December 23, 2020. Remote work is here to stay for the time being with 33% of the US and approximately 50% of the UK workforce currently working at a distance. Although 77% of remote workers state they are more productive outside the company’s office, there are several other aspects to consider when ensuring that at-home culture is beneficial for both employers and employees: sense of team spirit, convenient communication tools, productive workspace at home and team-building strategies.
Taking into consideration that 21.3% of remote workers indicate better focus, productivity, and time management when working at home, companies may want to think about proper incentives for the employees to adapt their home spaces for work. For instance, The Remote Company, a network of remote-first tech companies, provides a set budget to each member of the team to buy ergonomic chairs, work desks, accessories, and to set up their workplace so it would yield the most productivity.
“Our team at The Remote Company, which has had over 10 years of distance work experience, believes that by allocating a budget for home office upgrades, companies might help their team members feel comfortable, concentrated, and productive when working outside the normal workspace,” Ilma Nausėdaitė, COO at The Remote Company, says.
As face-to-face communication is replaced by online platforms, companies operating on a remote work model may use different tools on a regular basis to keep the entire team on the same page: for instance, The Remote Company uses Slack for real-time messaging purposes, team questions, and daily reminders, Zoom for video meetings, virtual workations, Notion for sharing documents and guidelines, Google Drive for files and storage, and others. These platforms make it easier for various businesses to manage their workload within a distributed team and allow everyone to collaborate on the same projects.
“Constant communication is a key to maintaining high morale within the team. Not only does it help to ensure that everyone is on the same page in terms of work, people find it is easier to express their mental state through writing than in person. We recommend companies also asking their employees to reserve time periods when they could only focus on the task at hand. This strategy boosts productivity without compromising the interpersonal relationships,” I. Nausėdaitė adds.
After moving all work online, businesses should also think about ways to establish normal routine interactions among the colleagues. To do that, companies are advised to carry on with face-to-face conversations through video calls or offer online platforms where the team members could engage in informal discussions at the same time creating stronger bonds with each other.
While mass events are postponed at the moment, companies may also want to incorporate virtual workations into creating a welcoming remote work culture. For instance, The Remote Company has already organised two staycations during the quarantine to continue with its team-bonding tradition through activities such as Pecha Kucha presentations, movie and game nights, escape rooms, online parties, etc.
As the example of the remote-first company shows, encouraging daily communication, comfortable at-home workspaces, as well as a positive mindset of the team are the key aspects to a productive and team-friendly remote work culture.