Did you know that millions of people have been doing remote work over the past decade? The concept of remote work isn’t new but is gaining a lot of popularity in recent times.
FUN FACT: According to the Gallup poll, 56% of U.S workers work remotely all or part of their time.
While some may return to their full-time work or stay in a hybrid zone, the trend towards remote work is pretty high. Upwork’s Future of Workforce Pulse Report has estimated that by 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be performing the best remote work practices. An 87% increase due to the recent global pandemic. Due to the rising number of companies and employees going for remote work over the traditional work system, the leaders and managers will need to change and redesign the policies and management system.
From meetings, group discussion and team collaboration to schedules and management, remote work has completely transformed the style, location, time and method of doing work.
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So how do we exactly define what remote work is? Well, remote work is essentially any kind of work done elsewhere from a physical office location. Remote work grants the employees the freedom to work and stay connected with the company from anywhere globally. Some people may still consider it work from home or a niche cafe, but others have adopted this “digital nomad” lifestyle of working and travelling to various locations.
With the advancement in cloud technology and improved collaboration tools, and better communication systems, the best remote work practices have become less complicated for companies to allow multiple teams to join the remote work movement. In fact, the companies have also started to appreciate the additional benefits and improved productivity that come with the best remote work practices.
This was all about remote work and how it differed from traditional work. Now let’s have a check on some of the benefits of doing remote work.
Despite the traditional mindset of leaders to invest in remote work as a viable option for the workforce, there are many people who agree that remote work has convincing advantages.
Some of the benefits of best remote work practices are:
Employees admit that they like the flexibility and liberty offered by remote work. As a matter of fact, more than 54% of employees agreed to change their current job for one that gives them more flexibility. Offering remote work also results in an average of 12% turnover reduction. Keeping the employee happy can improve their productivity, engagement, and excitement towards work, resulting in the company’s growth and profit.
Research proves that remote work can have a positive impact on both employees and businesses. Doing the best remote work practices can help the company understand the potential problems and work on improving employee engagement that will affect the long-term performance.
Here are some of the most prominent statistics about the best remote work practices that can help know the present and future of remote work.
According to a study conducted by Flexjobs and Global Workplace Analytics, there was a massive shake-up of more than 159% increase in the growth of remote work in the United States between the years 2005 and 2017. Another study by Buffer’s annual report suggested that the main reason behind such a staggering increase in the growth of remote work is the flexibility offered by remote work and other causes like working from any location, no travelling, and spending time with family.
As now you have the idea of the best remote work practices and what it is, let’s now talk about some significant pros and cons.
Remote work offers a very huge range of autonomy over the work. This can also be translated to a positive culture of mutual trust and understanding. Moreover, when an employee would meet their teammates in person, they will be more engaged in team-building activities that will foster connection. For companies, employees performing the best remote work practices helps them to reduce the business costs like office rent, electricity bill, get access to a broader range of workers, have less absenteeism and higher employee retention.
Since employees are not working in a physical office, workers may work for a longer duration of time without resting or breaking or working even on weekends. This can cause health issues and problems in private life as well. Also, the difference and differing schedule of performing the best remote work practices can lead to miscommunication and sometimes disordered work.
Remote work should not be confused with working as an individual worker. The chances of working with a team are pretty much the same as that would be for a non-remote worker. Therefore, coordination and communication with co-workers are a must, especially when trying to perform the best remote work practices for accomplishing a group task.
No doubt that the level of communication with remote co-workers can be the same as traditional employees. However, this can’t be a valid reason to declare digital communication useless or ineffective.
There are numerous tools and methods that can be used to create solid digital communication between co-workers and collaborate effectively. Video conferencing apps and software, chat apps, discussion forums, project management software, etc., are some of the best available options to foster communication.
Strong communication and better collaboration among the remote team is the only key to their overall success. This also benefits the employees from getting stuck in a task as they can get help from their team members and overcome the complexities faced together.
The productivity level of an individual depends on his/her capabilities and skills. Having said that, working remotely doesn’t provide the surety of having the most incredible productivity levels throughout the worker’s working hours; performing the best remote work practices does.
Sometimes best remote work practices can result in decreased productivity; for instance, while performing the best remote work practices, people always tend to skip short breaks between working hours, which are essential for retaining the productivity level. Taking breaks during office hours in the office was normal, but this turns out to be a pang of guilt while working remotely. Taking short breaks during work time while performing the best remote work practices makes workers feel cheated on their work and profession.
Taking short breaks during working hours is nothing to be guilty of. It can help you increase productivity and lighten work stress.
Moreover, it is a proven fact that short breaks improve focus towards the work while performing the best remote work practices. Therefore, taking breaks should be a must.
You can try out specific activities as a break in between; for instance, if doing a light body stretch in between working hours makes you productive and relaxed, then you should definitely include it in your daily routine.
