There has been a major increase in the amount of people working remotely in the United States. And remote working is showing no signs of slowing down with many companies offering flexible remote work in 2022. And it’s not surprising why. There are many advantages to remote working (we list some below)! With that being said, it can be difficult to make remote working work for your team if you do not have certain policies in place. In this blog, we list some benefits of remote work and how you can make it work for your team.
Advantages of remote working
1) Remote work increases productivity and job satisfaction
A two year study by Stanford found that working at home increased productivity by 13%. This increase was partially attributed to fewer breaks and sick days, a quieter and more convenient working environment, and the lack of stress of commuting. That same study found that home workers had increased work satisfaction and their attrition rate halved. Another study by Owl Labs in the State of Remote Work 2019 Report confirmed that remote workers are happier; in fact, they are 22% more likely to be happier in their jobs than people who never work remotely. The importance of employee happiness shouldn’t be overlooked. There is scientific evidence that links employee happiness with productivity. Bottom line: happy workers are productive workers.
Remote working might not be the only action that you can implement to increase employee happiness.
2) Remote work attracts talent and retains talent
A key factor when new employees evaluate new career opportunities is the ability for flexible work. 68% of employees claim that flexible work options is one of the “most important factors” considered when they evaluate a job. Moreover, a survey found that 76% of respondents would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. If you have not done so already, it might be time to start reconsidering that 9AM-5PM workday blanket and giving employees more flexibility in their hours and schedule.
“We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they [are] at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.”
— Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of Virgin
3) Remote work reduces costs for business
There are cost-saving benefits both to the employee and to the employer that comes with remote working. For the employee, the cost for transit, food, clothing, and childcare decreases. For the employers, overhead costs such as renting office space, paying for desks, computers, and utilities decreases. In 2018 alone, it is estimated that companies saved almost $5 billion from allowing people to work from home part-time. Seems like a win-win for the employee and the employer, but are there downsides to remote working?
While there are many benefits to remote working, managing your team can be challenging. Below we list 4 important things to help make remote working work for your team.
The ‘How To” of Remote Work
1) Establish a remote work policy
If you want remote working to work for your team, you need to establish a remote working policy. Here are a couple of things to outline in this policy.
Companies need to decide which positions and to what extent (part-time or full-time) employees are eligible to work remotely and clearly state this in their policy. There are some jobs that may not be conducted remotely. Communicate this effectively to your employees.
Availability expectations should be outlined in the policy. Whether it’s a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work requirement or letting employees to set their own schedules, either should be put in a policy to eliminate future frustrations.
Treat remote workers like any other employee in the office. Set expectations and set clear goals. Successful performance management begins with effective goal setting. Check out our article on effective goal setting here for more details.
Set standards and policies for equipment. Will the company supply work equipment (computer, office supplies, software, etc), or will employees be expected to obtain their own equipment? Writing clear policies for equipment will help avoid potential conflicts in the future.
It is important to create clearly defined cybersecurity practices for remote workers. While remote work does create new security risks, with the right policies in place, these risks can be mitigated. Be clear on how and when the public Wi-Fi connection can be used. Establish policies on how remote workers should access and send sensitive documents. Finally, provide employees with a protocol if they believe any information has been compromised.
2) Establish several lines of communication
It’s easy to walk into someone’s office to ask for advice or help in a physical workplace, but remote working can make this complicated. Establishing several lines of communication (such as Skype, Slack, Teams etc) can ensure that you can contact the person during work time. Availability should be clearly outlined in the work policy.
3) Conduct regular meetings and check-ins
We have written on the importance of feedback and this doesn’t change when your employees are working remotely part-time or full-time. Having a performance management system that allows you to document your one-on-one check-ins / communicate feedback on a regular basis is important to clarify goals and expectations. Document these goals so that employer and employee can view it and keep individuals accountable.
4) Host annual meetups/retreats
While meetings and check-ins can be done via video conferencing, if your team is truly remote, hosting annual meeting ups is a good way to build team morale and establish work relationships.
What do you think? How do you make remote working work for your team?
If you want more information, make sure to a download our remote working guidebook.