While people have been telecommuting for years, we’ve reached a unique crossroads in the world of remote work. Due to COVID-19, those who have spent most of their careers in an office setting are experiencing what’s it’s like to have a fully remote job. In turn, companies are learning how to manage remote teams, some for the very first time. It’s a learning experience for all, and it’s prompting companies to ask some important questions: What will the future of work look like? Can our business and employees thrive in a remote work setting? What would it look like to offer an alternative work environment for our employees?
Some form of the aforementioned questions has probably passed through your mind at some point as you gear up for an economic reopening. Social distancing won’t go away overnight, so if you’re considering alternative work solutions for your team, here are three things to keep in mind: communication, collaboration, and culture.
Digital platforms have significantly impacted workplace productivity and employee interactions, making communication instant, easy, and personalized. We have an arsenal of workplace communication tools at our disposal, and it’s important to utilize the right ones. The right technology can allow remote workers to communicate face-to-face in an otherwise solitary environment. They can converse in real-time instead of through email chains and get help from team members right away.
Your existing tools should improve the employee experience and help fulfill your company’s mission. If they don’t, it might be time to consider alternative solutions.
If you might be managing remote and on-site employees in the future, it’s time to plan. How will you handle project management? How will you engage your remote and in-office teams so remote employees don’t fall to the wayside? And what about support? How will you ensure employees can connect to the right person when they have questions or need help? How you plan now will affect your team in the long-run.
Managing remote teams is often more complicated than managing teams in person. Remote workers lack daily, face-to-face interaction and the ability to stop by a coworker’s desk to ask a question or collaborate. On the other hand, shared workplaces inherently foster a sense of collaboration. It’s easy to feel connected working in the same physical location, but remote employees may feel isolated or out of the loop.
Companies should establish processes for projects that require collaboration between remote and on-site employees. Leadership should set the precedent and encourage employees to keep each another updated, have regular check-ins, and make sure everyone stays on the same page. Cohesion is key. A great first step for leadership is to gather feedback from remote employees. Questions like, “How has the remote work experience been for you?” and “What can we do to help you feel more connected?” can get the conversation going.
Set the tone at the top. Strong, effective communication and collaboration hinges on the example set by leadership. Maybe you employ a fully remote team, or maybe your team is split between home and the office. In either case, it’s crucial to foster a culture of engagement and connection so employees aren’t left behind. Make sure all employees have access to the right tools and proper support from colleagues and mentors. Teams tend thrive in environments where innovation and ideas are encouraged, management is approachable, and they are empowered to perform at their job and grow in their career.
It’s challenging to establish a culture virtually, but’s it’s possible. In fact, you’re probably already doing it via Zoom meetings and virtual happy hours amid the coronavirus quarantine. Management consulting firm Trenegy Incorporated has a great article on company culture that we recommend. Check it out here.
A Tool to Get You Started: EVAN360
As you gear up for an economic reopening, EVAN360 is here to help. EVAN360 is a tool designed to provide employees with instant, personalized support when they need it most. Whether you’re re-training existing employees or onboarding new ones, they will have questions. EVAN360 is an easy, affordable way to ensure employee questions are answered quickly and correctly by a fellow team member who has the expertise to help.
EVAN360 provides instant communication, encourages internal collaboration, and helps create a culture of engagement for remote and in-office employees alike—both in the short-term and the long-term.
If you’d like to learn more about EVAN360 or chat about how your unique organization can prepare for an economic reopening, email us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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