top of page

Remote Work: Finding the Balance in the New Normal

Over the last few years, where and how we work has shifted dramatically. Employees working from home for a few days and in the office for a few days is now common in hybrid-style work arrangements. And more and more businesses have realized the advantages of being completely remote.


Furthermore, people have been drawn to the flexibility of working remotely, with some even becoming digital nomads, traveling the world while working. The future of work appears to be extremely asynchronous, flexible, and distant.


However, each work arrangement presents its own set of benefits and challenges. Below are some examples:


Arrangement: Onsite


Benefits:

  • Best suited for certain roles

  • Employees work traditional office hours

  • Communication – simpler, face-to-face, idea exchange

  • Collaboration

  • Learning from team members; behavior modeling

  • Accessibility to support

  • Innovation

  • Bonding / Networking

  • Better delineation between professional and personal life

  • Visibility of company culture, mission, vision and values

  • Time management

  • Improved structure

  • Mental health

Challenges:

  • ​Perceived lack of flexibility

  • Interruptions

  • Increased meeting frequency

  • Stress (work pace, worry about family situations)

  • Potential increased absence associated with family responsibilities

  • Commute stressors

  • Work-life balance impact

Arrangement: Hybrid


Benefits:

  • ​Perceived flexibility

  • Benefits of both worlds – on-site and remote

  • Complete task at home with less interruptions

  • Opportunity to connect in person with co-workers and manager

  • Increased independence

  • Reduced absenteeism

  • Limited commuting

Challenges:

  • Insurance coverage for remote location

  • Risk to productivity; at home distractions and stressors

  • Potential cost of additional equipment and office supplies

  • Less workplace connection

  • Lack of appropriate and ergonomic office space

  • Data security

Arrangement: Remote


Benefits:

  • Perceived flexibility

  • Complete task at home with less interruptions

  • Increased independence

  • Reduced absenteeism

  • No commuting or commuting expenses

Challenges:

  • Insurance coverage for remote location

  • Limited workplace connection

  • Risk to productivity; at home distractions and stressors

  • Potential cost of additional equipment and office supplies

  • Lack of appropriate and ergonomic office space

  • Increased travel expenses for company meetings

  • No structure

  • 24/7 Office; unable to log off

  • Data security

Which arrangement is best for a company is determined by its type industry and type of its business, as well as the individual needs of employees. To support success in the new “normal”/work arrangement, companies should design a remote work policy to ensure alignment (company and employee), that employees are productive, engaged, and satisfied. Below are some tips and best practices for creating a remote work policy that works for your business and your team.


1. Define your goals and expectations

The first step to designing a remote work policy is to clarify company goals and expectations. Specifically:

  • What are the benefits and challenges of remote work for your business?

  • What are the outcomes and deliverables that you want to achieve?

  • How will you measure and evaluate performance and productivity?

  • How will you communicate and collaborate with your remote workers?

  • How will you support their well-being and development?

By answering these questions, a company can set clear and realistic expectations for both management and employees.


2. Choose your remote work model

Next, the company should choose the remote work model that suits its goals, expectations, and capabilities. Carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of each, as outlined above, depending on your business needs, culture, and resources.


3. Create your remote work guidelines

The third step is to create remote work guidelines. These are the rules and policies that govern how remote workers should conduct their work. They should cover topics such as working hours, availability, communication tools, security, privacy, equipment, expenses, and benefits. Remote work guidelines should be clear, consistent, and transparent, and they should align with company values and culture. Employee involvement in the creation of these guidelines will help to ensure alignment and acceptance.


4. Train and equip your remote workers

The fourth step is to train and equip remote workers. Remote work requires different skills and tools than office work, such as self-management, time management, communication, collaboration, and technology. Companies should provide remote workers with the necessary training and resources to help them adapt and succeed in their new work environment. This could include online courses, webinars, coaching, mentoring, or peer support. In addition, companies need to provide remote workers with the appropriate office equipment and software to ensure a productive, safe and ergonomic work environment.


5. Communicate and connect with your remote workers

The fifth step is to communicate and connect with remote workers. Remote work can be isolating and challenging, especially for those who are used to socializing and interacting with their colleagues in person. Companies should plan and maintain regular and frequent communication with remote workers, using various channels and formats, such as email, phone, video, chat, or social media. Create opportunities for connection and engagement, such as virtual meetings, events, games, or celebrations. Be sure to include remote workers in feedback and recognition to show appreciation and support for them.


6. Review and improve your remote work policy

The final step is one of continuous process improvement as it relates to the remote work policy. Remote work is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it may require adjustments and adaptations over time. Companies should monitor and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of their remote work policy, using data, surveys, interviews, or focus groups. Solicit feedback and suggestions from remote workers to identify their needs, challenges, and preferences.


Use this information to update and improve the remote work policy, to ensure that it meets company goals and expectations, and that it enhances company and employee productivity and performance.


In summary, taking time to carefully consider which arrangement is best for a company, its industry, its employee's needs and their work style and supporting that arrangement with a well-written (adaptable) policy will help to ensure its successful implementation.

14 views

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page