Other factors like your workspace, accessories, clothing, the environment of your house, and even petty things like the height of your chair can be experimented with to find out what makes you more productive and less distracted.
While working in a remote team, there will be many instances that other members might belong from different time zones. Communication can be difficult if you stay rigid to your working hours and do not cooperate with other co-workers.
Hence, you will need to find a solution to deal with such inconvenient situations where you may have to work during non-working hours.
Though you won’t be disturbed during midnight or at a very unpleasant timing as no one would like to be disturbed at 2 am by a colleague. Also, your input will also be taken into consideration while considering the timing and so you can expect some good response. However, you can always try to convince others to carry out the meeting within the time frame of your working hours.
Efficient workers that perform best remote work practices usually face a lot of difficulties in building trust. Face-to-face meetings are of great help to build trust with other co-workers and also to communicate someone’s point of view. Meetings in person from time to time can help in knowing the co-workers better and develop a personal connection with them.
Mostly all the meetings and face-to-face discussions are organised by the team leader or the project manager. However, you can also take charge and schedule a meeting yourself with your team partners. If it’s a huge team consisting of members belonging from different points on earth, it is best to limit the real meetings once or twice a year.
Connecting over a video conference is the first best thing that can be done if a face-to-face meeting is not possible.
Socializing is the best way to foster your bond with other remote co-workers. Spending some time socializing with other team members helps in motivating yourself and understanding other teammates better.
One day sooner or later,, after starting remote work, you may start feeling lonely and the separation from the office environment and colleagues that seemed to be the best part may tend to infuse uneasiness. Therefore, it is highly important to keep yourself motivated and well connected with other co-workers.
A way to connect with other team members is by creating a group where everyone can discuss work-related stuff. Social video conferences can be conducted where discussion on random topics can take place, which can be an excellent way to lighten the work stress and interact with others.
Another method to escape the boredom of work and interact with teammates is by connecting over various remote team building games and activities. Games and activities can help understand each team member’s nature, likes, dislikes and personality.
The most difficult task while performing the best remote work practices is effectively differentiating between work and personal life. As a result, the environment of your house gets disturbed and eventually results in unproductive, low grade and mediocre work.
Habits like checking work emails outside the work hours or skipping a particular office task during work hours for some household work can also have bad consequences later. Therefore, a remote worker must have a strict line between your working and non-working hours.
While working, make sure that you are fully dedicated to your work and not distracted by anything else. And, as soon as the working hours are over, temporarily unhook yourself from work by not engrossing in it until the next working hour or extra time. Working extra time quite often during remote working can lead to some health consequences.
Once the work is done, shut down all the devices that were in use or else if the device is the same for your personal and professional use, you can turn off or mute the notifications related to work.
Acknowledgement of your presence while performing the best remote work practices should be a requirement. Unlike the conventional office system, there will be absolutely no one to monitor your work or surprisingly visit your desk in between your work.
Therefore, to be more recognisable among your managers and colleagues keeping on updating them about your current work and the task being handled by you. You need to voluntarily inform your managers or any intermediate person about the status of your best remote work practices if they somehow forget to ask. Also, do ask for their comments as this shows that you are an active member of the team.
Replying and commenting quickly on co-workers queries and suggestions regarding best remote work practices or anything else is also another great way to get the spotlight.
Remote work is gaining popularity at a tremendous rate all due to the untraditional way of functioning by allowing an individual to work from any place of their choice. In addition to that, many experts believe remote working to be the future of the world and should be accepted wholeheartedly.
If you are a newly started remote worker, implementing the best remote work practices mentioned in the article can help you to settle into your new workstyle easily without any complications. I hope this article helped you understand the concept of remote work, its benefits and the best remote work practices.
Managing remote work employees requires sensibility from both the employers and the employees because the challenges faced are tougher than the traditional physical office. With a solid plan and powerful communication, trusting the workers, individualization of workers, encouraging social interaction, and good managers, businesses with remote workers, can easily overcome the challenges and become successful.
Here are some of the characteristics and habits of an excellent remote worker:
Setting office hours and sticking to them
Setting up a home office space
Frequent usage of Time Management Tools
Taking short breaks
Occasional in-person meetings
Planning out and structuring the days
Avoiding household tasks during working hours
Good collaboration with team members
Solid understanding of work
Leading a team remotely is probably much more complicated than in a physical office, but there are many advantages once acquiring a grip over it. Here are some tips to effectively lead a remote team:
Establishment of good communication
Establishing ground rules
Working with transparency
Take advantages of technology
Focusing on outcomes, not the activity
Maintaining social communication as well
Keeping the remote employees motivated isn’t a hefty task. One can use the same motivation methods as used for traditional employees. Some of the methods to motivate remote employees are:
Keeping the employees happy
Recognizing employees for their excellent work
Developing company culture with remote employees
Clearing your goals and expectations
Providing an effective communication platform