Remote work offers many benefits for both employees and employers. When workers are given flexibility, autonomy, and the ability to take charge of their work-life balance, they tend to be more motivated to give their all in exchange for these advantages. Additionally, employers can expect significant reductions in operational costs and new avenues for expansion via their online presence. So, how do you make the shift to a remote-working business model? Read on for some valuable tips.
1. Don’t ditch the office altogether
Though you may be moving away from the traditional office environment, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all its advantages. For the best of both worlds, consider making the switch to a virtual office.
You’ll get an address in a prime location, reception and mail services, and other optional extras, depending on the company and selected package. Remote work is likely to continue in the post-COVID-19 world, so maintaining good communication will be more important than ever.
2. Plan, test, adapt
The challenges of a remote-working model are different from those you face in a traditional office environment. Consequently, you’ll need to do a lot of forward-thinking in order to develop contingency plans for any dramas that may arise.
Include staff members in at least some of your planning sessions as they will have a unique insight into the problems they’re likely to face in performing their duties from home. Brainstorm, test theories, adapt where necessary, and develop a set of guidelines, procedures, and backup plans for your evolving business.
3. Communication and company culture when remote-working
Your communication systems will, of course, need to be updated as these are central to the operation of your business. However, it’s important to focus on the more subtle changes that will occur in terms of the way your staff connects with you and each other and the way the culture changes as a result of this.
You don’t want to end up in a situation where your employees feel that they can never get a hold of you, or that the vibrant, social work environment they used to enjoy has been lost forever. Each workplace will be different, so you need to assess how things were before the change, and how you can maintain (or improve upon) the level of connection you all enjoyed.
4. Run orientation and training sessions
The shift to remote working will mean a new suite of hardware and software for your staff to get used to. They’ll also be acclimatizing to the changes in their home environment, so to help them with this transition, it’s essential that you offer training and support.
Depending on the size and nature of your business, you may wish to handle this yourself or outsource to a consultant. Either way, you need to walk your employees through:
- Any new tech and programs they need to use
- Ergonomic workspace set-up
- Your new communication tools and rules
- New schedules and procedures
- Boundary-setting while working from home
- Targets and performance expectations
- How to get help when they need it
5. Be supportive through the remote-working adjustment phase
No matter how well you plan, there will always be an adjustment period when making such a revolutionary shift. If you get hounded with calls for help in the first few weeks, you need to be patient (even if the questions seem silly). If you want your employees to support you through this change, then you need to lead by example and be supportive of them.
Though your shift to a remote-working model won’t be easy, the rewards for you and your employees will make it a worthwhile investment in the future prosperity of your company.