Remote Work Definition
Remote work, also known as working from home or telecommuting, is a style of work arrangement that allows employees to work away from the employers or outside a centralized office location. Any core tasks and responsibilities are accomplished offsite while communication and collaboration with team members and managers are done digitally i.e., through live chat, videoconferencing, email, and phone.
For most professionals, remote work means having to do their assigned jobs within the comforts of home or in a favorite coffee shop; for others, however, it can mean embracing a ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle where work, life, and travel can be done across multiple time zones and locations. The rise of cloud technology, collaborative tools, and cybersecurity solutions makes remote work more efficient, more secure, more productive for distributed teams and virtual employees.
So, what are the keys to a thriving remote workforce?
Flexibility is one of the major benefits of a remote work strategy. And this can only come if there is a solid structure in place – the first key to a thriving remote workforce. Business leaders and managers must therefore establish clear remote-work policies and implement training in advance to make it a success both in paper and in practice.
According to founder of CareerEngage Jayne Mattson, remote employees should be aware and are willing to comply with the standards for the roles and responsibilities they must fulfill. “In a virtual setting, expectations for communication, meetings, deadlines, and reporting must be established – similar to how it’s done on a traditional workplace,” she said.
“This is basic stuff. When are your people expected to ‘get to work’? How will general communication happen? What routines can you either continue, or can you set up?” Mattson further explained. In her book ‘You, You, Me, You: The Art of Talking to People’, she talked about how creating clear-cut routines and sticking to them as much as possible is an integral element of managing a remote workforce.
“Get up at the same time, get ready and dressed as though you’re going to the office. Designate times for breaks, for meals, and absolutely make sure there’s a start time and an end time to your day – delineating ‘off time’ from ‘work time’ is especially important.”
The second key to a thriving remote workforce is ‘remote first’ culture – something that can only be possible if the structured mechanism has already been in place. A ‘remote first’ culture, according to Mathias Mikkelsen, CEO of Memory and found of Timely, means that working from home or telecommuting should be viewed as a natural and normal thing. “It’s not an experiment, it’s not a perk, it’s not an afterthought. It is a fully-formed, legitimate work model; the equal (if not superior) of traditional office models.”
This all boils down to three essential building blocks: 1) transparent synchronous and asynchronous communication to help remote team members feel connected; 2) virtual support network to help enrich relationships and build empathy; 3) inclusivity and trust to ensure that everyone is accountable enough working autonomously but still maintaining work-life balance.
Remote work, for all its advantages especially during the global pandemic and in the face of the new normal, would be nearly impossible without the right digital tools. As the third key for a thriving remote workforce, technology will enable all team members to communicate, collaborate, and innovate from home at their best capacity!
But technology needs go far beyond conventional platforms for email, chat, and videoconferencing, according to Andrew Hewitt, an analyst serving infrastructure and operations professionals at Forrester Research. “There should be ‘systems of work’ technologies in place because it directly influences the level of employee engagement,” Hewitt said.
“Technology should enable – not hinder – progress. It’s not just about how remote workers interact with each other using various digital tools but how well they can use remote access technology to accomplish tasks in a fast, secure, and efficient manner – that can make or break the remote work experience.”
A Thriving, Remote Future
Whether full-time or hybrid, for many organizations remote work is here to stay. And as employees increasingly expect and demand flexibility and remote work options, business leaders and managers will need all the help they can get for managing remote teams in the next normal.
Luckily, with the right structure, culture, and technology solutions, managing a remote workforce can be just as rewarding – and productive – as managing a team in a traditional office setting. For a thriving remote workforce, let ClinkIT Solutions help you lead the way (remotely).