There are so many benefits to managing remote staff. You have lower overheads, greater access to talent, and a team of employees who are happier, more productive, and more loyal to you. Here are 5 things that will allow your company to become remote for years to come:
- Lead by example
This might sound backward, but, remote work should begin with your leaders. While you may feel it is more sensible to have them nearby, you will find that team members are more likely to want to work from home when they see their leaders doing the same.
Ensure that your leaders and managers are aware that you are looking for a ‘top-down’ change and that their participation is critical in the future of the company becoming remote. As we mentioned before, people aren’t comfortable with change, but when they walk past a coffee shop and see their leader working comfortably, it won’t take long for them to want the same.
- Increase transparency and communication for the entire remote staff before the change
In 2019, Buffer’s State of Remote Work stated that communication and collaboration were two of the biggest obstacles of remote work. Working in the same location allows for problems to be resolved instantly, the same can’t be said when you are waiting for someone to reply to an email.
By increasing communication, it is more likely that everybody will receive the necessary information. Arrange frequent and regular virtual meetings, provide employees with the right communication tools like Slack. Emails still have their place, but for remote work, you need to show your employees that there are better methods. Ensure your managers are in contact with team leaders as this will encourage team leaders to stay in touch with team members.
- Encourage collaboration
Another challenge is getting everyone’s ideas and input when you are working with people in different time zones. Waiting for everyone’s input can lead to delays in decision making. One excellent solution employed by GitLab is to have a team member known as the DRI or directly responsible individual. The DRI will collect the opinions and insights from team members and then make the decision.
This method installs trust in your employees as well as getting decisions quicker. Your DRI must have the confidence to make informed decisions without unnecessary delay.
- Break down larger projects into smaller ones
Another solution to combat different time zones is to have employees work on sections of a project that can be sent for review, but while they are waiting, they are able to continue working on the next section of the project. The other advantage of working in this way is that is there is anything that needs adjusting, it will only be a small section.
It will be down to you to explain this process to your employees so that they can understand the benefits. You will also have to be the person who breaks the project down into smaller parts, especially for projects that might not have obvious sections.
- Make the most of your handbook
If your company has a robust and comprehensive handbook complete with documentation, policies, and procedures, employees can turn to the handbook before needing to ask colleagues. It is critical that the handbook is updated every time the company makes a change and that employees are updated about the changes made.
The world has experienced a scary number of changes over a matter of days and weeks and this can certainly be seen in how we have had to adapt the way we work. In some cases, companies have had to go completely remote with very little notice. It is essential that company owners do everything in their power to make remote work a positive experience now, so that when the crisis we are in now begins to fade, employees do not dear the concept of remote work, rather embrace it and enjoy it.