Remote work opportunities used to be few and far between for many industries, but due to advancements in technology and current events like the Coronavirus, it is quickly becoming ubiquitous. This is leaving many companies scrambling to establish work-from-home policies in an effort to attract, retain, and safeguard their employees. The good news is that remote work is not as complicated as others make it out to be. Moreover, there are significant benefits to instituting this type of practice. For instance, MIT’s Sloan School created a flexible work pilot program for employees and found that:
- 90 percent of the team said that their family and personal life improved
- 85 percent agreed that their stress was reduced
- 80 percent said that morale and engagement improved
- 62 percent felt more trusted and respected
- 93 percent believed that collaboration was better than before
While there are rewards to be reaped, a critical component of any successful remote work program is leadership. There are a variety of behaviors and tools that leaders can implement to promote success, including:
Connect frequently and respond quickly
When not done correctly, remote work can isolate people and hamper collaboration. This can be compounded by other factors like unresponsiveness which can cause project roadblocks. A Harvard Business Review (HBR) poll of remote workers found that 46% of respondents said the most successful managers checked in frequently. Of course, the cadence can fluctuate based on the team (e.g. daily or weekly calls). Leaders should also take advantage of video communication tools like Microsoft Teams or Apple FaceTime to establish a more personal connection.
Set clear expectations
This is absolutely critical to remote work success. Leadership needs to explicitly state requirements and deadlines for initiatives so there is no confusion and follow-up as needed. Open-ended requests may not be addressed in a timely or satisfactory manner.
Make plans and goals transparent and easily accessible
Building off of #2, leaders should not forget to share their plans with employees in an accessible and transparent manner. Tools like SharePoint, Jira, Basecamp, Trello, etc. can streamline project management across distributed teams, act as critical file repositories, and more.
At the end of the day, a team is made up of other people with their own dreams, needs, and wants. Working from home doesn’t change this, which means leadership should still make it a point to convey appreciation and celebrate accomplishments. Acts as small as sending out a congratulatory email on a good week do not go unnoticed.
Ultimately, what matters most is that employees deliver quality work on-time. Leaders should be trusting, as long as requirements are being met. After all, one of the primary benefits of remote work is the feeling of empowerment it gives employees. No one likes a micro-manager, especially when you’re actually doing your job.
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AIM Consulting, an Addison Group company, is an award-winning industry leader in technology consulting and solutions delivery. AIM’s differentiation is our collaborative engagement model that provides cross-functional results. We work with clients, shoulder to shoulder, for one goal – their success. Founded in 2006, with offices in Seattle, Minneapolis, Denver, Houston, and Chicago, we are ranked among the fastest growing private companies and best companies to work for due to a long track record of success with our partners and consultants. Our long-term relationships with the best technology consulting talent allows us to deliver on expectations, execute on roadmaps, and drive modern technology initiatives.