3 Ways to Create a Successful Remote Work Environment
April 15, 2022
At a glance
- Remote work is here to stay: Businesses must take note of remote work’s influence on the market to continue attracting and retaining talented employees.
- Strategy is key: Adopting a remote work policy isn’t just a once-and-done type of decision. Businesses must look internally to ensure they offer the cultural, communication and technology benefits remote employees need to feel connected to the broader organization.
- Next steps: Aprio Talent Solutions is here to help position your business to succeed in today’s modern hiring market.
Schedule a consultation with Aprio today!
The full story:
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered many transformations and at least one of them is here to stay: remote work.
Remote work has provided the flexibility and convenience that many employees have long desired. That means employers who don’t offer these arrangements as an option in their hiring packages are facing a detrimental and potentially costly disadvantage.
What employees are saying
A recent study from Prudential sheds interesting light on the impact of remote work on employees and on the current job market. The survey found that 87% of employees who worked remotely during the pandemic want the ability to continue doing so moving forward. What’s more, nearly 50% of employees said that if their employers don’t extend them the option to work remotely, they will quit to work for a different company that does.
But at the same time, employees are concerned about their connection to company culture and other team members while working from home. Many of Prudential’s survey respondents reported that although they have become used to communicating with employees, sharing knowledge and engaging in training while working remotely, they have found socializing with colleagues virtually to be somewhat of a challenge.
So, what’s the solution? How can employers meet their employees’ needs and desire to work remotely, while also providing them with opportunities for social connection and camaraderie? It starts with thinking outside of the box and building your own blueprint for what remote work looks like at your company. The goal is to cultivate a structure that gives employees the most optimal and flexible remote work experience, while simultaneously creating a compelling culture that knows no bounds and works in both physical and virtual settings.
1. Start by re-evaluating your existing organizational culture
If you are going to adopt a remote work policy, in addition to welcoming employees back into the office, then you need to instill a culture that isn’t tied to a physical space. For example, if you pivoted to hosting virtual all-hands staff meetings during the pandemic, make sure that you preserve the option to join virtually if you plan to host meetings in the office instead.
Likewise, with company-wide social events, plan gatherings that are inclusive and cognizant of your remote workforce. During the pandemic, some companies hosted virtual cooking classes, book clubs, happy hours and other activities to engage their employees in social camaraderie. You can continue hosting these types of events for employees who work both remotely and in person. This goes for dual virtual and in-person employee training sessions, as well.
The point is that no matter how you decide to reinforce your company culture, it’s important to be inclusive of all of your employees — regardless of their work arrangement — in order for remote work to be sustainable.
2. Invest in powerful communication and productivity tools
This goes far beyond introducing communications platforms like Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business, or video-conferencing software like Zoom. In order for your remote work arrangements to be successful, your company needs to make a significant investment in technology.
If you employ remote finance employees, you need to invest in cloud-based ERP and accounting systems versus on-premises systems, so that your remote employees can easily access the tools they need to do their jobs appropriately from any location. The same goes for your document management and storage systems. Cloud-based platforms like Box or OneDrive allow all of your employees to upload, download and access the same documents no matter where they are.
In terms of productivity, many companies that have pivoted to remote work invest in platforms that encourage online project management and collaboration. Remote and in-person employees can access these systems and monitor projects, adjust deadlines and communicate about needs in one, consolidated space. These platforms are also beneficial for managers, who can keep a pulse on progress and check on the status to ensure projects stay on track.
3. Optimize your employee resources
Outside of improving the processes and tools employees use to do their jobs, it’s also important to ensure your remote workers have full access to employee resources regardless of location, including human resources (HR) systems, payroll and benefits. For instance, your remote workers should be set up to request benefit changes or file HR queries in a safe, secure manner.
If your employees work in finance or deal with customer billing information, they also need access to the appropriate platforms necessary to receive or request payments electronically or systems that allow for the electronic signing of documents, among other resources.
Furthermore, put processes in place to appropriately onboard new employees remotely, including setting up remote workstations. Prepare your internal IT team to provide technical assistance if remote workers experience any issues with their equipment. Employee assistance processes and procedures should ideally run seamlessly regardless of whether your team members work in a physical office setting or remotely.
The bottom line
Remember that you also need to provide your employees with the mental and emotional support they need to do their jobs efficiently and with pride. During the pandemic, many companies noted that their remote employees were more prone to burnout due to a lack of separation between work and home life. It’s essential to invest in your employees’ well-being to improve your chances of retaining (and attracting) the most capable and passionate people for the job.
If you need help refining your talent strategy, be sure to contact Aprio Talent Solutions. We routinely help businesses recruit top finance, accounting and IT talent across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Schedule a consultation with us today.
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About the Author
I provide advisory and digital transformation and IT solutions to businesses of all sizes — from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. I advise C-level executives and key business decision-makers, as well as technology, sales and marketing professionals. My solutions are relevant to any industry, but I primarily focus on the healthcare, financial services, consumer goods, manufacturing and retail sectors.