The Covid pandemic heightened the shift towards remote work, with US figures indicating that before it, 17% percent of employees worked from home 5 days or more per week, and during and after, this has increased to 44%.
For some it was seen as an inconvenience at first, but employers and employees have now accepted the advantages of remote work, including lower overheads and greater flexibility for employees, especially those with families.
There may never be a return to full on-site employment, which means that management needs to rethink its attitude to hiring and managing remote employees to build a strong remote company.
Remote teams and Personnel issues
Some people enjoy the independence of working out of office and do not miss the daily interaction but as much as 60% of the workforce does miss the ability to chat with co-workers on an informal basis and to interact with management on a face-to-face level.
Going forward, it may be necessary to seek out individuals who are comfortable with remote work and who are self-motivated.
Research has indicated that despite the ability to have flexible work hours, many employees are working longer than before and may be unable to switch off.
Tracking the hours worked, attendance, and other basic measures of productivity can reveal problems, and discussions can be held with employees to mitigate any stress.
Perhaps a home office is not possible or practical and employees may consider working from shared office space near to home or a local coworking space.
If your organisation is stretched across different time zones, a system of overlapping times should be set up for communicating in different time zones.
Care must be taken to allow for smaller offices to schedule calls and meetings at a convenient time for them, rather than always scheduling during the head office’s time zone.
IT, security and finance
The rise of interactive software conferencing tools has made it possible for meetings to be conducted virtually. However, it must be said that many employees find use of these an added strain.
Management should look for a mix of virtual meetings, emails and online calls, so that all feel as if they are still part of the organisation.
Team building is critical with remote or hybrid teams and review of processes for this should be regularly reviewed, perhaps on a quarterly basis.
Project management software allows management to assign specific tasks with due dates for individual workers and create workspaces for different teams where group projects can be assigned and remote workers can see what is needed in the days, weeks or months to come.
Now that remote employees are using their own computer hardware and internet connections, the need to review security policies and procedures is greater than ever.
One simple way to protect the organisation is to use a password manager that encrypts and stores passwords online, creating a layer of protection for sensitive information.
Solid financial systems that enable organisations to pay employees across the country of the globe are essential.
Holdups because of forex rules or anti-money laundering requirements are another stress on employees that are far from the head office.
Velvet understands that the way people work is changing and evolving worldwide, and that organisations need a payment system that will change and adapt with them.
Benefits of a remote business
There are benefits to remote business for both employers and employees.
Employers gain access to a wider talent pool, because remote employees can be sourced from the best candidates across the world.
There are also cost savings. There is no need for large head offices, with the concomitant costs of furniture, rents and utilities. Even if employees require some assistance, this will be well below the costs of corporate suites.
Employees have the flexibility to work at the times when they are the most productive, which means greater production for the organisation.
Digitisation has made the world closer and less remote, so though physically companies may span the globe, it is now possible to conduct business everywhere as if everyone was nearby.
By using professional partners that enhance the quality of communication and service, remote businesses will thrive in the new economy.