Tips from Your Corporate Training Company
Setting Up Teams for Remote Work Success
Offering a remote work environment essentially means people don’t have to commute into an office and work to achieve their organizational goals from a designated desk or space in that office.
Instead, it means trusting employees to design their workdays as they choose and work towards surpassing organizational goals from wherever they physically want to be.
Remote work in today’s workplace environment continues to gain popularity. In some organizations, remote work is the only option while in others, employees can choose to work from home during days of the week as they like.
The thought process is hard for some to swallow with skeptics arguing some of the following1:
- “If people work at home, how can one tell how well they are doing or whether they are working at all?” “Work at home would cut off employees from needed contacts with their co-workers and others.” “Working at home will simply prove impractical: too many distractions and the lack of a quiet place in which to work.”
However, on the flip side, arguments for remote work access include2:
- Management experts agree that the best way to measure workers’ performance is based on their results, or “output,” rather than their “input,” or the hours they spend in an office space. Working at home is not an all-or-nothing proposition—hybrid models are successfully allowing people to work remotely some days, and in the office with their peers’ other days. And communication is largely done remotely anyway—over phone, email, IM, web conferencing, video conferencing, and the like. The opposite is actually true—offices are the source of many more distractions than remote workspaces. That’s why 93% of surveyed workers choose to leave the office to get meaningful work done.
Regardless of what the opposition says, the truth is that remote working isn’t going away any time soon.
A 2000 U.S. Census analysis reported:
- Between 2000 and 2010, people who worked at least one day at home per week increased by over 4 million—35%. The population of occasional remote workers went from 9.2 million to 13.4 million during this decade.
- Between 1980 and 2000, employees grew to become the majority of remote workers (over self-employed workers). In 1980, 39.4% of remote workers were private company employees (not self-employed). By 2010, they grew to over 59%.
So, while this is clearly the work style of the future what continues to feed this shift from clocking in right at nine and heading home at five for five days of the week, week in and week out?
With increasing emphasis on the importance of a work-life balance, employers find themselves needing to adapt to this call for change. Allowing employees to work from home puts the onus of delivering results in their hands and gives them the flexibility on how to ensure this. That flexibility provides them with the ability to decide how to best balance their personal life with their professional one.
The Millennial worker is looking for different values from their job and place of employment. One of these is the ability to work from home. 85 percent of millennials want to work remotely full-time. Millennials are simply happier working at home, a coffee shop, co-workspace, library, or anywhere else not cube shaped.3 This is mainly due to their culture being centered around the idea of feeling connected but maintaining their independence. In order to recruit and maintain this cohort, remote work is no longer a choice for many organizations, but a must is they want to succeed.
As technology continues to evolve so will the ability for employees to effectively work remotely. If you think about it, there really is no need for an employee to be in the office to do certain job roles when they can connect via camera, email, chat or phone anytime that they need to. Now more than ever, having the ability to remain connected on mobile devices means employees truly can be remote any time and anywhere.
What are the benefits that an organization can expect when it comes to providing remote working options to their employees?
One of the biggest plus points to a remote workforce is the cost savings. Think about the spend that needs to go in to a large office space, office furniture, food and drinks if the office provides those to employees and more. Flexjobs reported that employers can save $22,000 per remote worker per year, even if their entire team is not remote. Having a remote workforce reduces or eliminates the need for these leaving more for the bottom line.
While there are two sides to the coin on this one, State and Work Productivity Report revealed 65% of full-time employees believe that working remotely would increase productivity - and their bosses agree. Two-thirds of managers who were surveyed reported an increase in overall productivity from their remote employees.
Employees that are given the autonomy and flexibility to do their jobs remotely are more productive in that they put the effort in not necessarily the hours, to get the job done. While this could mean putting in the same hours as a co-worker in the office, it could also mean evenings, weekends or early mornings based on the individual’s personal decisions.
It’s a simple equation. A happy employee equals an engaged resource and lower turnover. One of the best ways to help achieve higher engagement is with remote work. In a survey by TINYpulse, remote employees reported that they were happier than non-remote employees and felt more valued within their role. Giving employees the ability to feel that they are part of something and more importantly that the organization trusts them to effectively contribute to the bigger picture is big.
In order to successfully continue to compete for the best talent available and more importantly, to keep that talent within the organization, leaders need to begin to really understand what remote work is and how to effectively manage employees that are not in the office regularly. Leadership development training can achieve this and ensuring consistent training for management can help to alleviate fears of losing control or productivity of team members.
In addition, organizations need to invest the budget for employee training and development centred around effectively working from home. This can include tips on how to stay on task, how to stay motivated, how to ensure they are complying when working offsite, and more. Helping them to clearly understand what is expected and how to meet these expectations will create a more successful remote working program for the company overall.
Another key area to consider is the recruitment and hiring process. Clearly outlining the culture of the organization, the job role and the attributes that the new hire must have are all important factors to setting up remote workers for success. If you don’t hire the right person to fit these requirements, then chances are you’re not going to get the most out of them when they are remote. If you find the right person however, then seeing the results and value that they bring to the table won’t change based solely on where they choose to do their job.
At the end of the day, the organization must decide what works best. Some roles simply don’t lend themselves to remote work however, for a large majority of organizations that can provide the option for remote work, it may be time to consider restructuring, re-training, and planning for a future of employees that are simply not going to clock in at the same time and the same place each morning.
Get started with the right employee and leadership training to help support your remote work strategy with the corporate training experts at TrainingFolks today.