It’s becoming increasingly clear that if employers want to remain competitive in the hiring landscape, they will need to incorporate remote work into their business model. For example, 79% of respondents in our recent Workforce Futures survey stated that they would like to work outside of their company office in some capacity, and 89% stated that flexible work should be how we work, rather than a benefit. As such, we are seeing more and more business leaders taking the plunge into the world of remote work, seeking to incorporate options for flexible work into their business and talent model.
Beyond simply buying the right technologies, business leaders must make other considerations in deciding to create a flexible work environment. It may not be obvious at first, but company culture is an important factor in supporting the transition to remote work. Consider these tips to build a remote-friendly culture.
Trust Your Remote Workers
Stigmas associated with remote working are often one of the biggest obstacles to a successful adoption of remote-friendly policies. Some people inaccurately believe that remote workers don’t work as hard as those in the office, and are less focused then their physically present counterparts. When such a sentiment prevails across an organization, it serves to discourage employees from utilizing remote work flexibility for fear of the perceptions or judgement that may come with it. That is why it is so important for leaders to build a culture of trust towards remote work. For workers to feel comfortable working out of the office, remote work must not be seen as any different than work done in the office, and leaders must promote this understanding across their teams.
Workers often become reluctant to take advantage of remote-friendly policies if they feel like they’ll be missing out on day-to-day office activity. Perhaps they don’t want to forego a quick huddle to hammer out the details on a project, or are wary of missing out on assignments because they weren’t in the line of sight when a task came through. Encourage in-office employees to include their colleagues who are working remotely. If workers head into a huddle, they should give their remote coworker a chance to join a video conference to be a part of the conversation. Managers should remember to spread out team assignments, and not just think of the people who are within their immediate proximity. If your employees understand that nothing significant will be lost when they leave the office, they’ll feel much more comfortable working remotely.
Bring Everyone Together
As employees embrace remote-friendly policies, it’s still important for businesses to promote social connection and team bonding amongst teammates. 47% of workers come into the office to socialize, so if they feel that they will not be able to forge social connections while working remotely, they are much less likely to do so. When coworker interactions are only limited to project updates, metrics and goals, it’s challenging to form camaraderie that enhances communication and encourages productivity. In order to avoid this pitfall, leaders should be sure to bring their employees together as often as they can. This can be achieved through physical gatherings like an annual company retreat, or even bi-weekly all-staff calls where employees must join a video conference. This can also be bolstered through company wide communications channels dedicated to interpersonal topics such as the latest shows, sports brackets or personal updates. This will serve to increase cohesion and connectivity across the organization, regardless of the physical distances that may separate team members.
We all understand that the journey towards becoming a remote-friendly organization takes dedication and effort, but once achieved, it can bring businesses to new heights of success and growth. Remote-friendly policies support recruiting top talent from across the globe and empowers teams to be productive anywhere, at anytime.
This piece originally appeared on the Fuze blog.