As we move into the merry month of December, employers will see more of their people taking their work home with them for the holidays than ever before.
Remote work has grown by 80% over the past decade. Over 3.7 million employees now work from home at least half the time.”
We wrote this remote work guide for the upcoming festive flex days, but it’s worth pushing these strategies beyond the holidays and into 2017.
Flex days and fluid workplaces are fast becoming the new norm. Studies have shown that a clear-headed approach to remote work can lead to a huge increase in productivity across the board.
Thankfully there are proven remote work strategies that keep everyone in the loop. We’re happy to present a few of them for you now. Whether you are an employee or an employer, we have the strategies to help you stay connected to your team.
REMOTE WORK STRATEGIES—FOR EMPLOYEES
Make it easy for your boss and team member to contact you with these simple tips:
Deliver On Your Promises
Hit your goals, meet your deadlines, and be sure to send completed deliverables to the right people so your team knows it can trust you to fly solo.
Maintain Transparency With Your Team
You know you’re putting in an honest day’s work, but does your team? A morning check-in is a great daily habit as it lets everyone touch base and relay what they’re working on. If your company uses task management software like Asana, be sure to keep your projects up to date and tag stakeholders when changes inevitably arise.
Grandma’s Dial-Up Doesn’t Cut It
Go ahead and visit your grandma on Salt Spring Island, but make sure you have access to a strong internet connection. The team at Trello uses this as their litmus test. Your internet connection should be strong enough to easily handle a video call over Google Hangout.
REMOTE WORK STRATEGIES—FOR EMPLOYERS
It’s easy to cultivate accountability and trust with your remote workers. Just provide them a few clear guidelines:
Agree Upon Core Hours
Decide upon core hours—during these designated times, you and your team agree to be readily available via email or Slack. The rest of the working day is yours to organize as you see fit, but if you decide to take the dog for an epic walk, be sure to let your team know you’re going to be offline for an hour or so.
Set Clear Expectations
Help your people succeed by setting clear, straight-forward goals—and request daily or weekly reports that outline each task your remote worker has accomplished. This is a simple way to find alignment with your people, while keeping them accountable for their work.
Establish an Urgency Hierarchy for Email Subject Lines
Develop a list of subject titles to save your team time and energy. According to the New York Times, “$650 billion is an estimate of the cost of unnecessary interruptions in terms of lost productivity and innovation.” A hierarchy of key words like URGENT, ACTION REQUIRED, TIME SENSITIVE, PLEASE REPLY BY (DATE), FYI, etc. help communicate the urgency of your messages, and help the recipient plan his/her responses accordingly.
Empowering people work from home is a great perk that can attract top talent in a competitive market, but building trust with remote workers still depends on culture.
“It all comes back to our core values and our ability to communicate them,” says Ben Eubanks, the HR manager for Pinnacle Solutions, a 70-person engineering and training service provider. “A couple of times, we have run into people who can’t handle the freedom—people who want to goof off instead of working. But we can tell when they’re not meeting deadlines, and we get the process started to find someone else who can.”
If core values feel natural to your employees, your culture will flow easily from the office to your remote workers. If you need some help defining your vision and values, drop us a line. Our experts can help you create alignment across projects, teams, and offices—and create a better, stronger workplace.