Remote Work: Making It Work

By Kristen Harris

Remote work is becoming more common and popular with both companies and employees. We’ve hit a tipping point where remote work is becoming much more common and accepted in many industries. For more information on the benefits to both companies and employees, see our article Remote Work: Benefits for Companies and Employees.

Of course, whether remote work is even an option depends on the role requirements, including work performed and internet security concerns. If you’re considering it for your employees or want to propose it to your employer, it’s worth taking the time to make sure it will be successful in your particular situation. 

No matter how well it’s set up, working remotely is a different experience for both the employee and the company. It is not, and will never be, precisely the same as working side-by-side with someone in an office. Remote work arrangements require continuous conversation, collaboration, and assessment to ensure it’s working for all parties. 

Six tips for making Remote Work work:

  1. Flexible technology. Utilize technology that can be taken or accessed from anywhere. This includes shared cloud-based software and drives, laptop computers, and mobile phones. Be clear about what equipment and services the company is providing vs. what the employee needs to provide themselves.

  2. Make it safe. Employers need to ensure that their employees have a safe and comfortable working environment, whether it’s in an office or a remote location. Generally, it’s up to the remote worker to provide their desk, chair, etc. However, as the employer, you should discuss appropriate ergonomics for their workspace set up to avoid workplace injuries, no matter where that work is happening.

  3. Communicate, communicate, communicate. It’s important to communicate as much as, if not more, than you do when in the same office. You might use different tools for communication; be clear on the expectations for usage and response time with each. For example, chat can be useful for quick or urgent questions (similar to “popping by” someone’s desk). A tool like Slack is excellent for general announcements and information relevant to the whole team or group. It can also be a place to share fun or personal tidbits, similar to the water cooler/coffee maker/lunch room chat that takes place in an office. Email works best for sharing specific and more lengthy information. And, when you need to discuss an issue, solve a problem, or brainstorm set up a phone or video call to have a live conversation. 

  4. Keep a meeting cadence. Definitely have scheduled meetings and respect that schedule just as you would in the office. Meetings are still important and should feel no different (except that someone is on the computer instead of in-person).

  5. Use video. Video call technology has helped to make remote work more collaborative and productive. With video, you can see body language and facial expression, and it feels more like an in-person conversation than a phone. 

  6. Get together. Make time to get together in-person periodically. Nothing beats getting to know your co-workers and having shared experiences. If people can’t travel or it’s otherwise impossible to bring them together physically, then schedule video call “get-togethers” to help people make those personal connections. 

Curious about remote work? Looking for creative talent that may not be available in your local area? Feel free to reach out, we’re here to help.