenges to overcome.
Having formed a great remote work culture has enabled businesses to stay afloat in the new reality. There’s a lot to consider when restructuring your workflows and business processes to fit well with remote work. Why is it so difficult, and what can you do to improve it?
Home office, while having a lot of benefits, has its difficulties as well. Sure, you save your employees’ time and money on commuting, give them more freedom and improve their work-life balance, although these advantages can at times be outweighed by downsides.
“Switching from regular office to remote work is not an easy transition for most people. While it takes some getting used to, overcoming the challenges feels satisfying. Seeing your team working just as efficiently, or even more so than before, is a wonderful feeling. Establishing the right workplace culture is essential for it to be possible.” Jacek Ptak, Co-founder, krakowdirect
While a lot of workers prefer home office, there are some to whom it does no good at all. Their lack of self-discipline can prove to be damaging to their overall productivity, as there’s nobody watching over them. Putting tasks off for later becomes much more common, and as these tasks are piling up, it gets tougher and tougher to catch up.
Ever since the pandemic has started, people got more susceptible to isolation. The lack of human contact can cause a lot of harm, and remote work doesn’t help. While some people prefer this situation, others can get depressed, making them less motivated to do their job.
Possible hardware issues
Some businesses don’t provide any work equipment for their employees, which makes them have to use their own. This, in turn, can cause problems with reliability.
Some employees have families, which makes them more prone to distractions. There isn’t always a possibility of having a secluded space for them to work in, and so they may have difficulties in keeping focused.
Real, in-person communication is far more reliable and effective. It’s much easier to convey your thoughts when you’re speaking directly to a human being instead of a computer screen. Brainstorming and discussion become much harder over a video call, which often results in chaos.
Reshape your company values
Changing up your work model could mean that you’ll need to restructure your company from the ground up. Think of what fundamental values would come in handy the most when switching to remote work. Your current direction, while it may work with regular office work, it might not be the right way of going forward. Adaptation to the new reality is key here. The critical points that you should work on improving are adaptability, micromanagement, agility, and flexibility.
Ensure psychological safety
Speaking up in a remote environment could prove to be much harder than doing so in-person. As a leader, you’ll need to encourage your employees to talk whenever there’s something wrong, or when they’re being mistreated. This makes it easier for them to adapt to new conditions and feel safe.
Conduct regular meetings
Good communication is critical for your remote work environment to work properly. Since online meetings are not as efficient, you might need to meet more than you used to when working at the traditional office. Make sure that you do one-on-one calls with your employees as well. Such often meetings can ease off the feeling of social distancing and isolation, at least to a certain degree.
“Establishing a healthy relationship with each of your employees can go a long way. Don’t hesitate with getting to know them personally. Don’t overdo it, though, as both your employees and yourself could suffer from Zoom fatigue. “ Dima Suponau, CEO at Number For Live Person
Encourage your team both to provide feedback to you, and to one another. Make sure to get everybody engaged in discussions and brainstorming. Each voice can be of value, so try getting even your quietest team members to talk. Gathering feedback is only the first step, though, as you’ll need to apply it, too.
Prepare for remote onboarding
A great onboarding program can solve a lot of trouble. Ensure that your process is comprehensive and digestible, so as to guarantee that your employee will know what to do. Providing a mentor to each addition is a great way of getting them on the same page as the other team members. On top of that, onboarding entire groups can save a lot of time.
“It’s impossible to convey as much knowledge online as you could in-person. For this reason, optimising your remote onboarding processes is vital for efficiency. While not an easy task, it’s certainly manageable with the right tools at your disposal.” Gabriel Nightingale Bon Accord Pest Control
Consider changing up your work model
Working 9-5 basically becomes obsolete with home office. A flexible work model ensures maximum productivity. You could even go as far as letting your team members plan their working hours themselves.
Be clear, forgiving and friendly
Communicating your company values, expectations, and goals in a clear manner is vital for your employees to grasp them. Similarly, being forgiving in these uncertain, stressful times can pay dividends in the form of your employees trusting you and being comfortable around you.
Use the right tools
Using proper software becomes mandatory if you want your remote work environment to function. Building an infrastructure of tools provides you with the possibility of streamlining your workflows and business processes. Project management, communication, onboarding, time tracking, collaboration — all of those things are essential and require software. Using applications like Trello, Zoom, or Google Drive is key to creating a working environment.