Remote working has become an integral part of business operations. In fact, 16% of employees reported solely working from home between September 2020 and January 2023.
However, employers are presented with numerous challenges while working remotely, including connecting with employees and boosting workplace morale.
Here, employee engagement experts Weekly10 answer five commonly asked questions about remote working and how employers can address them effectively.
1. How can employers address the challenges of remote working?
To navigate the lack of face-to-face interaction while working remotely, managers can implement a number of strategies. Here are four ways to maintain team cohesion and collaboration:
a. The first strategy is setting up effective communication channels. All businesses should use instant messaging platforms and project management tools, such as Slack and Microsoft CRM. These can then schedule regular team meetings, video conferences and 1-2-1 catch-ups.
b. Remote employers and employees must embrace asynchronous communications, which are conversations that may happen throughout the day and are not instantaneous. It may take more time to respond on Slack, for example, compared to being in an office environment.
c. Clear expectations must be set by employers. By clearly defining goals and deliverables during regular check-ins, employees will be aware of timelines and deadlines, keeping projects on track while working remotely.
d. Employers should provide employees with the necessary tools and resources to succeed, such as a laptop, access to the essential software and office necessities to work comfortably, such as an ergonomic chair to prevent musculoskeletal complications.
e. Employers should promote a healthy work-life balance. To establish boundaries between work and personal life and prevent the likelihood of burnout for remote workers, managers can encourage the use of regular breaks.
2. How can employers foster connection in remote work settings?
Remote employees should always feel part of an interconnected team despite working from home. Here are some fun ways to enhance team bonding from a distance:
a. Employers can organise remote team-building activities. Trivia games, online escape rooms and virtual team challenges help to foster collaboration, friendly competition and strengthen relationships within remote teams.
b. Take advantage of small, informal team meetings. When scheduled on a weekly basis, these virtual get-togethers allow employers and employees to gradually build strong, long-lasting relationships over time. It may also encourage people to start their own group chats for informal discussions, which may greatly benefit workplace culture for remote workers.
c. Remember to recognise success and celebrate employees. Employers can do this in a weekly or monthly event to share recently completed projects. By implementing a virtual recognition program, employers can foster intrinsic motivation and promote a positive culture.
3. What are the keys to success while working remotely with clients?
Successful client relationships are paramount to business operations. Here are three strategies to support this while working remotely:
a. Firstly, establish clear communication channels with clients. Remote working does not necessarily impair progress; regular check-ins, performance reviews and milestone celebrations will ensure clients are informed and happy.
b. To replace paper documents, businesses should make use of collaboration tools. Microsoft Teams, for example, supplies seamless file sharing and real-time editing, giving clients visibility throughout the project lifecycle.
c. Remember to turn on the camera while presenting to clients. In a work-from-home environment, staying hidden behind the screen while participating in video conferences is tempting. However, by turning on the camera, clients are better able to interact and participate.
4. What is the value of working remotely from home?
Remote working offers multiple benefits. Here are three advantages for both employers and employees:
a. Due to reduced distractions and more focused work environments, remote work can boost productivity by 51%. In turn, more work is being produced to a better standard, helping individuals and the company.
b. Not only can remote working help businesses save money on office space and utilities, but it can also allow employees to reduce spending on travel and lunches.
c. Remote working allows employers to access a broader talent pool. More often than not, roles once confined to geographical spaces can be opened to applicants nationwide and worldwide. This helps businesses find the best person for the job while allowing employees to collaborate with a broader selection of co-workers.
5. How can managers help employees successfully work remotely?
Remote working requires discipline and proactive approaches. Just like being in the office, managers can help employees achieve success while working from home:
a. Employees should be encouraged to create a dedicated workspace. A home office, for example, can help separate the personal and professional. This way, they are less likely to spend time scrolling through their phone or being distracted by their environment.
b. Structure is the key to success. Remote working dramatically benefits from a consistent routine, such as taking regular breaks at appropriate times. This will help create an efficient working environment while at home.
c. Remember to encourage time management. By setting goals and prioritising tasks, managers can help remote workers motivate themselves while they work remotely.
Andy Roberts, CEO and Founder of Weekly10 commented: “Remote working is here to stay. This arrangement offers employees unparalleled flexibility, whether they can work from home permanently or on a hybrid basis, while enabling businesses to attract and train talented workers from across the globe.
“However, remote working can present many challenges to business owners, including communication breakdown and possible isolation among employees.
“Therefore, employers should understand the strategies that address and prevent these issues, including creating clear communication channels and encouraging social activities. Then, both employers and employees can thrive in a remote working environment.”