According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 37 percent of jobs can be performed completely remotely. Now, 63 percent of companies are projected to shift to remote work in the near future. With the popularity of out-of-office work steadily increasing, it’s no wonder so many companies are transitioning to remote work models.
While moving to remote work has resulted in positive outcomes for companies globally, more goes into successfully implementing this change than sending employees out of the office. The work-from-home transition requires extensive preparation, calling for the creation of remote work policies, employee retention strategies, training programs, and more.
Making the shift to remote work doesn’t have to be challenging. Through this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn how to rapidly adapt your company to remote working conditions.
Why shift to remote working now?
The start of the new decade prompted an unprecedented shift in how companies work, and recent years have proved particularly valuable for furthering the transition to remote work. In 2020, approximately 71 percent of employees worked from home. Through this quick transition, companies and their employees have learned what works and what doesn’t in the world of remote working.
While “remote work” is widely associated with working from home, it extends beyond this. Studies have shown that 22 percent of workers relocated to different cities while working for the same company, while 17 percent have moved or plan to move to a different country to work for the same organization. Shifting to remote work enables companies to hire employees across the country and even the world.
Other insights companies have gained from the recent transition to remote work include views of the office environment. Remote work statistics state that 65 percent of workers said they did not require an office environment to remain productive — quite the contrary. Seventy-five percent of individuals who work from home stated they do so because there are fewer distractions than in the office.
The advantages of shifting to remote work
Whether you’re pursuing a work-from-home transition as a choice or necessity, there are many aspects to celebrate. Moving to remote work has proven beneficial for both employers and their workers, resulting in greater outcomes for companies as a whole.
1. Work-life balance
When asked what aspects of their jobs contribute to a positive work experience, 50 percent of remote workers listed good work-life balance as a primary factor.
Workers who experience good work-life balance exhibit greater health and wellness, higher job satisfaction, greater organizational skills, better goal achievements, and improved family happiness. This means better work performance, reduced turnover, and fewer instances of tardiness and absences for employers.
Studies show that up to 40 percent of remote workers are more productive than those in the office. This increased productivity is due to fewer distractions, greater comfort, and zero commute-related stress. Higher productivity rates result in greater output for companies, resulting in increased economic production for the same amount of work.
3. Office space
Due to increases in remote work, executives are likely to require less office space in the coming years and could consolidate office space into one premier business location. These reduced real estate expenses can save organizations an average of USD 11,000 per half-time commuter annually.
4. Access to talent
Individuals seek perks like work-life balance, job satisfaction, and flexibility when searching for the ideal career. Because working from home has proven to deliver these benefits, companies that offer remote working opportunities are more likely to capture and retain top talent over those that don’t.
Preparing for the challenges of remote work
Though companies transitioning to remote work can expect to see many advantages, they likely won’t be without challenges. While experiencing obstacles at the start of a considerable change is completely normal, it’s important to know what potential roadblocks to look out for before pursuing work-from-home opportunities.
Some of the most common challenges of shifting to remote work include:
- Employer trust: Because remote work takes away the element of face-to-face interaction, some supervisors worry employees won’t work as hard as they would in the office.
- Information management: Some remote workers experience difficulty locating information and accessing answers to their questions outside the office.
- Communication: It’s common for remote employees to struggle to communicate with managers and coworkers when working from home. Some workers even feel their remote managers do not understand their needs or deliver the support or help necessary to get the job done.
- Employee disengagement: It can be easy for employees to experience distractions at home that they wouldn’t in the workplace, such as home and family demands. These interruptions can cause individuals to become disengaged with their work.
- Geographic differences: One of the biggest remote work challenges for global companies is working across different time zones. Having employees located internationally can make scheduling and collaboration more difficult.
The importance of a remote work policy
A remote work policy is a set of employee guidelines designed to facilitate the work-from-home process to promote better productivity and engagement. A detailed and straightforward remote work policy gives workers a clearer understanding of your company’s expectations for working from home while streamlining communication, improving the onboarding process, and even attracting top talent.
Every remote work policy should include the following information for the best results:
1. Performance expectations
It’s essential your employees know what you expect from them in terms of their performance, productivity, and quality of work. When individuals know how you plan to measure results moving forward, they’re more likely to adhere to performance expectations.
You can supplement your employees’ understanding of the company policy by providing them with the tools and resources they’ll need to succeed, including information on work hours and output requirements.
2. Communication clarity
Because remote work can blur the lines of communication, your policy should specify how employees can communicate with one another for the best results. Describe how meetings will take place remotely and which platforms they’ll use to participate.
You can also explain any communication tools available to your employees and provide an emergency form of communication in case of power outages and technical difficulties.
3. Equipment usage
Your remote work policy should delve into the types of equipment your company uses, which devices are required for what role, and whether you’ll provide these tools to employees. If your workers have to buy the equipment themselves, will your company refund them for the purchases?
Be sure also to explain how to use each type of equipment and include any resources that may aid in their understanding.
