The coronavirus pandemic has seen the vast majority of businesses overturn their process across the board. Adapting was vital for survival, and this created uncertainty for business owners and employees alike. The world was suddenly a very different place.
One of the most drastic changes in business has been the need to implement remote working en masse. For many employees, this was the first time that they'd worked away from the office – and working from home brought a combination of challenges and unexpected successes.
Now, several months down the line, reports suggest that the foreseeable future will likely involve remote working for many. So, how can business owners ensure that this works for them and their employees? Let's take a look at the evidence behind the shift to long-term remote working, and how to maximise productivity and work culture with your remote employees.
The shifts in attitudes towards remote work have been captured by the bi-weekly LinkedIn Confidence Index. The survey's fascinating insights are regularly updated to reflect the high-paced nature of today's working world.
On 18th of May 2020, Emily Spaven – LinkedIn New's UK Editor – reported that:
“Two thirds (66%) of those surveyed … said they can be effective when working remotely, while 55% said they believe their industry as a whole can operate effectively with people working remotely.”
Alongside working remotely, survey respondents also expressed an interest in improving their skill sets through online learning. Almost half planned to spend more time studying online over the subsequent 2-week period. The most common reason for increasing online learning time was to advance the user's career path (48%), closely followed by wanting to learn something unrelated to their career (47%).
Of course, adapting to remote working is fraught with challenges. How do you ensure continued productivity, while also keeping morale high?
The technology you use could make or break the success of this venture. Ensuring your team are all up to speed on how to use the necessary tools is an essential starting point. As we discussed in an earlier blog post, this is where concise and informative video content can really come into its own as a way of reassuring employees who may be unused to remote working.
You should look to maximise the use of technology to help team members to feel connected. Could your quick email be a face-to-face video call instead? Could regular group calls be used to give team members a chance to raise concerns and connect with colleagues? As well as being a great way of bringing your team together, this is also a chance for managers to check in and ensure that everything is going smoothly.
Ultimately, effective communication is key when it comes to remote working. Your team needs to understand your expectations, and so clarity of messaging is more important than ever.
As the pandemic winds down and businesses explore their long-term options, remote working may well be something they wish to continue. But what if the traditional model of remote working is too restrictive for your business' needs?
Laurel Farrer writes about a “new normal” that builds upon the concept of remote working. By embracing the lessons learnt during the pandemic, she encourages businesses to think more creatively about what they want their workspaces to look like.
Her suggestions include improving access to work systems so that employers aren't dependent on a specific location – whether that's office, home, or otherwise – to access their work. She also proposes revolutionising how companies track productivity, using methods that don't wholly depend on on-site working.
Whatever industry you work in, now is the perfect time to think creatively about your business' future. As a content production company, for example, we've thought extensively about remote interviews, animation, and the many other methods available to us while traditional on-location filming is still a bit tricky.
Beyond the pandemic, remote working practices could offer a golden opportunity for businesses to diversify what they do and how they do it. Business owners everywhere are considering the monumental benefits that could be derived from the lessons learned in recent months. What lessons will you take forward?