The Future of Work

Part 2: Remote Work

In the second part of our series on the future of work, we take a look at one of the more obvious consequences of the pandemic: remote work.

Remote work has become increasingly popular in the last five years with the increasing popularity of project management and communications tools such as Slack, Asana, Microsoft Teams, Google Suite, and more. Until recently, however, it was unclear how productivity levels of remote work compared to in-office work. The Coronavirus pandemic has made it clear that remote work is actually a significantly more productive platform. Here’s how you can guarantee that your company is able to come out with the same results.

Managing Accountability

Managing accountability during a pandemic means that, if you’re not already on one, you need to move your team to a portal that supports a remote environment. Executives and leaders need to make sure that every employee has the tools, resources, and solutions to be as productive, creative, and secure as possible working from any location and on any device.

For most organizations this means moving shared technologies to the cloud, and that migration in turn includes managing identity and network access for all users and provides them with access to the applications they need to do their jobs. If you’re moving your team to a remote portal, make sure it has the following features:

  • Productivity applications: Productivity applications enable employees to access resources and share files across the web, mobile devices, and desktops, store their content in the cloud by default. Email, collaboration applications, and content management solutions make it easy for employees to do real-time co-authoring and commenting on documents, which is extremely useful for a distributed workforce.
  • Meetings and collaboration: The ability to quickly connect with team members for chat, meetings, calls, and collaboration is critical to staying productive. Most meetings can be held online with video conferencing tools. There are even backgrounds available to block out children, pets, and cluttered offices. The ability to record meetings is essential so that everyone can access information given during meetings they missed.

Motivating teams remotely

Team members should all contribute and share the workload. This means that teams will need an established system for performance evaluations and rewards. Individual performance evaluations and reward systems are not consistent with high-performing teams, so the team portal needs to recognize team progress as much–if not more than–individual contribution. Here are some ways to motivate your team members remotely:

  • Work Design: The right job design can motivate an employee to perform and in the same way, the right work design for a group of employees creates motivation. Management should strive to give the team members work that offers autonomy, skill variety, task identity, and task significance. Just like with individuals, these features motivate the team and increase their effectiveness.
  • Process: This refers to the way the team operates, and includes things like common purpose, specific goals, team efficacy, and managed conflict levels. Having a common purpose provides direction and drives the commitment of the team members. Successful teams put a lot of time and effort into defining and agreeing on their common purpose and will use it as their guiding principle.

With all the benefits of remote work come a host of obstacles as well. Virtual distance, for example, is a disconnect that occurs when employees must heavily rely on smart, digital technologies to communicate. Reducing the virtual distance to create an environment where team members feel connected to one another and the organization can be done by creating a shared context, clarifying communication, and frequently taking into account organizational and department changes.

So how can you help your team thrive despite the distance? Modern social and engagement platforms available in your team’s portal can help make sure messages are heard, leadership is visible, and best practices are shared. Make sure to think inclusively by providing trainings in live events to educate employees to use applications and build communities that connect people across teams.

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