What started as an alternative way to work for some has become a way of life for millions. Remote work is growing; more people are working remotely for part of their week, and even more, are working remotely for companies full time. Given today’s technologies, remote work has become possible for professionals in many functions, across many industries. These arrangements offer flexibility for individual workers, and companies can benefit by saving on office space. Additionally, remote working arrangements allow companies to tap a much larger geographic area in their search for top talent.
However, it’s important to note that remote working has its downsides. Communication issues and the lack of in-person interactions that tend to foster idea exchange can have adverse effects on a remote workforce. Below, we outline seven principles to help companies handle the challenges of remote team members and put their companies in a position to thrive.
There’s a common misconception that programmers prefer to work alone. In reality, software developers tend to benefit from team-based collaboration and with the right tools, can thrive within a remote work environment.
Unfortunately, companies often forget about policies and guidelines for their remote workers. To make remote workers feel as though they’re part of the company, fair and transparent policies need to be defined. Don’t overlook policies that encourage workers to take part in team-building events and social gatherings.
One perk of an onsite office is IT support, which is often overlooked for remote employees. Tech support needs to be available for remote employees, ensuring that they are taken care of if they run into any issues.
Transitioning to a remote workforce is an investment. It often takes time to see the results and savings, which means it’s not a good time to cut costs. Employees will thrive in a remote work environment when they have the flexibility and resources to succeed.
Any change in organizational structure will have an impact on employees. Managers must prepare to deal with change and support their remote employees. Planning, scheduling, and communicating need to be top priorities to help everyone through the transition. Trusting your remote workers and communicating with them will ensure productivity stays on track.
Employees need a workplace where they feel they are supported and are participating in the company culture. However, it can be difficult to effectively include remote workers within the structure and culture of the organization. Companies should stress the importance of remote work and find ways to encourage the support of the entire organization.
The Bottom Line
Companies that focus on their employees’ health and happiness will thrive regardless of where the employee is physically based. Remote workers can thrive in a well-supported company, help to lower costs, and support company growth.
The need for remote team members will only grow in importance. While companies do have the opportunity to save money on office space and other expenses, more importantly, companies cannot limit themselves. The competition for top technical talent is so intense that organizations must be able to recruit and retain this talent regardless of where the individuals are located. Effective management of a remote workforce does require adjustment in approach to succeed. However, the needed technology tools are available. All that remains are the behavioral and managerial adjustments required of corporate leadership.