Steve Taplin is the CEO and Co-Founder of Sonatafy Technology, a leading provider of experienced nearshore software developers and engineers
In recent years, a significant number of technology companies have adopted remote working. But the process doesn’t come without its own unique challenges. Nevertheless, many technology workers prefer to remain at home. As your employees adjust to a new normal, it’s essential that you provide them with support. Although creating a 100% remote work environment for your company can have pitfalls, it can also be a successful endeavor.
Enhance Productivity In A Remote Work Environment
Employees who work from home can devote more time to their families and personal lives. Daily commute time is now devoted to other important tasks. Thus, not only is work productivity increased but the quality of life is improved as well.
Despite the shift toward more permanent remote work environments by many companies, there are still companies that don’t offer it. In addition, some tech workers are being urged to return to their on-site locations. Why would the industry change when productivity is up? By now, shouldn’t everyone be used to working from home?
It’s partly the lack of support for remote work that contributes to the resistance to it. But the vast majority of technology workers prefer working from home instead of being cooped up in an office. Nevertheless, Zoom calls, millions of group texts and emails can be overwhelming and tedious — especially if the home office isn’t equipped properly.
The stressors exist, but your company can thrive in remote working environments. Proper support for your employees is the key to success. Without it, productivity may dwindle. Some employees may not wish to return to work if you move them back into the office. Instead of switching back to the old norm, more focus should be on supporting the new norm and on making it easier for your company to handle.
Make The Home A Healthy Work Environment
Identifying the problems your employees face and finding solutions to them is an integral part of leadership. Sometimes, this can extend beyond simple memos on technical software issues. To provide optimal support to your remote workers, it’s imperative that you’re involved in their experience at home, just as you are in the office.
Establish a rapport with your employees during teleconferencing meetings. Gather feedback from your employees about their work-at-home experience to develop a genuine support system. In this manner, issues that otherwise may not be brought to management’s attention will be discovered.
Within my own business, I’ve seen how less-than-ideal remote working environments can negatively impact productivity and morale. For one of our team members, having her family interrupt her work was frustrating. In the absence of separate office space to call her own, the line between family and business became blurred. The interruptions caused her to feel unprofessional, thereby negatively impacting her productivity. To support her, we purchased a desk and home office arrangement for her bedroom. Now, she can close the door, which helps separate her from some of the distractions at home.
However, without open communication and a willingness to solve the largest problems employees face, this issue may not have been resolved. Having to deal with such pitfalls can make remote working environments less than ideal.
Implement Ways To Detach And Revive
It can be challenging to strike a balance between work and home. Moreover, when you work remotely, you don’t always escape the stresses of the workplace. Both a person’s professional and personal lives exist in the same environment. It’s imperative to provide your employees with the opportunity to detach from work when possible to maintain high morale and productivity.
Despite the ease of requesting responses via email and text, this isn’t always as important as self-care. Providing your employees with “downtime” enhances the balance between their work and personal lives. The setting of clear boundaries as to when work communication may be conducted without interfering with personal time is crucial.
For example, implementing block times during which there are no Zoom meetings helps establish healthy boundaries. You can also block break times away from phones or computers to help employees mentally detach from their workload for a moment. Adding exercise to the schedule is more than a temporary distraction — it promotes a healthier life both mentally and physically. Team leaders can easily design schedules to balance work and life duties while promoting goal setting.
If you find yourself faced with mundane tasks, try transforming them into activities that encourage team building. Communication and organization can be enhanced through collaborative productivity tools, such as Slack, instead of time-consuming video calls.
As a strong leader, you need to make sure that your team has the right remote working environment and that you’re setting them up for success. Make sure to take “time-outs” with your team to have fun, play games or even do virtual happy hours to supplement that “in-person” time!