“I can’t wait to get back to the office” is a common refrain that misses the complexities of current work from home situations. As Anne Helen Petersen writes for The New York Times.
“But people don’t really want to get back to the office. They want to get out of their apartments, their houses, their parents’ houses. People want their children back in school, and also out of the house. They want to see people’s faces again and have conversations with people who are closer than six feet from them. But that doesn’t mean that they actually want to be back in the office. At least, not the way the office was before.”
COVID-19 has created a paradigm shift in how companies rethink the physical and virtual workplace. By employing remote professionals, businesses can attract diverse talent. Also, they retain top employees and increase productivity. A shift to a fully remote or a hybrid remote team will have an important impact on your organization’s ability to stay competitive. A hybrid model is where most companies are heading. It’s important to understand why remote work matters, and what it takes to have productive remote teams.
Work From Home Increases Productivity
Remote work works. A survey of employers revealed that 94% said company productivity was the same (67%) or higher (27%) since employees began working from home. One of the benefits of remote work is that employees can tackle projects and tasks at times that suit their own needs and preferences. They can do this while still being responsive to a team. Remote and hybrid organizations with flexible start times or an emphasis on autonomous work can capitalize on the energy levels of each employee. Moreover, they allow each individual to maximize their own schedule.
However, productive remote teams need to explicitly define and communicate their goals and objectives for remote work.
Productive Remote Teams Require Strategy and Intention
Productivity increases don’t mean that everything in a virtual workplace is sunshine and rainbows. As productivity increases, employees can feel overworked, struggle to maintain boundaries, and feel ignored compared to in-office counterparts. That is to say, not all remote work is made equal. The realities of children at home, poor internet connectivity, or shared workspaces are pressing for many.
Help your organization stay competitive, and your workers productive, by establishing best practices in working from home:
- Adopt a remote-first mindset from the top-down of your organization
- Recognize the importance of trust in productive remote teams
- Invest in the skills your workers and your leaders need to achieve sustainable productivity
- Avoid burnout through disciplined boundaries and continuous affirmation
In conclusion, adopting these practices, and investing in your employees and remote infrastructure, will allow them to be successful over the long term. Ultimately, helping your business reap the benefits of remote work and create productive remote teams.
Katie Scheuer, Learning Experience Lead at Workplaceless
Scheuer has over ten years of experience in learning program design and career coaching and now brings that expertise to Workplaceless in driving the development and delivery of effective remote work training programs.
Workplaceless is a fully distributed company that trains remote professionals and companies on how to operate and scale more effectively through virtual leadership training, remote skill development programs, and specialized workshops.