By Debbie Millin
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The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the global work landscape – likely in a permanent way. For us here at Globalization Partners, our number-one concern was the health and safety of our employees. When the pandemic started, we made the swift decision to close our offices across the globe and have our employees work safely from home. In many cases, we made this decision before government-based mandates took effect.
Here is some first-hand insight into how we transitioned our global workforce into a remote team, and how we continue to effectively work at home.
Three Ways We Went Remote Fast
- Employee safety first. We made sure all our employees were set up to work remotely so they could stay home and be safe.
- Proactive customer outreach. We asked every one of our customers what they needed and how we could help.
- Enhanced HR Services. We quickly put together a free offering for eligible customers and prospects looking to hire talent during or shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic. Services include virtual interviews, salary benchmarking, country expertise and more.
The Value of Remote Working
While COVID-19 will continue to impact the way we work for the foreseeable future, there are benefits to be had from establishing a remote-capable workforce.
First, according to a recent survey, employees working from home are often more productive than those that commute to an office every day.
Second, real talent is everywhere, so a remote workforce means greater access to an expanded pool of employees.
Finally, a remote workforce enables you to sell into new markets, expand your global footprint and increases your ability to diversify. Diverse companies are significantly better positioned to capture new markets, while a diverse management team can boost revenue by 19%.
Overcoming Common Challenges
Adapting existing structures, technology tools and processes to a remote environment can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be a roadblock to efficiency.
- Access to technology impacts communication. According to our 2020 Global Employee Survey, global teams are struggling to establish effective communication methods. For example, email is the “top-used” communication tool, but only 31% of respondents rate it as effective. Establish what your communication tools are and ensure that everyone across the globe has the appropriate training and access – that also means being sure each employee has the right communications infrastructure in their location to support those tools.
- Consistent process matters. While in-person meetings and travel to company headquarters rank as the most effective methods of communication, there are alternative approaches that can be used effectively. At Globalization Partners, we encourage regular team meetings and one-on-one meetings between managers and direct reports. This process is even more important to maintain when managing a remote team.
- People absorb information differently. We keep our employees informed in a variety of ways. First and foremost, we have a video-first rule at Globalization Partners, which helps us to form more human connections with our global colleagues. Next, we hold regular all-hands meetings across all time zones, and have increased that frequency during the pandemic. We communicate with one another through email but also through instant messaging via Slack, where we share information about our work and have also created Slack Channels for our team to use as virtual gathering spots. Finally, we share a weekly internal podcast called “The Download” where we share company and department updates, as well as spotlight an employee from around the world.
Tips to Encourage Productivity
When COVID-19 hit, many global teams suddenly became physically dispersed. Making sure employees feel connected and included are key to maintaining productivity.
You can start by allowing employees to manage their time in a way that is most effective for them. Everyone’s schedule is going to be different, so allowing employees to structure their own time will go a long way toward increased productivity. You should schedule your regular meetings, but also encourage your team to block off time to think and work – turn off notifications during that time to avoid distraction.
Finally, encourage employees to not just sit as their desk for eight straight hours – get up and move! A more active workplace and mindset – even while remote – can help improve employee productivity and motivation throughout the day.
Ready to learn more about how to empower your remote team? Listen to the webinar, Preparing to Meet the Challenges of a Diverse, Distributed Team.
Globalization Partners simplifies international business by enabling organizations to quickly expand into new countries without setting up branch offices or subsidiaries. You find the talent, and we put your team member on our locally compliant payroll.
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