It’s 2020. Remote work and work-from-home are now more common than ever before. Even companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook are looking at adopting remote-first practices in the long run – and for good reason! Its benefits include valuable cost savings, having more flexibility in terms of work hours and office space, and having a larger talent pool. What’s not to love?
It’s not quite that simple though! Most companies don’t realise that managing an office is completely different to managing a remote team, and it’s important to have formal work policies in place just like you would in a traditional work model, especially if you and your employees are working out of the office for the first time.
In this blog, we’ll detail what not to do when transitioning to remote, and share specific guidelines you should implement instead!
We get it – it’s easy to feel left out when everyone’s moving towards remote. And sure, there are some great cost savings to be had from an office downsizing. But what’s really essential for effective remote work, even more so than having the right technologies or software, is a shift in mindset, for yourself,C-suites, managers, and employees.
Companies need to understand that there is a bigger driver than cost savings– you now have access to talent globally and have the opportunity to boost productivity and employee satisfaction. To quote the authors of 'The Happy Runner', “It’s essential to have a ‘why’ that stands up to the worst times, and doesn’t just anticipate the good ones”. In other words, if you (and your employees) truly embrace the remote-first model and understand the real reasons you’re making the transition, you’d be more likely to succeed at making it work. And that goes for most other things in life too!
It might seem a bit obvious for us to say – but no matter whether you’re moving into an office building or trying remote work for the first time, it’s highly unlikely everything is going to be perfect on the first day, or even the first month. New digital collaboration tools take some getting used to (remember these hilarious Zoom fails?), and polishing a new work process comes with time, the keyword being process.
It is helpful to have clear rules and guidelines for remote working in place from the get-go. Your corporate handbook should include a home office policy, clear guidelines on how collaboration tools are to be used, and an outline of your corporate culture. Managers should also make themselves available to answer any questions or coach their teams on best remote work practices. Most importantly, companies should be transparent about the process, and instill a culture where employees can evaluate and provide feedback on what works and what doesn’t.
After all, there are always going to be ways to improve, new tools that get invented. Don’t beat yourself up if everything isn’t perfect from day one.
For those who have not personally worked remotely before, it is easy to assume a company can conduct traditional office work at home. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and if not addressed, can have a negative effect on your entire remote working practice.
For example, remote communication presents challenges that you otherwise wouldn’t face in a traditional office structure. You can hold in-person brainstorms at the drop of a hat, or clarify something you said in a meeting as you walk past your manager in the hallway. The reality is that remote work requires thoughtful solutions in order to make it effective. Make use of the communication tools available (such as Slack, Zoom, Trello) to ensure critical information is shared across teams.
Don’t be that guy (or gal). One of the biggest challenges to working out of the office is mutual trust between team members. It’s okay to have the occasional check in once, maybe twice a day if you’ve got an urgent project,but nothing kills employee satisfaction faster than a pushy manager that needs to know exactly what you’re doing every second of every minute.
Have faith that your team will get the job done. It also helps to take a more asynchronous approach to communication, which essentially means that you don’t expect a reply from your coworkers straight away. This is especially useful if your team is spread across multiple time zones. Plus, it’ll take a lot of stress out of your life too!
This might sound counterproductive (after all, this article is about remote work), but you can’t expect to have your entire workforce work from home all the time. Having a physical presence is essential – whether it be so you can have an official business mailing address, a workspace where employees can get away from a less-than-ideal home environment and get some work done, or simply a place where workers can come to meet their managers and colleagues in person.
That’s where BOOQED comes in. If you need a little flexibility and don’t want to get tied in to a long-term lease, we’ve got your back!
BOOQED works with hundreds of workspaces around Hong Kong (as well as Singapore, Shanghai and Shenzhen) so you can find the perfect workspace solution for you and your team. If you want to find out more about how we can help, simply send us an email or message!