Remote work has been trending for years, but the events of 2020 put work-from-home opportunities in the spotlight like never before. The systems companies scrambled to put into place when the COVID-19 pandemic hit gave employees more than a glimpse of what it could be like to ditch the daily commute in favor of sweats on the bottom, blouse on the top, and Zoom in full swing.
Now, 74% of people surveyed expect remote work to become the new standard and a whopping 97% don’t want to return to the office full time.
As a CMO, business owner, HR rep, or other professional tasked with balancing company needs with employee preferences, understanding how to make the best of remote or hybrid work scenarios could be just what you need to motivate the masses and amplify output.
What are the challenges working with remote teams?
When you take your team out of the office and allow them to work from, well, wherever they want, you’re bound to encounter some roadblocks.
One of the biggest is communication.
You’re no longer able to poke your head into someone’s office or ask for clarification without picking up the phone or waiting for a return email.
Other potential challenges include:
- Difficulty with timely communication
- Keeping all team members on the same page
- Creating and maintaining a positive company culture
- Tracking work and ensuring productivity
- Managing deliverables/project flow
- Security risks
Can remote teams really be productive?
There are plenty of reasons to believe that remote workers might not measure up to their in-office counterparts when it comes to productivity. At home, distractions abound. There are chores to be done, TV to watch, kids to wrangle, and kitties who need their ears scratched. But working from home also means fewer sick days, less time dealing with dragged-out in-person meetings, and the ability to get to work right away rather than “settling in” at the office for an hour every morning.
But the real proof is in the numbers: Best Buy’s flexible work program resulted in a 35% increase in productivity, and 65% of workers say they feel more productive at home.
Keep in mind too that productivity is a measure of how efficient someone is.
People don’t have to work eight hours straight to be productive. One of the reasons work-at-home teams do so well is that they may work fewer hours but focus far better while they’re tackling a task.
Setting your remote teams up for success
To help tackle the challenges above, take advantage of tech. Apps like Slack act as a virtual HQ, keeping teams connected and organized. Offer employees free security software to minimize the risk of exposure, emphasize asynchronous communication (sending messages without waiting for or expecting an immediate response), and find ways to streamline project management so everyone knows what’s on deck, what’s expected of them, and when those tasks are due.
The hardest part of transitioning to remote or hybrid operations is getting a new infrastructure in place. Let the experts at Aliste put systems in place to keep your team organized and energized