Three-quarters of respondents to a recent survey by IWG believe flexible working has become the new normal, while 80 percent would choose a job that offered the ability to work remotely over one that didn’t. In response to this expectation, 83 percent of organizations have introduced a remote working policy in the past 10 years or plan to adopt one.
The State of Remote Work from Buffer found that 99 percent of respondents would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. Clearly, remote work isn’t going away.
Why are more and more workers seeking to work remotely? According to the Buffer report, 40 percent like a flexible schedule that allows them to walk the dog, go to appointments, and pick up their kids from school without taking time off. Thirty percent like being able to work from anywhere, whether at home, in a coffee shop, or while traveling. Fourteen percent want to spend more time with family. Of course, employers also benefit by increasing employee satisfaction and saving money on office space, power consumption, and office equipment and supplies.
The problem is, working remotely isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Many employees simply can’t work from home because their job requires them to be onsite. They need to work face-to-face with customers, or their work can only be performed at a certain physical location.
Other employees just don’t have the discipline to work remotely. distractions are everywhere, making it difficult to focus and stay motivated. On the other end of the spectrum, unplugging from work can be challenging when your computer and the resources you need are always right in front of you. Feelings of loneliness are common as many workers become disconnected and struggle to collaborate with coworkers.
When employee engagement suffers, productivity drops, projects are stalled, and responsiveness slows down, both internally and externally with customers. The first step to keeping remote employees engaged is to maintain a high level of accountability. Clear expectations, documented roles and responsibilities, defined goals, and regular meetings will keep remote and onsite workers functioning as a cohesive team. At the same time, managers need to resist the urge to overmanage and instead trust employees to complete tasks and projects. All communication should be directly relevant to the work at hand.
The right Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) platform is critical to accountability and productivity with a remote workforce. UCaaS allows workers to communicate and share files and workspaces in real time, reducing reliance on long email chains. Voice calls to business phones are automatically forwarded to mobile devices, and video applications allow you to organize a face-to-face meeting in a matter of seconds. All meeting participants have access to current, accurate files and data so they don’t have to worry if they have the latest version. With UCaaS, remote workers can follow the status of projects as easily as workers in the office, while tasks and update requests can be automated to improve efficiency. Finally, all activity can be measured and analyzed to gain insights that improve productivity and decision-making.
The ability to work remotely is has become a standard expectation. They key is to provide your remote workforce and your entire team with the necessary tools to enable seamless collaboration. Let IPC help you implement a UCaaS solution that balances employee demands for flexibility with business demands for accountability and productivity.