How to Transition Your Current Remote Work Tactics to a Long-Term Strategy
Remote work or hybrid solutions can help you cut costs, retain employees, and attract top talent. The benefits are one reason why PwC reports, “Less than one in five executives say they want to return to the office as it was pre-pandemic.”
However, to realize gains from your flexible work options, it’s vital to craft a plan that aligns with your company’s mission and delivers high-quality experiences for staff and customers. Take the following steps to leverage lessons from recent events and create a long-term strategy that’ll maximize productivity while preserving your corporate culture.
Examine Workplace and Workforce Data
There isn’t a “right” answer when it comes to running your business. Instead, your remote work strategy should account for your company’s unique needs, clients, and employees. Gather data about job positions, worker preferences, and costs to determine what approach is best for your business.
Assess Employees and Job Roles
PwC finds 55% of employees “would prefer to be remote at least three days a week once pandemic concerns recede.” But virtual working isn’t suitable for all job positions or workers. Map staff responsibilities and survey team members to determine how to structure your remote workforce. Consider:
- Type of work: Think about various job positions and daily activities and rate them according to the possibility of remote work and collaboration.
- Staff preferences: Talk to your team and managers to determine what options your employees want and how they visualize their future with your company.
- Workforce experience: Look at the experience of leadership and staff to discover strengths and weaknesses relevant to the adoption of a remote work strategy.
Review Budget Considerations
Although remote working can save your business money, you may need to invest to ensure a seamless transition. As you form your plan, highlight potential savings alongside new expenses. Get a clear cost picture of your remote work options by looking at:
- Real estate costs: Consider potential savings of reducing onsite employees while accounting for additional expenses, such as adding smart conference or collaboration features to an existing office space.
- Technology investments: Integrated tech and cloud tools, high-speed internet in the office and employees’ homes, and enhanced cybersecurity are must-have features for a successful remote work strategy.
- Training: Employees and management may need help transitioning to remote work, from improving soft skills such as effective online communications to navigating new software tools.
Compare Remote Work Options
Once you’ve mapped job positions and talked with team members, think about what remote work looks like for your business. Different job roles or departments may go fully remote while others come to the office three days per week. The three primary options are:
- Mostly remote: Staff works from home but lives near your office so they can join occasional in-person meetings or collaboration sessions.
- Hybrid: The hybrid approach is popular among employers. Employees spend a few days a week in the office and a couple of days at home.
- Work from anywhere (WFA): With WFA, your teams are entirely virtual and can live throughout the United States, or if your situation allows, globally.
Develop Policies for Hybrid or Remote Work Alternatives
Traditional procedures and policies rely on employees being in the office daily. Take a look at your existing policies and think about how these may change for a remote or hybrid workforce. Leaders from each department should work with your human resources (HR) staff to assess and adjust policies. The main considerations include:
- Work parameters: Define standards for staff availability and how performance is measured using key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Expectations: Identify daily, weekly, or monthly meeting or collaboration needs for each job position and what a work-from-home (WFH) routine looks like.
- Cybersecurity: Clarify protocols for file-sharing, application access, and bring your own device (BYOD) policies. Describe how you’ll monitor connections and data flow.
- Applicant recruitment: Update job descriptions and required skill sets to reflect the fundamentals needed for remote job candidates.
- Benefits: Ensure your existing benefits are transferable to remote team members or examine comparable alternatives for virtual staff.
- Compensation: Review your pay structure, including bonuses and overtime, to determine if it’ll differ for WFA employees versus on-site workers.
Review Management Practices
The approach leadership and management take to remote work can make or break your strategy. However, coaching and engaging with a virtual workforce is different from managing in-person teams. Your staff may need guidance to transition to their new roles overseeing remote workers.
Evaluate managers’ concerns and help them answer questions, such as:
- How will you help employees set work-life boundaries?
- What actions can you take to increase worker engagement online?
- How can you earn employees’ trust and gain confidence in them?
- What’s your approach to coaching or mentoring online?
- Which tools are necessary to ensure accountability?
Reimagine Employee Training Programs
Not all team members are equipped to collaborate online. Some may struggle with new expectations, technologies, or workflows. Virtual training and development programs can help leaders and staff navigate the remote workplace.
According to PwC, “Over 30% of employees say coaching and onboarding new hires is more difficult than pre-COVID.” However, “64% of executives plan to invest in training leaders to manage a more virtual workforce.” Prepare your workforce by:
- Surveying staff to assess comfort levels with various technologies and remote work skills
- Adjusting onboarding and training programs for virtual delivery
- Identifying skills to improve and methods to enhance learning
- Setting up cloud-based knowledge and training centers for employee self-help
- Getting input from HR and IT teams to choose training platforms and tools
Leverage Tools to Preserve Culture and Collaboration
The right tools, management techniques, and remote work strategies can help your business retain its culture and drive successful collaboration outcomes. But it can be difficult to find what works for your teams.
According to PwC, “87% of employees say the office is important for collaborating with team members and building relationships.” Furthermore, 68% of executives “say a typical employee should be in the office at least three days a week to maintain a distinct company culture.” Consider tactics, such as:
- Use pulse check surveys to gauge employee engagement levels.
- Select collaboration platforms suitable for job positions and individual workers.
- Update pages on your company intranet channels at least weekly.
- Consider virtual team-building applications or remote networking sessions.
Test Your Company’s IT Infrastructure
You may need to beef up your existing tech stack and infrastructure to support your remote work efforts. Employees should be able to shift from working in the office to working from home with ease. Further investments may be needed in the following areas:
- WFH internet: Do employees have secure high-speed internet connections and devices to perform their job duties?
- Security solutions: Can IT teams secure all endpoints and help workers access company assets safely?
- Business internet: Does your office internet have the bandwidth to keep on-premise, remote workers, and clients connected?
- Office phone systems: Can your business phone system support multiple device types and call routing to remote workers?
- Cloud storage and backup: Are your backups accessible, secure, and regular to guarantee business continuity?
Build an Optimal Remote Work Strategy
Transition your remote work efforts into a long-term strategy by gathering insights from various department leaders. Your HR, finance, and compliance teams can review changes to policies while your tech team provides business solutions, including how to update your infrastructure for virtual work. With the right plan, you can realize the benefits of flexible work while ensuring exceptional client and employee experiences.
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