COVID-19 has led companies all over the world to let their employees work from home. Even though household tech names like Buffer, Basecamp or Zapier have been working remotely for years and 37% of Americans are working remotely part-time, not all companies were ready to embrace remote work.
However, working remotely isn't easy and can't happen out of the blue. It has to be a choice, it requires attention from the entire company and the processes of remote work constantly need to be approved.
In this article, we'll be taking a look at the best practices to help managers, companies, and remote workers thrive in a remote environment while working efficiently and always staying productive no matter what the conditions are.
Talk to Your Team
While messaging is a great way to communicate with your teammates, sometimes it's not enough to get ideas across. Instead of typing, talk to your team. Schedule a ten-minute video chat whenever messaging via Slack doesn't get your message across.
When working remotely, it's important you put communication on the forefront, as it plays a key role in everyone's work. Since you're miles away from your employees, it's hard to tap them on the shoulder when trying to tell them something. That's why you need to be clear in your communication to ensure your employees don't lose track of what's happening in your company.
Use Employee Monitoring Software
Some business owners are not allowing remote work in their companies because they don’t know how to supervise remote employees. And while we know that supervising remote employees can seem hard, it's important your company has enough transparency to ensure that your employees can work together. If transparency isn't present, the productivity of employees can suffer.
By having some sort of way to supervise remote employees, you ensure that your employees are doing the work you’re paying them to do while at the same time they are sure that their efforts are properly noted. Just be transparent about employee monitoring with your team and there’s no reason for them to be against it.
Insist on Accountability
While remote work usually includes some form of flexibility, your employees should be able to report on their progress in a timely and easy to understand manner. By keeping track of the progress of each of your projects and making sure everyone is accountable, you may see an increase in productivity levels across your entire company.
Always Plan Ahead
One of the most vital aspects of remote work is structure. While there is still overhead to your company even when working remotely, you still need to plan in advance to minimize clashes in schedules and overwork. Planning and structuring days effectively needs to happen so that all of your employees have enough time for communication and brainstorming, as well as highly-focused and productive working time.
To ensure everyone is performing at the same level while working remotely, you need to create processes that everyone can follow. This also helps that all of the work, whether it's coding, support, administrative work or anything else, is done to the same high standard.
Set Office Hours
Most people working remotely do it from their home. This can blend the work-life and the home life as sometimes there isn't a visible distinction between the two. By setting office hours for yourself and your employees, everyone will easily divide their home from their work life. It also helps to tell everyone when their colleagues are available or not, no matter what your Slack status says.
Procrastination Isn’t so Bad Sometimes
All of us procrastinate. No matter if people are in the office or at home, no one can be productive and focused 100% of the time. And that's perfectly fine, as long as it doesn't end up taking the majority of one's time. However, you should still communicate with your employees about it to ensure that they try to minimize the lulls.
Start Working Right Away
When working remotely, some people end up slouching in front of their computer while scrolling through social media and drinking their coffee. Try to encourage your employees not to do that but instead tell them not to touch their computer until they're ready to start working. By jumping right into work instead of slouching, it can create a momentum that can push them to be more productive.
Further Reading on Remote Work
Remote work has been advocated by many authors over the years which is why we'll be including some of our favorite books and ebooks. We’re hoping that these titles successfully help you in moving to a remote work arrangement more easily.
Our ebook shows you how to expand your team's possibilities by teaching everything you need to know about creating and managing a remote workforce.
REMOTE: Office Not Required
A staple of remote work literature comes from Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, co-founders of Basecamp. The book explains all the benefits and challenges of remote work while showing you why more companies should embrace the remote model.
The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work
Paged by Scott Berkun, it tells the tale of the future of work from the angle of an old-school management executive who starts leading a young team at Wordpress.
Work Together Anywhere: A Handbook on Working Remotely
The book shows how remote work can be a win-win for everyone from managers that can save resources and money to the talent that is able to be more independent, satisfied and more productive.