Remote work is sweeping the nation. When COVID-19 forced millions of employees to figure out how to perform their jobs from home, many companies found that it can in fact be done.
Those in management positions now need to help employees who work from home, not just those in the office. To do this, you should be implementing work-from-home best practices as they arise. Here’s how you can:
1. Survey Your Employees
No one will be keeping up with the state of remote work more than employees themselves. They’ll look for the best ways to do their job from home and read up on changes that could affect them. Use their input to your advantage.
Regularly survey your remote workers about their employment experience. Is communication holding up? Are you allowing them enough flexibility? Giving them the opportunity to share their thoughts will bring much information to light regarding your remote work practices.
Be sure to survey any freelancers you work with. The rise of freelance job positions has given companies ample opportunities to contract remote workers for different niche tasks. Asking freelancers about their experience will help you learn how to work better with them in the future.
2. Read Content From Thought Leaders
Industry leaders will be dissecting the remote work phenomenon like brain surgeons. They’ll discuss every detail to implement in their own businesses and push out content under their brand to help others. Their thinking on the subject will be a valuable resource for you and your remote team.
Start by following thought leaders on social media. If you’re unfamiliar with the leaders in your industry, a LinkedIn search will direct you to some in no time. Thought leaders use social media to spread their ideas and promote articles they write in respected publications like Forbes, Inc., and Entrepreneur.
Another growing trend is podcasts. Podcast hosts cover a vast range of topics, with no shortage of episodes exploring issues related to working from home. Turn a couple on during your next commute and absorb the insights they provide.
3. Network With Other Professionals
You might not have the privilege of knowing any of your industry’s thought leaders personally. No worries; the next best thing is to network with other professionals in your area or personal circle. Their firsthand experiences can be just as valuable, if not more so.
The best way to get value out of networking is by preparing questions beforehand. Prior to meeting up with a contact or drafting an email, thoroughly consider what you want to ask. Are you struggling to motivate remote workers throughout the week? Are your project handoffs going poorly? Use your networking circle to brainstorm solutions.
A great networking opportunity can be found in seminars and workshops. These events will discuss trends such as remote work and bring you together with local leaders who may have the answers you seek.
4. Be Present on Social Media
On social media, trends spread faster than spilled beer on a pub table. If you’re active on social media, you’ll catch on to these trends the second they show up. You’ll see the latest best practices emerge as well as the worst practices that are making the headlines. Be sure to avoid the latter.
Being present on social doesn’t mean you have to post all the time, but it does help. Online connections and followers can share links, articles, and insight with you on remote work topics. They’ll provide an extra set of eyes scouring the ever-changing internet landscape.
5. Keep Tabs on Technology
Where remote work goes, technology will follow. One of the best remote work practices, after all, is the implementation of appropriate technology. The right messaging, project management, and workflow software will enable communication and increase efficiency, the staples of an effective remote team.
Engaging in constant research about tech developments can be exhausting. Instead, you can join online tech forums or sign up for newsletters that will feed you the information you require. This way, you can narrow your focus to technology that impacts remote work directly without getting distracted by systems and solutions you don’t need.
6. Try Something New
Who says you can’t be the one to discover the next best practice for remote work? Use evolving work conditions as an opportunity to experiment with some new techniques. Some will stick, while you’ll find that others won’t work at all.
Try some new ways to hold meetings, for example. Remote teams are still trying to figure out the best ways to make virtual meetings work. Test different meeting frequencies and times, ice breakers, and agenda formats until you find the perfect formula for your team.
7. Keep an Eye on Competitors
Your competitors will be just as diligent at ferreting out best practices as you will. Keeping tabs on the moves they make will give you valuable insight into what you can do to empower your own remote teams.
Perhaps your biggest local competitor recently made the decision to allow hybrid work. Through one of their hiring campaigns, you learn that they’re letting employees switch between the office and home at will. Take note of the momentum the organization gains, or loses, after this move.
Are their employees raving about the change on social media? Is the local business press praising the move? If the approach appears to be working phenomenally for them, it might be something to consider yourself.
8. Look at the Data
As you test and implement new remote work practices, analyze any data you’re able to gather. While qualitative employee feedback is helpful, numbers will be more effective at telling you what works and what doesn’t.
For example, let’s say you decide everyone on your remote team must be available online from 2 to 4 p.m. local time. You’ve seen bottlenecks crop up, and you want to ensure that vital communication gets through regardless of time zones and personal schedules.
Now, look at what the data tells you about the change. Are you seeing increases in revenue? Are projects being completed at a faster clip? If they are, that’s a sign that the new practice is working.
Keep in mind that some practices will work better for other teams than they will for yours. When considering different options, keep your employees in mind. Think about what will benefit them the most, and you’ll more easily find the best practices for remote work.