How to Transition to Long-Term or Permanent Work From Home
At this point, it has become abundantly clear that the future of work is remote. 74 percent of employees would readily quit their jobs for a remote working position and as a direct result, 62 percent of organizations now offer remote working perks at least in some capacity.
While working from home due to the pandemic was a big change, it has turned out to be beneficial for both organizations and employees. In fact, over 54 percent of organizations are already planning to increase and expand their flexible work options after the pandemic is over. Major companies like Slack, Twitter, Squarespace, and Facebook have already announced that they will allow their employees to work from home, permanently.
Asking your employees to temporarily go remote is one thing, but transitioning to permanent work from home is a whole other ball game. When you transition successfully, you end up with a productive remote workforce and an optimum remote work culture that gives you visible results.
If your organization has never made the switch to remote work before, transitioning to remote work can seem incredibly overwhelming. While it is definitely true that ideal remote work culture can take years to build, with the right practices, you can make the transition all the more easier.
Here are some of the top tips to transition to long-term or permanent work from home.
How To Work From Home Effectively
1. Setup and manage expectations
If you are planning to go permanently remote, the first thing you should do is ensure that remote work is something that will work for all of your employees. While some businesses may find that all of the employee roles can be moved to remote work, others might have a section of roles that just can’t go remote.
Moreover, it’s also important to get feedback from employees to understand whether they are on board with your permanent remote work policy or not. You need to articulate the main purpose of the company going remote and envision what the new system would look like to get everyone on board.
At the same time, you need to ask yourself the main questions about how your company will handle the assets:
- How will you organize different functions and business processes?
- How will you streamline communication and collaboration?
- Will the employees work from the same time zone or different?
- What are the main remote tools and technologies that you will use?
- How will you ensure individual productivity and team collaboration?
2. Create communication guidelines
Communication is one of the biggest challenges remote teams face. You want employees to feel encouraged to reach out to their colleagues in order to collaborate effectively, but at the same time, you want to ensure that employees don’t feel too overwhelmed with excessive emails, messages, and calls coming their way.
As a result, you need to create specific communication guidelines so that remote employees feel comfortable enough to collaborate with their team members and still have enough space for uninterrupted productive work.
Here are some common communication best practices for remote work:
- Keeping track of every team member’s time zones and working hours
- Creating a shared calendar for the team and deciding whether the employees need to work a fixed number of hours every day or they have the flexibility to create their own schedule
- Sharing the main communication and collaboration tools to be used by employees and their main purpose
- Limiting the number of emails employees send to each other
- Creating separate channels for formal and informal communication
3. Maintain transparency
Keeping all the work visible can be challenging with a growing remote workforce. Lack of transparency can eventually make employees feel mistrusted and disengaged.
With no way to interact with their colleagues face to face, employees may not know what their counterparts are up to. This can lead to trust issues and communication problems within the team. On the other hand, if you can build remote transparency, employees always know what their other colleagues are up to, they feel more responsible, engaged, and involved.
4. Create a remote community
Even with all the perks, remote work can feel rather lonely and isolating. According to a report, loneliness is one of the biggest struggles faced by remote employees.
Just staring at a screen in an empty room, month after month, can degrade employee morale and eventually affect their work. This makes it all the more important to foster a healthy work culture and create a remote community of sorts. Without a space for personal interaction and ongoing feedback, employee engagement and motivation can quickly fizzle out.
A good way to create a strong remote community is by routinely organizing virtual team building activities. You can set up casual communication channels where team members can interact and get to know each other in a more personal way. Even the smallest of these actions can go a long way in strengthening relationships and building trust.
5. Use the right tools for remote work
Technology is the reason why remote work is even possible and without the right tools by your side, even the best plans to go permanently remote can eventually fail. Moreover, just offering your employees a laptop and a stable internet connection, and expecting them to work efficiently does not always work. Your remote employees need the right remote work tools to manage their work and collaborate effectively.
Instead of overwhelming employees with too many tools and applications, you can introduce a digital workplace platform to manage all workflows, data, conversations, projects, and processes through a centralized dashboard.
6. Continuous feedback mechanisms make the transition easier
In order to continuously improve your organization’s remote work checklist, you need to continuously get feedback from employees. After all, your employees are the best people to tell you what improvements need to be made in order to improve productivity and efficiency.
It’s good to take your time to develop a well-thought-out remote work strategy to make the transition easier. Focus on promoting togetherness and digital remote work culture in your long-term remote plan to ensure all the employees feel included and valued even when they don’t get to have enough face-to-face interactions with their colleagues and superiors.