While working remotely isn’t a new concept, the pandemic certainly accelerated the shift towards it in ways that few could have predicted. And now that they’ve successfully made the transition, some companies are looking beyond just allowing employees to continue working from home.
Australian businesses are adapting to remote workplaces by leveraging the changing landscape to compete on the world stage. With that in mind, here are some strategies to make working remotely… well… work.
Hiring the right managers
One of the most essential requirements of building a successful remote workplace is hiring the right management team. To ensure the same levels of high productivity, it’s the manager’s role to ensure employees have the tools and everything else they need to succeed. But managing staff who work online is fundamentally different than in a normal office environment, so your current managers will need to be retrained.
Unfortunately, some will struggle to find the right balance between micromanaging their team and keeping them updated on workloads. That’s why you should be reimagining your hiring process to find and retain skilled supervisors with proven experience managing virtual teams.
Define your processes
To get the most out of your remote teams, your processes and procedures for working from home must be well-defined from an early stage. Your team need a systemised flow of information with a standard process for operational guidance to delineate all aspects of their individual roles.
And by defining your processes, you can trust work will get completed with the least amount of dropped balls and crossed lines as possible. So make sure your expectations are crystal clear by communicating exactly what you need to happen, when, and by whom.
Leverage international talent
The most important resource of almost any company is talent. And the greatest talent isn’t always located close to company headquarters. In fact, statistically, you can be sure this is hardly ever the case as the very best talent is distributed throughout the working world. But without the limitations of geography, companies with the opportunity to expand their reach when hiring remote teams.
Not only can this diversify talent pools, but it also dramatically improves the chance of finding top-quality hires. Don’t forget that your business isn’t the only one potentially tapping into global job networks, so the competition for attracting talent has also increased.
Utilise technology and automation
There are several benefits of automation and technology in remote workplaces, as many employees rely on them to operate effectively. Innovations in automated tech have evolved specifically to meet requirements in the remote workspace. These systems become even more crucial when teams work in different states, time zones, or even countries.
And with a growing number of remote workers in the manufacturing industry, automation technology has helped plants increase production and become more efficient despite having fewer workers. From supply chains to order management, digital readiness is key for increased productivity and successful autonomous work. So, employers must provide technological equipment for their remote staff to work smarter with the simple touch of a button.
Play to your strengths
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to implementing a raft of new remote working practices. Every business has different values, so you need to customise a system that works for your team while setting you apart from the competition.
So to survive in the digital-first world of remote workspaces, it’s important to adopt a strategy that plays to your strengths. Create a detailed strategy with realistic team expectations that are based on your current strengths, with a communication policy where everyone understands the expectations.
Not only is this a necessity for survival, but it also provides an opportunity to establish a reliable work-from-home policy for your business that multiplies your production.
Make employees comfortable
It turns out that when team members are allowed to choose where they work, their overall productivity increases considerably. Especially when compared to those who are confined to working in a more traditional setting in the same geographical location.
That’s because people are generally much happier when and will work much harder when you show them respect and trust. They’re also much more likely to stick with your company over the long term. And the heightened reliance on digital communication has even helped some of the more introverted employees feel much more comfortable and open.
That’s why it’s so important you make sure they are comfortable with the remote working arrangement. So as everyone is getting used to the new normal of the workplace, managers also need to adapt to ensuring staff get what they need to meet their KPI’s and achieve success remotely.
Company culture is still important
Company culture can be instrumental when it comes to creating a successful remote workplace. Sure, remote work can be challenging, but the positive outcomes are certainly worth all of the hard work. So, despite staff working in different geographical locations, it’s imperative to remind them that they’re still part of a team. To ensure the reduced face-to-face contact doesn’t affect the cohesiveness of teams, you need to find ways of maintaining the same positive company culture.
That means frequently scheduling online meetings as well as getting together in person at least once every 3 months to ensure teams remember who they work with. By prioritising the culture of your company, you can address remote work barriers while ensuring your approach to staff engagement aligns with your other talent initiatives.
Making the transition to a remote-first business model necessitates a complete restructuring of operations to be successful. And as long as you understand this today, you can start making changes for a smoother tomorrow. Because the workplace of future has arrived and it’s remote.
Felix is the co-founder of GrowthBoost, the destination for business owners and marketers to find great software tools. Alongside writing, Felix recently graduated from university with a finance degree and enjoys helping students and other young founders grow their projects.