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Work as we knew it pre-2020 has changed forever. Last year’s outbreak of the pandemic has forced both employers and employees to rethink their working model and give things like home office, remote work or some sort of hybrid setup a chance. It is very likely that these changes are here to stay for good, bringing more flexibility in location and work hours to millions of workers around the globe.
But this new normal isn’t just a dream come true - it is also hard work for companies and employees alike. Making a remote system work requires dedication, transparency and good leadership if you permanently want to benefit from this new found freedom.
Here are 5 inconvenient truths about remote work.
The COVID-19 outbreak caught many companies by surprise and forced them to send their staff off into home office without much preparation. This quick response was necessary at the time, but more than 1.5 years later, many companies are still operating under the same emergency system, with employees relying on their own home office equipment, no proper remote work policy regulating their place of work, or a more sophisticated virtual meeting approach.
This hybrid state can cause a lot of damage to a team’s spirit as well as the motivation of every individual. So make sure that you have proper guidelines in place and clearly communicate your company’s new remote work approach. It can also pay off to employ a consultant to help you smooth out the edges around your new setup and ensure everyone’s on the same page.
Sending your team off to work wherever they want is an easy thing to do, but you shouldn’t forget about the legal aspects of having employees work for you outside of your office walls - or even your country of residence. As the employer, you are responsible to comply with local labor laws and tax regulations, including the payment of benefits and potential social security support. Failing to do so can result in fines or even legal consequences for your business.
Another compliance issue you need to consider before sending your employees off to work remotely is how you secure your communication and make sure that sensitive client information stays confidential.
One way to tackle this is by providing every remote worker with a safe internet connection, or at least educating them about the risks of using unprotected wifi networks or sharing information over the phone in public places.
A recent study by Stanford University found that working from home increased productivity by 13%. The research was conducted on 16,000 workers over 9 months, and the rise in performance is mostly attributed to a quieter working environment as well as shorter breaks taken in home office.
However, to achieve a higher level of productivity, you need to support your employees by providing them with the right tools they need to manage their own workload while also communicating with their team.
Making sure your staff has a fast internet and phone connection should be your first priority, followed by utilising project and time management software like Lano to keep everyone on track. In addition to that, chat systems and cloud storage solutions can also help boost your team’s productivity.
If you establish a new remote work hybrid model but never actually work remotely yourself, chances are your employees will feel like they must come into the office as well. The same is true for rules around communication and the usage of tools you need to collaborate with a remote team.
Leading by example is always a good idea, but it is even more crucial when establishing a new remote work culture. You cannot expect people to adapt to these changes without you showing them that it’s okay to do so. You need to set the rules - and follow them yourself, too.
Last but not least, you need to be patient and aware that real change takes time. You cannot expect your employees to seamlessly switch from being in the office fulltime to working remotely. There will be bumps in the road and discussions to be had. But that does not mean it will not get easier.
The more you encourage open conversation around the topic of remote work and listen to the wants and needs of your employees, the sooner you will be able to benefit from all the advantages remote work brings with it.
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