If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s this: Remote work is here to stay. And not only is it a viable option, but it’s also productive, well-aligned with future goals and critical to remaining agile.
Since 2010, the number of employees working remotely one or more times per week has increased by 400%. Moreover, recent research shows that 74% of professionals and 76% of entrepreneurs believe that remote work will become the standard. Organizations that were hesitant to adopt remote work before COVID, were largely forced en masse to rapidly do so, and “the great experiment” proved to be quite effective across the board.
That's great news for businesses looking to grow while minimizing risk. Because when you come down to it, growing and scaling is essential for your business to thrive, right? To do so effectively means finding the magic intersection between growth, productivity and efficiency.
After all, every dollar you lose with inefficiency or lagging productivity is a dollar that you could be putting toward your business's growth.
One such solution is leveraging the power of remote teams. This allows growth and expansion without increasing real estate costs while simultaneously increasing your agility and ability to pivot quickly in the event of future disruptions. Need some tips to get started?
Evaluate Your Technology
First things first. Let’s make sure we’re running efficiently and with all the tools needed to make this work smoothly. This is a great cost management opportunity too. Take a look at your policies, procedures and the technology you're using. Do you really need 20 Zoom accounts? What practices did you adopt during the pandemic that worked well and can be reworked into a permanent arrangement? For example, with travel restrictions in place, most sales teams were forced to adopt virtual means of connecting with prospects and clients.
Secondly, what cloud-based and online tools are you using? These are key to connecting seamlessly with remote teams and collaborating in real-time as needed. There are plenty of free options out there to get you started, including options like nTask, Monday.com, and Dropbox.
Set Communication as a Top Priority
For remote teams to work effectively and productively, you need top-notch communication. Having fast, secure ways to connect is essential to making sure everything gets accomplished without glitches. Encouraging remote teams to get in touch with questions and issues is equally important. You can’t gather everyone around for a quick in-person huddle or stop by so and so’s desk for a chat, but you make sure that everyone has access to you, other leadership and each other.
Create Clear Expectations and Document All Processes
Part of great communication is making sure everyone’s on the same page. Give them to-do lists, establish timelines and deadlines, and make use of project management tools like Asana or Trello, which help you stay connected and on top of what’s going on. Additionally, stellar communication is having all your processes well documented. Everyone should be clear on what's expected of them and have access to documented processes that they can use as a guide. Additionally, everyone should understand the key performance indicators used to measure performance. This helps enhance communication, reduce stress and boost productivity.
Manage and Motivate
If you’ve never managed remote teams before, you’re going to need to adapt a bit. Don't make the mistake of thinking the lack of face time means you need to micromanage more. Instead, develop trusting relationships with your remote team. Flexibility is an inherent part of the remote work model, and it boosts employee satisfaction. In fact, a recent survey shows that 54% of employees would leave their traditional job in favor of one that provides flexibility within the workday as long as everything gets done on time. Other helpful tips include:
Scheduling check-ins: No matter if you do it by phone, video or email, you should have regular communication to talk about the progress each employee is making on his or her tasks and to go over any issues or roadblocks they're facing
Asking for feedback: Let them know their voices matter. Making sure they have everything they need and feel connected to the larger team will help build a positive remote work culture
Be accessible: Having regular virtual coffee chats or sessions where remote team members can drop in virtually to keep in touch and ask any questions that might arise helps keep everyone feeling more engaged and motivated
Plan annual in-person events: When travel and in-person gatherings make sense again, this can be a great way to allow remote team members to mingle with the rest of the company. It’s particularly effective if you’ve got workers spread out across the country or the world for that matter