How to continue remote working post-pandemic

Working on computer

Over the last year, many of us have become very familiar with remote working. However, as we begin to return to normality, you’re probably wondering – what now? Is everything going to go back to the way it was pre-pandemic, or are we going to use this experience to change the way we work for good? It’s a decision that your leadership team needs to make together and back 100%, so we spoke to Alex Hattingh, CPO at Employment Hero about how to get them on board.

Getting your leadership team on board with remote first working

As you navigate remote first working, it’s important your leadership team is onboard with the idea. You want them to live and breathe it. This is to set an example and benchmark the expectations for the wider business. Your goal is to create a purpose driven culture where everyone feels empowered to do the best they can in their roles. It’s all about leading by example.

How can you do this?

Set rules and expectations that help everyone work collectively together. With buy-in from your leadership, these rules build trust, understanding and support – a winning combination for remote first working. You should also encourage workday structure, ensure differences are embraced and put effective communication at the top of your priority list.

Encourage and ensure structure for remote first working

Providing structure is essential when it comes to successfully transitioning to a remote first workplace. When you were in the office, structure was based on commuting to work, having dedicated breaks and leaving at a specific time. However, with remote first working, you’re more likely to see an increase of work-life integration, where the lines between work and home life become blurred. This concept could be what your leadership team is struggling to come to terms with – they want to see their employees at their desks because that’s where they believe they are the most productive.

But fear not. With some structure and ground rules in place, your team will experience all of the benefits that come from greater flexibility and work-life balance.

To do this, you need to set out how this will be managed remotely. You could ensure that all important information and policies are stored securely and accessible to everyone. This also applies for meetings and important decisions, too. You should also ensure that notes are taken during meetings and video meetings are recorded.

What about teams? There are a few ways you can create structure for your team such as:

  • Establishing a process, structure, and agenda around meetings and updates so everyone can follow along, no matter their location. Put it in the calendar and ensure everyone attends with their video cameras on.
  • Assigning a meeting lead and scribe to ensure key decisions and discussion are documented through a shared document such as Google Docs.
  • Sticking to a regular cadence for daily and weekly meetings.

Remember: focusing on output over hours can build trust and allow your team to feel empowered in their roles.

Communication is vital

Communication is key when adopting remote first working. It’s not just the tools that you use to communicate, but also the way in which you communicate. If your leadership team isn’t confident that communication will be up to par and important information will go unmissed, you need to set ground rules. You could suggest holding a session for the entire team on effective communication in a remote environment and investing in communication tools.

An example of overcoming communication barriers

To avoid miscommunication over virtual messages, you should begin your communication with your context. This will help prevent any misinterpretation of messages.  Let your team know when you are in a video meeting, are having dedicated quiet time to a project or that you can’t respond right now.

How do you do this?

  • Have your Google calendar updated at all times, not just when you’re in a meeting but if you are working on a project and unable to respond. Time blocking in your calendar is your remote first best friend!
  • Log-off slack if you are unable to respond or update your slack status to say ‘Do Not Disturb’, ‘Working on XYZ’ or ‘In a meeting’

Whether your team enjoys working from the comfort of their own home, or you’re getting feedback that everyone is missing the workplace buzz, one thing is for sure – many elements of remote working are here to stay. With these few tips, you’ll feel more confident getting your leadership team onboard with the remote first approach to work.