Today’s topic: keeping your team engaged and productive even when you’re working remotely. For a lot of businesses recent restrictions stemming from COVID-19 have been a massive shift in circumstance. Having to adapt quickly so that businesses can continue to operate under these new and remote circumstances is the name of the game.
Interestingly, before this crisis took place, studies repeatedly showed that 80% of employees wanted to work from home, at least some of the time. In fact, studies from before the virus created a bit of a stir around the globe. They showed that over a third of employees said they would take a pay cut in exchange for the option to work from home, all of the time, or even some of the time.
“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.” Angela Ahrendts (Senior Vice President, Apple)
We have been all adjusting to the requirements of working from home. 88% of organizations have gone right ahead and encouraged or required their employees to work from home. This is obviously quite a massive shift, but also ironic, given that that’s what employees have been wanting for a long time now. In our local Asia Pacific region, we have gone even further, with 91% of teams implementing work from home arrangements since the outbreak began.
As a business owner, it’s likely you’re wanting to figure out how you can make these new arrangements work smoothly and efficiently. Luckily, I’ve got some tips here that are really going to help make a difference!
Lead from the front
Firstly, lead from the front. As the business leader, it is your responsibility to set the pace and to set the tone. To create an environment where your remote employees can thrive. 71% of executives are worried about the continuity and productivity of their teams through the pandemic. This is completely understandable! It’s normal to be thinking “out of sight, out of mind”. It’s easy to think that people won’t be doing the work if not prodded or supervised to do so. The reality is, if you’re leading from the front, and creating a space in which to thrive, this will not be the case. You set the example and others will follow.
Trust them to work
Secondly, you need to let go and trust your team members to work, even when you’re not seeing them. Previous studies are your friend here. They have stated that remote workers are around 35% to 40% more productive than people who work in corporate offices. You see, the concept that assumes productivity only comes when it can be directly observed is not necessarily the case. People are working from home and enjoying the rewards of doing so. This is being reflected in their productivity at work.
Give them what they need
The third thing you need to do is make sure your remote team has the support they need. 54% of HR leaders have indicated that poor technology and infrastructure is the biggest barrier to productivity. For example, if you’re bringing software on as a service, then you need to make sure it’s functioning well, and that your team knows how to use it. Make sure resources are organised and very easily accessible, and make sure that when your staff is doing a great job, that they’re getting rewarded for it as well.
Embrace the new normal
The next thing you can do to enhance your remote workplace environment is learning to embrace the new normal. This is when we accept that this is how things are going to be now. 74% of companies plan to permanently shift to move to more remote work even once the COVID-19 pandemic has settled down. The situation is here to stay. So, embrace it. Really throw yourself into developing the resources and the culture that you need in your business to really thrive. Understanding and adapting to these circumstances will do wonders for your business growth.
Enjoy the benefits
Finally, the last point of thriving in a remote work environment is to enjoy the benefits. 77% of business leaders are saying employees working remotely will lead to lower operating costs. I’ve been enjoying this for a long time, as I have been working remotely for years now. It’s great having fewer costs in terms of overheads and maintenance. It’s fabulous giving your employees a little work-from-home bonus. Business has always been about reducing expenses and increasing profits. The work from home situation really does lend itself to doing exactly that for your business.
The remote situation is often less expensive than sustaining the standard business environment. Saving that money is going to be essential; not only to surviving the recovery period post-pandemic. Mastering the art of remote work is exactly what you need to thrive and come out on the other side of this season fighting fit. Just remember, in remote work environments your staff still need support, they still need instruction, and they still need connection. In the end, the rewards for everyone will be worth it.