5 Tips to Achieve Sustainable Remote Work
Remote work was once a temporary solution to prevent the spread of the pandemic in offices. Such a model also gives employees the freedom to allocate their time as they wish, provided they perform their duties.
What are we seeing today? Teleworking, or at least a hybrid model, has reserved its place in various fields, especially in IT. Distributed teams work from any part of the world on the projects, such as Magento store development, game design, etc.
Workers prefer to stay at home due to the time and money they can save. They don’t have to commute or get distracted by chatting with colleagues or unnecessary meetings. But is remote working so flawless? Unfortunately, it’s not.
Not everyone has a separate room or equipment for the office. Spending more time with the family may lead to a lack of focus, causing more interruptions in work. The lines between personal and professional lives fade away. Employees end up working from the moment of waking up to falling asleep with the gadgets always by their side.
How can we guarantee that we’ll remain productive while working from home and won’t burn out in the long run? This post contains five tips to achieve sustainable remote work.
5 Practical Tips to Make Remote Work More Effective
1. Invest in Good Software
Provide everyone with the right tools like timesheet app to perform at their best.. While you certainly have project management apps, make sure they are suitable for sustainable remote work. Below is the illustration from the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Report for 2021. It proves that implementing a digital collaboration platform is the top factor in making remote working sustainable.
How can you start with improving your toolkit? Choose software that everyone in your team is familiar with and allows for sharing resources, providing comments, and collaborating. Consider such popular solutions as Google Drive, Airtable, and Trello.
If you bought resources spontaneously, you’d need to re-evaluate and ditch some of them to boost remote collaboration. Moving to more advanced instruments will save you time and money in the long term. They will contribute to productivity, employee engagement, and efficiency. Digital infrastructure should contain the tools with the required features and be user-friendly.
Double-check the security of the chosen software. Failures in encryption and data breaches can lead to reputational damage, diverting your employees and customers from choosing your company. Evaluate the service peculiarities to meet the privacy requirements. Security best practices involve:
- password-protecting virtual conference rooms;
- preserving meetings from unauthorized phone calls or emails;
- granting permission who can talk and when in meetings.
2. Dedicate Time to Team Policies and Procedures
Many organizations postpone their policies and procedures due to various disruptions. But it’s essential to reassess team policies and procedures for your employees to follow the rules and regulations. For example, you may grant more flexibility to your subordinates with children being out of school. The remote work policy should cover:
- whether the working hours are flexible or it’s a traditional 9-to-5 schedule to comply with;
- what departments should comply with the scheduling model;
- whether you offer a hybrid option and the terms when employees should be present at the office;
- how often you expect to hold meetings;
- what tools workers should install;
A remote work policy is a legal way to outline work practices. Distributed teams can work in a structured environment which ensures they are on the safe side. A robust approach will result in more productive employees without the risk of facing costly legal and compliance concerns.
Be reasonable with your expectations and include caveats for exceptional circumstances. Determine what you will compensate if something unexpected occurs, such as a power outage. Some employees may be unable to sustain the same level of engagement and effectiveness as they used to have.
3. Continue to Promote Training
Employee training is an integral part of sustainable success. Remote workers don’t differ from their in-office counterparts in the need to hone their skills constantly. So you shouldn’t stop encouraging them to learn.
Thanks to numerous online education solutions, the transition to remote training happens without a hitch. Utilize digital libraries, online learning platforms, webinars, and other events to educate employees and focus on developing self-management skills. Consult the workers on time management to navigate this routine. The best practices for training remote teams are as follows:
- delivering engaging content via centralized platforms. People shouldn’t lose motivation due to the frictions while accessing the platform;
- adding a human touch to the courses. Encourage employees to exchange their knowledge and achievements with their colleagues. It's a potent way of making subordinates feel psychologically safe and reminding them that they aren’t isolated from the company;
- using videos to keep the attention and illustrate the content. Videos let people put less effort into content consumption. As a result, you can deliver more information when learners can’t focus on reading texts;
- gamification of the learning process to make it more intriguing, spur healthy competition, and motivate learners with awards.
4. Assist Team Leaders in Coping with Remote Management
Team leaders may want to change their principles of managing remote subordinates compared to an on-site team. Organizational and interpersonal skills come in handy in both cases. However, a successful transition towards virtual management requires additional assistance from your side.
As I’ve mentioned, provide technical support and educate teams on using the collaborative and communication tools. Fill in the gaps of what employees may miss outside the office. For example, teleworking may quickly end up in a person’s mental health deterioration and the feeling of isolation.
Host one-on-one and team meetings to replace face-to-face discussions. Being out of sight may reduce the attention to remote employees. So you should encourage managers to communicate with their employees as much as with the in-office ones or even more.
Empower your employees to hold virtual social events, inspire them to get outside, or offer paid days to volunteer. Organize mental health days, team yoga, or mindfulness breaks to promote self-care and well-being.
5. Create Metrics and Recognize Success
Measuring the in-office productivity may be more accessible due to transparency. When those workers switch to teleworking, measuring their effectiveness becomes a heavy burden for team leaders. What should they consider a satisfactory job performance and how to track it? That’s where you need to leverage time tracking tools and create metrics, such as:
- time spent on work by utilizing tools like Zoomshift, Time Doctor, and Workpuls. If someone’s spending more time on work than needed, it may be a prerequisite to burnout which you should prevent;
- desktop performance, whether the device works fast enough and files open swiftly;
- employee satisfaction by conducting employee surveys and asking workers to share their thoughts.
Remember to reward colleagues for excellent KPIs to feel appreciated and create a positive workplace culture. Recognition programs let you retain talents and avoid the costs of finding new specialists. It may involve monetary compensations, public acknowledgement, promotion opportunities, or low-cost perks.
With all its pros and cons, telework will stay with us as one of the working patterns. Some people prefer independence and perform better at home. Others draw inspiration from face-to-face communication and scenery change from time to time.
That’s why business owners should enable their employees to choose the preferred way of working. In any case, does it matter where the employees are if it yields better results? However, remote work complicates maintaining corporate culture and may lead to burnout and isolation, thus affecting performance.
How can you ensure remote employees stay productive in the long term?
- Revise your policies and procedures.
- Provide workers with the right tools.
- Track their effectiveness.
- Connect with people.
- Train them with the needed skills to achieve sustainable remote work.
How can you unite remote employees? Be adaptable to the changing needs and plan to avoid disruptions in your team, enterprise, or community.
Kate Parish, chief marketing officer at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Digital Marketing and website promotion. Kate always strives to stay in pace with the ever-advancing online world, and the sphere of Magento PWA development. Her expertise includes in-depth knowledge of SEO, branding, PPC, SMM, and the field of online sales in general.
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