Remote work is becoming increasingly popular and is revolutionizing the current workforce. This article will guide you on how to navigate remote teams and take advantage of the benefits of working remotely.
Remote work is a significant phenomenon in the future of work.
In fact, it is predicted to be the future, and it is here to stay. Working from home increased from pre- to during the pandemic tremendously from 5% to almost 30% of work days.
Many companies that were hesitant about offering remote work a few years ago have shifted to a remote work model and this will only continue during the post-pandemic period.
So, what does this imply for the future of the workforce? Almost all of us have experienced remote work due to the pandemic and still to be said, there are advantages and disadvantages to this type of work. Let's find out today how to tackle these challenges and how to improve managing a remote team.
What is Remote Work?
Remote work is an employment arrangement where employees do not need to travel and work in a centralized location. Instead, employees or workers can work in different locations of their choice, be it their homes, cafes, coworking spaces, home office, or other office spaces. Work can be done anywhere with an internet connection.
Remote work is also prevalent for travelers, or what we call digital nomads, people who "travel the world with a laptop", as defined by Carl Malamud. On the other hand, those companies that fully operate remotely are also called distributed companies, in which all of their workers are distributed in different geographical locations.
Benefits of Working Remotely
Although there are still disadvantages to it, remote work could have a win-win solution that has benefited employers, employees, and even the environment. Let's look at the advantages of working remotely from these 3 different perspectives.
Advantages for Employers
Reduces operational costs.
One of the advantages of remote work is not having to pay for office rent, supplies, equipment, and other expenses. This attracts companies to switch from in-office work to remote. However, in some cases, remote work may not be the best fit for company operations. As a result, companies choose to design their operations in hybrid work models.
Increases employee retention.
Remote working may also increase productivity and motivation among employees, as they can save so much of their commuting time. Additionally, employees have the flexibility to create their own schedules. With these benefits, employees tend to stay with a company that allows people to work from wherever they please.
Expansion of talent pools.
In remote companies, employers are not limited to hiring in their local areas, which means they can hire remote employees that fit the role beyond geographical limitations. Although the biggest barriers are language and culture, a diverse team can bring a lot of new perspectives to the company.
Strengthen Diversity in the Workplace.
Remote work creates a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable work environment. In other words, companies with a more diverse group can create a well-balanced team to stand out from the competition. Additionally, they can strengthen their DEI policy and defense to ensure they welcome and support employees work from all backgrounds, races, and ethnicities.
Advantages for Employees
Saves travel costs & time.
Working from home, on average, saves 8% of the salary of fully remote workers compared to those who come into the office. People also appreciate the flexibility and autonomy of working from home rather than working in an office, as it saves them the hassle of commuting.
Additionally, Global Workplace Analytics reported, 37% of remote workers choose to take a 10% pay cut just to work remotely all the time.
Increases in productivity due to flexible work.
This is still a big debate from the survey conducted between managers and employees. It seems that managers said that remote work hinders productivity, while workers said it helps. Employees argue that they can focus on their tasks and do deep work when they are allowed to work from home. This increases work-from-home employees' productivity level by 3% to 5%, according to research.
Productivity level increases due to flexible hours and autonomy of employees when working from anywhere. This means they can take breaks when they want, they can design their own work environment, and create their own schedule. That’s the beauty of remote work for employees.
The best example of this phenomenon is when Elon Musk ordered Twitter employees to return to the traditional office working style, but most workers disagreed and opted to leave rather than work in the office.
Better remote work opportunities.
With hundreds of remote companies now available, it's easier to find remote job opportunities, as long as you have the necessary skills. It enables job hunters of finding remote work faster, regardless of location.
People with special needs are able to enter the market.
Technology advancements have enabled people with disabilities to apply for remote employment. It is still on a case-by-case basis, but those who are able to perform tasks at home, with the necessary connectivity and equipment, can work fully remotely, just like other workers.
This helps to reduce the gap in opportunities for people with disabilities to contribute to society, regardless of their condition.
Advantages to the environment
Massive reduction in transport emissions.
Due to the minimization of the "commuting" part of the workers, there is less transportation. We saved more than 6 billion miles of commuting per week due to the change to working from home.
Less congested cities lead to less pollution.
People who work remotely prefer to live in the outer suburbs instead of renting an expensive space in city centers. In this case, cities become less congested and people can get more affordable homes in the suburbs and provinces, unlike in pre-pandemic times.
Drawbacks of remote teams
Remote work also has its drawbacks. Some examples are:
- It can be difficult to coordinate meetings when remote employees work across different time zones.
- Face-to-face interaction is reduced, as most people are living in different cities and online communication is the only solution.
- Clear communication can be challenging due to the limitations of online communication. Non-verbal cues are limited, so if not addressed well, problems may arise among teams.
- Cultural and language barriers can arise due to workers coming from different backgrounds, languages, races, and social statuses.
Yes, there are drawbacks, but they can be solved. Let's discuss how you can make remote work successful in the next section.
Making remote work work, How to manage people working remotely
1. Create an effective employee onboarding.
HR managers can increase employee retention rate whether the company is functioning remotely or not, with a great employee onboarding experience. Having the best onboarding process for your new hires will likely increase their likelihood of loving working with you.
For instance, you can create a great flow of onboarding process by:
- Personalizing onboarding and providing unwavering support for the new hires while they adjust to their new environment.
- Giving employees a space to meet colleagues from different teams, discuss topics outside of work, and have fun together. Building an online community inside your company could be a great way to create this space.
- Creating collaborative employee training where they can easily navigate your company resources in one place. Highly-efficient companies today often create their training with an all-in-one learning platform to save time and allow them to operate effectively.
Teachfloor has a ready-made employee onboarding template that saves you time and effort in creating an effective onboarding experience. Try it now by signing up!
2. Write an inclusive remote work policy.
Company policies for distributed teams differ from those of traditional teams. When writing policies for your remote workers, consider workers' culture and societal background. Ensure policies are inclusive and do not harm any race, culture, or background.
Additionally, due to the differences, be more sensitive and include a strong DEI policy in your company.
3. Choose the best management tool that fits your team.
As an HR professional, you need to find the work tools that best suit your team. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for online work tools has increased in order to stay connected with your team.
Popular management tools include Clickup, Basecamp, Monday.com, Jira from Atlassian, and Notion. All of these project management tools are highly intuitive, packed with useful features, and can increase communication and productivity among teams.
The only challenge is to find the best fit, as companies have their own unique culture and remote work options.
4. Build a positive remote working culture.
Work culture is critical in every company, whether distributed or traditional. Here are some ways to create a harmonious relationship among team members:
- Organize virtual meetups that bring teams together, such as virtual happy hours, team-building activities, or online games.
- Develop a consistent routine for teams that work from their homes, and encourage work-life balance.
- Build a positive remote working culture through recognition and appreciation of the hard work done by remote workers.
- If you have a budget, organize a physical team assembly where everyone can meet each other and bond together in-person.
- Provide team members with the opportunity to develop and grow their skills, even if they are working remotely. Some companies offer a ‘learning budget’ as a perk.
The future of work is remote work
Even after the pandemic, it is likely that remote work is here to stay. Companies may continue to work remotely, and some may transition to remote working due to its many advantages for employees, employers, and the environment.
Although there are still drawbacks to remote working, the rapid advancement of technology will equip us to solve these challenges and make remote work work.