Never underestimate the power of soft skills to advance your leadership influence — and earn you strange local cakes.
Remote working is a trend that was already growing fast before the COVID-19 pandemic came into the picture. And now, with the pandemic shaking the world with all its might, rest assured that remote working is very much here to stay. So, if you’re a forward-thinking company that’s already embraced remote working — Hi5 to you!
If not, well, now it’s inevitable for you to finally ride the remote working wave. The days when teams worked out of cubicles in a rather rigid 9–5 work environment are gone.
Now, if your company had little-to-no remote working experience before, this abrupt and unexpected transition to remote may be a bit troublesome for you and your teams. While it may take some time for everyone to adapt to the new way of working, the good news is that there are some hugely successful companies (such as Automattic and Buffer) that have no physical headquarters at all, with their entire workforce being fully distributed.
The days when teams worked out of cubicles in a rather rigid 9–5 work environment are gone.
Furthermore, when you take into account the following proven perks of working remotely, there’s no doubt that it is the way forward for your company:
💸 Major cost savings on office real estate, fuel, and other overheads
🧑🎓 Access to a global pool of top talent
🎉 Better productivity and job satisfaction
❤️ Lower employee absenteeism and turnover
That being said, there’s more to a thriving remote company than work — the working experience and culture are equally crucial. A company’s working culture is critical not just for day-to-day operations, but it also plays a key role in the overall long-term growth of the company.
There’s more to a thriving remote company than work.
Thus, now that you’re transitioning to a fully remote company (at least for the foreseeable future), it is vital to foster a positive remote culture and an experience that ensures employees stay happy with you — which also translates into better productivity and output. Here are the three pillars to cultivate a positive remote working experience for your teams:
First and foremost, your company’s remote success hinges largely on your ability to facilitate open communication among your teams. Open communication and quick collaboration are pivotal to ensuring your teams always stay on the same page and on the right track.
As the leader, present all the necessary guidelines and tools needed for this internal communications shift from offline to entirely online. Understand that when your teams are collaborating using an app rather than physically inside an office, it’s essential that the tool being used fits the experience you’re striving to cultivate.
Yes, you can always use the good old email, but you’ll likely agree that email isn’t the best for quick two-way communication and quite dull. Instead, why not opt for a fun, somewhat informal remote working experience where your teams can openly communicate and share feedback without hesitation.
Consider using quick and casual communication and collaboration tools like Slack and Asana that have a fun vibe, while being feature-rich and affordable. Allowing a more casual approach to internal communication, with the usage of memes and GIFs, will lead to more transparency and better team unity.
In addition, you can enforce a short (say, 20-minute) video huddle meeting every morning so everyone knows what their colleagues are going to be working on and their schedule. Doing so helps keep everyone in one accord.
Also, promote knowledge-sharing and water-cooler conversations amongst your teams. For instance, you can make Slack channels (like #pets or #food) or group chats for discussing non-work-related stuff, like Netflix or dinner recommendations. Again, this helps create a casual yet productive remote working experience through fostering unity and mental wellness in the distributed company.
Routinely checking in on your employees is fine, but every individual has their own way to handle their workload. At the end of the day, what should matter is their output, not the exact number of hours they put in to complete their work.
Showing confidence in your teams and their ability to hit deadlines means enabling them to work on their own pace without micro-managing them. Understand that many of your employees may be working with loud children jumping around the house and other distractions or important household chores that demand their attention.
Make it clear that you trust their work ethic and ultimately, you value the team’s output instead of fixating on the daily working hours.
If a team member is not outputting the work they’re expected to, warmly ask them if there’s anything you can do to help.
As a matter of fact, it’s an amazing idea to encourage healthy activities, such as taking regular breaks away from the workstation, working out, and getting enough rest.
It proves that you care about your staff, not just the profits that they bring in.
The takeaway here is to cultivate a remote environment that’s based on trust while favoring flexible working hours with more work-life balance.
Last but not least, in a remote setting, developing a sense of team spirit and camaraderie can be really challenging. And for establishing a strong remote working experience, these aspects cannot be disregarded.
A great way to strengthen the sense of solidarity and togetherness in your teams is to frequently host fun team-building activities. Anything from virtual happy hours and competitive online gaming (such as a racing game that everyone can enjoy) to charades and hilarious quizzes.
Coming together regularly (say, every Friday evening) for such simple yet fun bonding activities is almost a surefire way to build a positive remote working experience for your teams.
Whether you love it or hate it, it seems the COVID-19 crisis is going to stay with us for a while, and with it, the booming trend of working remotely.
Even when the pandemic does go away for good, remote working would continue to be desirable and even non-negotiable for many employees. In fact, recent statistics show that the amount of people who work remotely at least once per week has grown by 400% since 2010.
If they could, 99% of people would choose to work remotely, at least part-time, for the rest of their careers.
In other words, if you wish to continue growing your company and bring in more business, you simply have to adapt to the new normal and focus on building a robust remote working experience.
Apply the three best practices discussed above for creating positive remote working experience and you’re bound to have a happier, more productive workforce that actually wants to work as a unit for the company’s success.
Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and works with PRmention. She has 6+ years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing and all things SaaS. Hazel loves to split her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.