Remote work has become commonplace nowadays, and it’s one of the foundational pillars of this new phenomenon we call the “new normal”. Not every company is equipped and ready to survive in this new business world, especially the ones that have considered adopting the remote work business model. However, if you want to stay afloat and even thrive in the years to come, then remote work should become your key focus.
There are many benefits to remote work, actually, but there are also many hurdles. Maintaining and improving productivity, for example, can seem like an impossible task for a decentralized team. On the other hand, you might find it difficult to keep innovation alive now that people aren’t working in the same office.
Somehow, you need to overcome the challenges and learn to combine good leadership with some essential collaboration tools to help your company succeed. Here’s what you need to do.
Defining a remote work structure
Every successful business should have its roots in a concrete plan and strategy. If you are to succeed in the new normal, you need to capitalize on remote work, and to do that, you need to know exactly how to set up your new digital structure. Your employees and team leads need to get used to working remotely, so to maintain productivity, they need to follow a certain roadmap.
You can create this roadmap for them by defining the hierarchical structure of remote work, as well as defining a communication hierarchy. This way, every employee will know exactly whom to report to and whom to communicate with on a daily basis. To make this process more efficient, you should use a reliable project management tool where your employees can collaborate in real-time.
Managing employee time is paramount
Back when everyone was working under the same roof, managing workflow and employee performance was easy. You didn’t really need any fancy tools if you had a small enough team that you could oversee around the office. However, with remote work, things are drastically different. Now that people are working from home, you can expect productivity to start declining slowly over time.
This is a natural occurrence because of the lack of direct supervision and organization, but you can prevent it and even improve productivity by integrating the best tools for remote work to avoid procrastination. One of these is, of course, a time-tracking app that will provide you with all of the information you need to gauge employee performance and keep all data organized in a centralized location.
Communication is essential for success
One of the most important elements of a successful remote work structure is communication. Now that you’re working remotely, you need to be able to retain the same level of communication quality you had when you were all together at the office. Of course, you can only do this by integrating the right communication system. It needs to be a centralized system like VoIP to ensure communication efficiency and consistency across the board.
You also need to look for advanced VoIP features such as the ones in the popular Nextiva business phone system that includes video and audio conferencing, chat functions, as well as full mobile optimization so that you can stay in touch on the go. The more communication features you have, the better you will be at communicating with your remote teams, which will improve productivity, engagement, and output.
Making sure to avoid and prevent employee burnout
All this talk about work and how to improve productivity can make us forget about one key aspect of remote work success – preventing burnout. Look, working from home is not a dream-come-true for everyone, and some of your employees might be going through a tough time right now.
Perhaps they are taking care of sick family members, or maybe being stuck indoors is negatively affecting their mental health. As their leader, you need to take a personalized approach to employee well-being, and ensure that nobody is experiencing burnout. Make sure to schedule one-on-one meetings and focus on the individual’s needs. Ask them how they are doing, if they are happy and satisfied, and if there is anything you can do to elevate their productivity and zeal.
Nurturing a positive workplace culture
Tying directly into employee well-being, we need to stress the importance of company culture for remote work success. When people are working at the same office, building a positive workplace culture can be an easy and straightforward process. However, working remotely can alienate people and simply make them stop socializing.
It’s important to keep engagement high through group meetings and online team-building events that will inspire people to stay in touch. Laughing together and doing something non-work-related can be highly restorative for your remote team. It can also elevate their happiness, mental health, and of course, their productivity and performance.
Remote work can bring many benefits to your business, but only if you know how to structure and organize your teams. Be sure to use these tips to capitalize on the remote work business model and take your company forward in 2020 and beyond.