Does Remote Work Still Make Sense for Your Business?
April 5, 2023
At a glance
- Is remote work right for you? The best option for your business is based on your company’s particular situation. If you’ve lost talent you are struggling to replace, a remote approach may be best. If you don’t have and can’t provide the technology and tools to enable effective remote work, a hybrid or in-person only setting may be ideal.
- Strategy is key: Examine the situation from every angle and remember that there is no one right answer for everyone.
- Next steps: Aprio Talent Solutions has helped many companies find their right solution to create a thriving, profitable culture. Our talent experts can do the same for your business.
Schedule a consultation with Aprio Talent Solutions today.
The full story:
A cursory glance at articles from leading publications on the state of the American workforce reveals many ‘Great Rs’ ─ the Great Resignation, the Great Reshuffle, the Great Refusal and the Great Retirement ─ just to name a few.
In some places, quiet quitting has occurred, as workers and businesses grapple with what the workplace should look like and where work should occur in a post-pandemic economy.
Employees and employers fall on both sides of the spectrum
Many employees who shifted to a remote work environment during Covid want to continue working that way for the remainder of their careers.
Some made major life decisions that involved relocation based on an assumption that they would always be able to work from wherever they preferred. Others want to return to the office.
Likewise, some employers put the tools, technology and processes in place to shift to remote work when Covid hit and remain comfortable with the remote or hybrid culture they’ve embraced. Others want employees to come back ─ either because they have a sizeable investment in now-vacant real estate, or because they want to re-develop the cultural imprint that accompanies in-person work.
How should employers navigate this shifting dynamic and create an ideal work environment where both their employees and the business can thrive?
Let 3 factors guide your decision-making about remote work
As a relationship recruiting expert who helps business owners and executives build their ideal teams, I believe three factors should drive thinking, and action, around the future of remote work at any business.
#1: Assess your tools and technology stack
Some companies and industries are ideally suited for remote work. Others aren’t. But regardless of what industry you are in, the technology now exists to enable effective collaboration and production in many professional positions in an entirely remote setting.
It also allows your business to have resiliency if another crisis arises and the workforce cannot or should not be in the office.
You will need to give your employees the tools (i.e., computer, software, connectivity) they need to thrive. However, undergirding all of that, and perhaps even more critical, is trust.
Some employers struggle with trusting that employees are productive when they can’t see them at their desks.
But productivity can be measured and even enhanced in a remote setting. The key is not continuous monitoring, but rather to set clear goals and track your teams’ progress toward them. Trust your workers to meet or exceed expectations and step in with training, communication and corrective measures after they’ve shown they’re needed, not before.
Remember, you hired professionals because you believed them capable of the job; trust them to do that job until they give you reason to believe otherwise. That mindset was critical before the pandemic and it remains necessary now for an engaged, thriving culture, be it remote, hybrid or in-person.
#2: Assess your local talent pool
Are you finding it challenging to recruit the talent you need for open positions at your company? A remote workforce instantly expands your talent pool. You can look across time zones, regions and even countries for talent, resulting in more qualified candidates, and sometimes, labor savings.
If you can find talent all day long in your backyard, a hybrid or in-person setting may be sufficient.
#3: Assess your culture
Both employers and employees are finding that it can be harder to experience and reinforce culture over a video screen. Extroverts in particular are eager for in-person interaction. Salespeople want more interaction with customers and employees want more in-person collaboration with co-workers.
A hybrid workforce can present the most challenging situation to satisfying that desire. Employees who are in the office are sometimes exposed to opportunities that remote or hybrid workers aren’t simply because they’re not physically there.
Impromptu conversations happen. Responsibilities are given. Opportunities are seized.
As the leader of a company, you must look across your organization and assess how to get the most out of the talent you already have as well as the talent you aim to acquire. Make sure your approach helps everyone succeed.
Can some teams be entirely remote? That may enable effective collaboration as all individuals will be relying on the same technology and same circumstances to interact.
If you opt for a hybrid approach, ensure your office has workspaces that can comfortably accommodate variable schedules, collaborative work, and private or sensitive conversations. Additionally, verify that your employees continue to have everything they need to operate productively while working remotely.
If you’ve decided that a return to in-person work is the best option for your firm, consider incentives from additional compensation, bonuses, lunches and other benefits to give employees a positive reason to return. Such incentives may be more necessary in an inflationary environment to balance costs of daycare, commuting and other expenses employees will incur with a return to in-person work.
Finally, have a contingency plan in place to replace employees that may choose to work for another employer, or even a competitor, in order to maintain a remote environment.
The best option for your business is based on your particular situation. If you’ve lost talent you can’t replace, a remote approach may be best. If you don’t have and can’t provide the technology and tools to enable effective remote work, a hybrid or in-person setting may be ideal.
Lastly, if you have gone remote, and want to bring people back, think through the impact on your employees and think through what support and relief you can provide to employees looking at a ‘new normal.’
Examine the situation from every side and remember that there is no one solution for everyone. Aprio Talent Solutions has helped many employers just like you find the right solution to create a thriving, profitable culture, and we’d be honored to do the same for you.
Related Resources/Assets/Aprio.com articles/pages
3 Ways to Create a Successful Remote Work Environment
How to Navigate Staffing in an Inflationary Environment
Schedule a consultation with us today.
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.