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The future of work: Remote employees

We've seen the future, and it's remote. In fact, we already exist in this future, today, with more than 70% of Australian workers surveyed in 2018 reporting working remotely for at least some time each week.

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So what is fuelling this rise? First and foremost, technology is to thank for this shift in the workplace status quo. What was slow and clunky only a few years ago is now slick and easy to achieve, thanks to the very best video conferencing hardware and software, real-time messaging apps, screen sharing capability, and collaborative document platforms. We're now capable of things we never thought possible, including the deployment of large-scale remote teams.

Another reason for the change is a shift in conception. The best practice of a central office, with all of the key players working under one roof, endured for centuries. It's only in recent years that company bosses have begun to look elsewhere for inspiration when it comes to team structure and a more effective way of doing things, and have begun to consider that remote teams, deployed across a range of geographical locations, but still unified by technology, may in fact be a better way to go.

Finally, there are the results. Despite initial anxieties over the 'anarchy' of remote work, and the tumbling levels of productivity, efficiency, and, of course, profit, that would surely follow, these fears have not been shown to be legitimate. Instead, the opposite has been true. Businesses who have adopted the remote model - with care and consideration - have reaped enormous returns. These results include increases in productivity, reductions in the cost of operation, a more diverse and wide-ranging talent pool, and better rates of retention. To put it simply, the new working landscape is a brave and exciting one.

How can employers stay at the forefront of the remote wave?

Precision objective setting

Chances are you've already experimented with remote teams and with the concepts of remote work, but to truly harness the benefits in the future, you'll need to ensure that your goals and objectives are clearly set. 

Aim to focus on real, measurable results over a set timescale. You can then check against the timescale to make sure that your teams remain focused, motivated, and on track. Communicating these objectives to your team members - both on a long- and on a short-term basis - through regular meetings, will also be instrumental as you strive to meet and surpass your goals going forward.

A careful approach to measurement

As we touched upon in the last point, measurement is key. Goals need to be measurable, and results need to be visible as and when they're achieved. This means visible not only to you or to upper levels of management, but to all involved team members. This visibility is important to maintain levels of motivation in the longer term.

A careful approach to measurement is also vital. You need to make sure that you are focusing on the right metrics - metrics which really adhere to the goals you have set for your business. You also need to make sure that the set goals are realistic, and genuinely attainable. Repeatedly missing out on the goals you set for your remote teams will greatly reduce motivation and can cause serious issues.

Focused communication

Once you move beyond the confines of the traditional office space, communication is the fabric which will bring your remote teams together. This has to be your core focus moving forwards, and building the right communication infrastructure is critical as you move towards your remote goals.

This means having the best video conferencing hardware and software in place, as well as instant messaging and other solutions which give your teams the capability to work remotely, wherever they're found. However, this must be underpinned by strict discipline, and committed adherence to regular meetings and communication protocols.

Effective project management

Efficiency relies upon each member of the team understanding not only what is required of them, but also what their fellow team members are working on at any given time. This necessitates the deployment of project management software to give everyone the vantage point they need to get business-critical tasks done to a high standard.

Such platforms also demonstrate to team members how each task integrates with the broader aims of the business as a whole. This is a big part of building the right kind of business culture across the entire organisation, encompassing both in-house and remote teams.

Feedback loops and structures

Team members need to receive regular feedback and appraisals so that they know they're on track. This is all part of the underlying structure which needs to be put in place to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of a remote strategy.

Delivering this feedback in a careful and considered manner helps to reinforce team members when they are doing well, and gives them clear aims to work towards as they develop.

So, the future certainly is remote, but we cannot simply stumble blindly towards this future. We need to have a road-map in place for achieving our objectives and our desired outcomes in the field, and all of this must be supported with a keen focus on communication, and with the right kind of software and hardware.

Get in touch with the Express Virtual Meetings team today to learn more.

Last updated on February 14, 2019 15:56

Express Virtual Meetings

Written by Express Virtual Meetings

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