Is Your Company a Good Fit for Remote Working?
The work is suitable.
Some jobs and industries simply don’t lend themselves to remote work. If you run a restaurant, you can’t have your waitstaff telecommute. But if your team’s performance is not hindered by location, you are probably a good candidate to work remotely. Here is a test: could you (or did you) do your job from home during snow days this winter?
Your leaders are on board.
If leadership is not willing to support remote working, success is nearly impossible. Leaders have to be ready to spend the money on software that is needed to communicate and collaborate. Managers need to be able to adjust their styles to respond to the unique needs of remote employees. They also need to anticipate the inevitable benefits and challenges that come with managing a distributed team. Without supportive leadership, remote workers will probably be managed poorly, overlooked, and isolated.
The technology is in place.
No matter your industry, certain software is necessary to any remote or hybrid workplace. Chat software, video conferencing, screen-sharing abilities, and conference calling are must-haves for remote working. Each employee will need a reliable internet connection, of course, and they may need to be set up on a secure VPN. Remember, as great as technology is, it isn’t perfect. Always be prepared with a plan B when communicating with remote workers.
You establish clear communication processes.
In a new remote working environment, your team needs to know how to communicate with leaders and one another. Should they IM or call? Email or video chat? Everyone has personal preferences and they can be situational. For example, if a chat exchange takes more than a few messages back and forth, we would probably save time with a phone call.
Roles and responsibilities are communicated.
Does each member of your team know what their role is, what they should be doing, and why it is important to the company’s mission? Clear roles and responsibilities are important in a face-to-face office, but they are crucial in a remote environment. The top remote teams understand what they—and their teammates—are doing and why. This clarity leads to better collaboration and morale.
Culture is reinforced.
It’s doubly important to focus on culture when your team is distributed. Even if you are staunchly anti-meeting, try to get your entire team together on a regular basis. Build in fun activities that can be done from a distance, like sharing internet memes or sending a funny chain letter in the (real) mail.
You are prepared to change.
No company does everything right the first time. As you adjust to a new way of working and managing, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t. Growing pains are inevitable. Keep being willing to make adjustments to your methods and take feedback from your team. Flexibility goes a long way in establishing a successful remote working environment.