Establishing Efficient Remote Work

Before the current sanitary crisis, leaders were reluctant in letting team members work from home. You may be asking yourself why? Besides the fact that some jobs are incompatible with remote work, some leaders say it due to the risks linked to the security of IT tools, others fear administrative constraints, hierarchy issues or just because managers themselves are reluctant. Indeed, they fear difficulties in managing their department, the increase of complex exchanges between employees and losing part of their managerial responsibilities. They are also concerned about the lack of work-life balance.

However, today, a grand majority of workers are confined at home because of Corona Virus. Everything has changed in a couple of weeks and now some of us are forced to work remotely. When not used to it, the thought of working from home might be daunting and drive people to self-isolation. This is something that leaders absolutely want to prevent.

To make sure remote work is a success for each employee, leaders needs to:

  • Ensure the workload is distributed fairly,
  • Keep in regular contact with employees to detect those who have more difficulties and therefore need support
  • Maintain team spirit by promoting the company’s culture,
  • Plan regular meetings so that everyone has the same level of information

Once again communication is key in this situation. Some tips could be communicated to beginners or all employees to support them in this new situation they were unprepared for. They need to figure out their working style by framing their work environment, planning their day and for example by using the “Pomodoro” technique (25-minute work session for a 5 minute-break). They also need to time for themselves so, leaders should promote self-care: exercising, finding an activity that allows them to be always “on”.

There are many benefits for employers and employees in this new situation. The first one is finding out employees are more autonomous than they think in their own environment. Leaders and managers are emphasizing management through trust which will make employees feel more engaged. By managing their own time, employees will be more productive/efficient, less distracted and will be more rested as they are avoiding commuting.

Even with all of this, some might struggle to get used to the abrupt change and transition. There is a difference between never working from home, occasionally working from home and working full-time remotely. Employees but also employers might start feeling lonely and isolated. Each party will have to play their part in being open-minded, understanding and supportive. Close communication between employees and managers but also team members is vital. People need to be virtually creative to maintain a semblance of normalcy and make sure these feelings do not impact moral and productivity: virtual coffee breaks, lunch, happy hours, games, birthdays, workouts, meditation, etc. The goal is to keep spirits up and this can be part of an engagement strategy!

Through and through, remote work can also be an opportunity for companies to understand how well they function all together but also which process or effective or not. It will empower teams by enabling them to develop specific skills such as adaptability or communication. Moreover, it can be an opportunity for them to experiment a bit more all the tools they have at their disposal (working on the cloud, using videoconference, etc.) and establish inclusive practices.

This situation might influence leaders to identify new ways of working or lead to a widespread of the trend that is remote work.

References:

  1. Le télétravail progresse mais les managers freinent les dirigeants, 22nd February 2019, Cadremploi
  2. What is remote work? Remote Year
  3. Remote work: Will the Coronavirus Lead to the Wisdespread Adoption of New Ways of Working? Tier1Performance
  4. Coronavirus: How to work from home, the right way? 13th March 2020, BBC