4. Employee rights
Your employees should be informed about their rights when working for your company remotely. For example, your remote work policy should detail what time employees must log in for work, how many meal break hours they’re allotted, and how to request days off. Outlining these rights should eliminate confusion and prevent misunderstandings.
5. Payroll management
Payroll will likely be one of the primary aspects of the job your employees will wonder about. Your remote work policy should explain who handles payroll — whether your company or an Employer of Record (EOR) — frequency of payment and payment amount. You can also include information on who to contact if workers have questions regarding payroll.
How to complete the transition to remote work
Before your company can completely shift to remote work, there are steps you’ll need to take to ensure a successful transition.
1. Notify your employees
Before moving to remote work, the first thing you should do is notify your employees that the change is happening. Let them know when the switch will occur and how they can prepare for it. Define whether your workers will be fully remote or if they’ll have opportunities to work both in and out of the office and explain how either situation will work.
Give your employees the chance to ask any questions they have about the new structure. Provide access to the new remote work policy and other resources they’ll need to facilitate the transition.
2. Train your remote employees on security measures
With the switch to remote work comes an even greater need for data security. Minimize risks by teaching your employees what measures to take when working from home and how to identify and mitigate cyberthreats.
Consider implementing the following subjects into your cybersecurity training for remote workers:
- Security breaches: You can arm your employees against security breaches by teaching them to recognize threats, such as malware, phishing, and password attacks and what to do when they encounter a security breach.
- GDPR compliance: Your company must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a standard requiring organizations operating in the European Union to adopt new policies, procedures, and practices to maintain personal data security, transparency, and accountability.
- Two-factor authentication: Train employees to use two-factor authentication (2FA), an extra layer of security verifying that the person trying to access an online account is who they say they are by requiring them to provide two pieces of identifying information.
- Virtual private networks: Virtual private networks (VPNs) generate an encrypted Internet connection between a device and a network that secures sensitive data for safe transfer. Teach your employees to set up and use a VPN to protect company information.
- Secure cloud storage: Another way remote workers can keep data secure is by using cloud storage on their work devices.
3. Keep technology up to date
A key aspect of remote work success is technology efficiency. To ensure employees won’t experience technological issues on the job, verify you’re providing them with the most up-to-date technologies, such as:
- Cloud-based tools
- Business applications
- Video conferencing programs
- Project management tools
- Data backup and recovery solutions
- Virtual onboarding programs
- Time-tracking software
4. Communication openly and effectively
When companies and their employees can communicate successfully, you can better support your team while maintaining a positive corporate culture. Facilitate effective remote communication by scheduling periodic virtual check-ins with your employees to connect with them individually about how their experience is going. It’s also beneficial to organize regular group meetings to update workers on what’s happening in the company on an organizational level.
To ensure workers don’t feel isolated at home, you may even want to organize virtual company-wide activities to keep employees connected with one another.
5. Be the best leader you can be
When transitioning your company to remote work, it’s vital you become a leader for your team. No matter how many tools, policies, and resources you provide employees, you can’t foster a positive remote work environment without delivering the support and leadership they need to succeed. Just a little bit of empathy and optimism goes a long way in helping workers feel valued and validated.
You can show your team you care about what they think by sending out a survey asking employees questions about how they’re feeling in their day-to-day, what challenges they’re facing, and what you can do to make their remote work experiences better.
Offering perks to remote workers
To ensure that your move to remote work is successful in the long term, try implementing strategies for employee retention. When you provide perks to your remote workers, you create a beneficial working relationship between management and employees. Retaining workers by investing time and resources into them leads to reduced expenses, better collaboration, increased productivity, and competitive gains.
Some of the many benefits you can reward your employees to boost retention include:
- Create a flexible environment: Many individuals value flexibility in their work schedules, with 72 percent of employees stating they would consider leaving their jobs if their current one didn’t provide schedule flexibility.
- Offer competitive benefits: Companies that provide competitive compensation to their employees are more likely to retain them in the long term. Types of benefits you can offer include employee discounts, paid time off, health care, and retirement savings.
- Send gifts: Take additional steps to demonstrate your appreciation for your employees by occasionally sending gifts to their homes, such as gift cards, food, flowers, or gift baskets.
- Provide a remote setup stipend: When employees work from home, they don’t have the luxury of having office resources at their disposal, like desks, chairs, WiFi, and other office supplies. Instead of requiring them to pay for these materials themselves, provide them with a stipend they can use to purchase these essentials for their at-home work environment.
- Offer career development programs: Workers are more likely to stay with a company that invests in their career development with programs like training seminars, networking events, mentoring, and special projects. These types of opportunities keep employees feeling motivated and looking forward to growth and development.
Transition to remote work with Globalization Partners
Begin shifting to remote work by building your remote team with Globalization Partners. We are a global employment platform dedicated to helping companies hire and onboard new team members across the world. All you have to do is find your ideal candidates, and we’ll handle everything from payroll and benefits to tax filings and compliance. We take on the responsibility while your employees work for you.