If you go back a few months, just when the pandemic had struck, a remote workforce was seen as a temporary measure. For most organizations, it was only a matter of a few weeks before they could resume in-person operations. However, almost four months down the line, remote work is becoming the natural course for quite a few organizations. While initially the struggle was real with lack of right resources, expertise, culture, among other constraints, organizations are now seeing the value in transitioning to a remote workforce.
Transitioning to remote workforce: Measures for the long term
As more and more organizations are pacing towards a full time remote workforce, there are undoubtedly a few measures to take into consideration for a smooth transition:
- Invest in premium tools: The biggest anticipated challenge for a remote workforce is collaboration and communication. While organizations were able to make shift arrangements for a temporary period, transition to a completely remote workforce will require investment in premium tools like Trello, Asana, among others. It is important to do a proper cost-benefit analysis of productivity and progress tools available in the market and choose those that best compliment your workforce. At the same time, seek customization to add to their effectiveness and efficiency.
- Explore coaching and mentoring platforms: Transitioning to remote work is equally difficult for employees as for the management, especially for those who have worked out of cabins their entire life. Therefore, identification and collaboration with virtual coaching and mentoring platforms is important to help employees transition to full time remote work. Such platforms like SuperBeings can assist employees with subtle behavioral nudges to change their way of work towards a productive remote workforce.
- Schedule breaks: This sudden shift to remote work left most employees wondering when their work day starts and ends. Invariably, work has been creeping in at all times. While a temporary overflowing of work might be understood by some, in the longer run, it will turn to burnout. Therefore, if you are transitioning to a remote workforce, structure breaks into the daily schedule to prevent burnout by mid week. Additionally, let off days be sacrosanct which means no work on weekends.
- Set clear goals and expectations: Since this transition to a full-time remote workforce is a new experiment for everybody, it is important to avoid any chance of misunderstanding. Thus, managers and business leaders need to be clear and crisp in what are the expected outcomes and how they will contribute to the long term organizational vision. Over communication might be the key here. The objective is to ensure that employees exactly understand what is expected of them.
- Host virtual events to fight loneliness: Transitioning to a remote workforce can mean a dip in socializing for some employees. This might lead to a feeling of loneliness. Fortunately, organizations can alternate their off-sites and team celebrations to virtual events. If you look around, there are numerous quality entertainers offering corporate gigs, albeit online.
- Changes at the policy level: Finally, transition to a remote workforce will require changes and adaptations at the policy level. These would range from decisions on defining work hours or simply view employee performance based on productivity. At the same time, changes in terms of days off as well as leave policy will go significant changes. Communication policies might also undergo a change. Additionally, policies on ‘work time’ behavior, virtually will have to be set to ensure consistency in culture and decorum.
Shift priorities for a smooth transition
Transitioning to a remote workforce will enable organizations to hire resources right for the job which are location agnostic. Additionally, it would allow them to invest in logistical support over real estate, which employees will greatly value. Invariably, technology will be a great enabler in helping organizations take this leap to a remote workforce, creating a new future of work for all.