Spend some time thinking about the recent meetings you attended and how they went, were they really needed? And most importantly, was it really worth to spend one entire hour when you compare the cost of time with the result of each one of those meetings?
If you are considering to introduce remote working for your employees there are a few things you should care about. If you are starting to work remotely you should check the same things and try to understand whether the company you are starting to work for is implementing them or not as they will geatly impact on your work and, for this reason, on your life consequently.
First thing first: don’t think that managing employees who do not work from the same physical workplace is the same thing as the old onsite job concept. Working remotely requires some more attentions that must be given to how you organize work. Not only: you should encourage connections and give some more availability and flexibility to talk and to be reachable.
As I was mentioning before, clarity plays a key factor role when organizing work. Information availability, clear goals for each project, well established procedures and crystal clear accountability of tasks and roles help giving an idea of the context in which a remote employee has work.
As always, exceptions are here to remind us that we are not in control of 100% scenarios. There are some specific job positions that generally do not fit very well for remote. Nonetheless, you should start from the assumption that every job can be executed remotely. It is not that much infrequent to see even secretaries working remotely, taking care of almost everything from the other side of the city. There are companies completely specified in Virtual Assistence and that provide VAs to super busy executives.3
Remote employees should be encouraged to take action and to collaborate with their remote colleagues. First of all it creates a binding and it diffuse the company culture among the workforce. It also makes you feel like you are playing as a team and that your effort are reflected in the bigger picture of the final products that carry yours and your colleagues’ work. A virtual coffee machine room is often the right place where to break the ice and start to build some off work relationships.
Knowing that every employee has a different character and working style also affects the result of the whole team. Identifying whether a specific remote employee has a sociable, introverse, workaholic or leading attitude usually helps to assign tasks and set priorities.
Especially at the beginning, some workers might end up working too much. Different factors can impact on this situation but the main reason why this effect happens is because remote workers don’t have time limits. They are not bound to office hours, they can be tempted to do that lil extra work everyday. Managers should realize this and act consequently by reducing the work load or giving extra day off. Eventually, employees’ happiness is crucial for not only productivity but also and especially for quality.
Another thing you should really care about is to always ask for remote worker’s needs. In fact, because remote employees do not live the office dynamics, they can start feeling like part of an inferior class of employees. This can lead to productivity issues and workers burnouts.
Once again, if you are new to remote working and willing to start, to have to keep in mind that managing remote workers is different from the classic office way of organizing work and managing time. Your processes and procedures must be adapted for remote work and managers must be really competent on this topic in order to get the maximum results from this new way of working. Prefer managers with remote work experience as they already have an idea of how it can work and what the main problems might be.
Nowadays technology offers an incredible opportunity to everyone of us. We can benefit from remote work in a sustainable way, helping first of all ourselves and our happiness, then our company and eventually the entire society4. However, working remotely creates dynamics that can be very different from office work. This difference forces us to rethink the way we manage work in order to adapt the current workflow to get happier and more productive and happier workers.
1 As long as they will have a reliable Internet connection 😆
2 If they have one 😆
3 See leverage.com (I suggest to read the story of how Ari Meisel and Nick Sonnenberg founded “Less Doing” in “Idea to Execution”)
4 Think about all the fuel and emission you save by not having to physically move from your place to the office, scale it big and get the result of how good it would be for the planet.