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Professionals routinely tell pollsters they value flexibility, above all else, from employers. Offering your staff the chance to work from anywhere certainly meets that requirement. However, going remote involves much more than arranging occasional Zoom happy hours or investing in a centralized project management platform.
To be sure, countless companies switched abruptly to virtual work in the spring of 2020. Their move was out of necessity. Two years later, your decision to go remote no doubt comes from a far different place. You owe it to your employees, customers and brand to construct a well-considered roadmap.
Related: 7 Steps to Managing a Virtual Workforce
Seek out advice
Starting from scratch is both inefficient and unnecessary. Instead, seek out their counsel, read the content they write, attend their keynote sessions and panel discussions.
Global employer of record, Remote, just released its 2022 Remote Influencer Report. It contains online contact info for dozens of virtual work experts categorized as Innovators, Enablers or Accelerators. Learning from their wins and losses will help you avoid preventable pitfalls to an optimized remote culture.
You can’t casually walk by cubbies for a visual check-in when you supervise remote workers. That’s when you have to ramp up your trust and not become a micromanager.
This is a generally frowned-upon leadership style, yet it’s quite tempting for remote supervisors to exhibit micromanagement tendencies. These can include unwillingness to delegate, frequently asking for progress reports and worrying about productivity. Some Harvard-published techniques to counteract micromanaging behaviors include taming perfectionism, setting clear expectations and letting workers decide how best to complete tasks.
Related: How to Step Back and Still Keep Your Team Accountable
Fuel corporate growth
Though it costs money to provide remote employees with office supply stipends or subscriptions to wellness apps, it’s a calculated investment and it might also be required.
At least four states require businesses to reimburse remote workers for some expenses. This may not be as costly as it sounds: Global Workplace Analytics estimates companies can pocket $11,000 annually per worker who’s out-of-office at least half the week. Paying to keep your virtual workers comfortable pales by comparison.
What attributes can indicate that someone might be well suited for the virtual work lifestyle? A good example might be someone who moved up the ladder at a previous job, earning more responsibility as time passes. If you notice what looks like a pattern of increasing authority on an applicant’s resume, you might have a self-starter in your candidate pool.
Another trait linked with this mindset is the willingness to problem solve. Remote workers need to think fast and make decisions, sometimes without any help. Humanly suggests the following unbiased, yet telling, inquiry to prospective employees: “Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.”
A little pragmatism, patience and planning go a long way when transitioning to a more remote workplace.
Related: Developing Team Efficiency in the Post-Pandemic IT Landscape