In any business where teams normally work closely, having to adapt to remote working can seem a scary prospect and raise doubts about employee productivity and what they can realistically achieve without being face-to-face. But it needn't be a concern.
The best tools and techniques for working out of office have been well and truly field-tested over the last few months due to COVID-19; and proven locally and across multiple time zones by businesses for whom remote and mobile working is business-as-usual.
Remote working can improve productivity
If you're concerned about a drop in business productivity, you’ll be relieved to learn that a recent study published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics revealed that working from home doesn't mean 'shirking from home'. The study compared employees working from home (WFH) with control groups in offices and found the WFH employees not only performed better, but also worked longer and had fewer breaks and sick days.
In fact, productivity tops the list of benefits of remote work for companies according to a recent Forbes report, which cited multiple surveys showing:
- Productivity improved 35-40 per cent
- Performance quality improved, with 40 per cent fewer mistakes
- Engagement became stronger, with 41 per cent lower absenteeism
- Retention also improved, with 12 per cent less turnover for employees with remote work agreements
- Profitability grew 21 per cent per year
But, is your team empowered to collaborate remotely?
In teams where a lot of collaborative work is part of achieving great results, ensuring the right tools and systems are in place is paramount to keep things driving forward. When individuals can’t see others in person you need to ensure they can connect digitally in the ways that suit their style and the needs of the relevant projects.
Giving staff an offsite productivity boost can be as simple as making sure they have access to the apps that they would normally use in the office, via cloud equivalents.
By considering these two fundamental aspects of remote working, you’re taking steps in the right direction to ensure your team works together with as little friction as possible;
1. Cloud data and documents
Check: Make sure every employee knows their way around the company’s storage system and best practice for keeping everything in the right place, and ensure each department is sharing locations correctly and appropriately to each staff member’s role. Have clear procedures in place that staff can refer to around which editing and collaboration tools are being used, and that everyone adheres to decisions around tracked changes or other methods to ensure visibility of edits and updates.
Consider: A managed cloud service, such as Telstra Cloud Infrastructure, can be a godsend for staff working remotely because it allows them to share files and collaborate as easily out of the office as they would if they were in it. Other benefits include making it easier to retrieve lost data, better version control and increased security of your business’s data. A Mobile Workspace managed service combines data plans, devices and accessories, and provision of business apps across a mobile fleet, with end-to-end support, reporting, security and asset lifecycle management.
2. Collaboration via virtual meetings with video conferencing
Check: If video conferencing is new for some employees, the novelty – or perhaps some discomfort – will soon pass, and they'll enjoy connecting and collaborating with their colleagues face-to-face. Being able to see and talk with colleagues, as well as share information and presentations live on a screen, fosters a sense of human connectedness, which is especially important if the team can’t get together in person over an extended period of time. It’s a lot easier to hash out an idea in a group brainstorming session where participants can hear each other and respond in real time, than over an array of emails.
Consider: A business-grade video conferencing service to help your team get on with their meetings, rather than becoming frustrated by technical difficulties. Investing in the right equipment, can be the crucial step in reducing the feeling of distance among your teams and getting the best results possible from remote collaboration.