Remote work is becoming the norm for both employees and managers. While some will make a return to the physical office this year―either some or all of the time―a good percentage of workers will stick with the remote approach.
In fact, managers believe 26.7% of the workforce will be fully remote by the end of 2021, according to the December 2020 Future Workforce Report. Additionally, the report predicts the number of remote workers will nearly double over the next five years, reaching 36.2 million Americans by 2025.
Fortunately, remote work is, for the most part, going well, with 68% of hiring managers reporting that remote work is going more smoothly than it did at the start of the pandemic. Many employees now find they’re more productive and enjoy the more flexible work schedule.
But remote work still presents challenges. When people first started working exclusively from home, many found it hard to “leave” the office, with the lines between work and home blurring.
As remote work continued, employees became more adept at finding a better work-life balance. Even so, a Harvard Business Review study found the workday is still 10-20% longer on average when compared to pre-pandemic times.
Another major area impacted by long-term remote work is communications. Most workers and managers found ways (like embracing videoconferencing) to get work done and collaborate on projects.
Still, some find it a challenge to have the same kind of in-depth conversations and brainstorming sessions without being in the same room. And let’s not forget about the importance of spontaneous, informal meetings that happen over a cubicle wall or in the hallway.
These types of chance encounters are important not only for social interaction and morale, but they can also lead to ideas that positively impact the outcome of a project.
Since remote work isn’t going away, it’s important for both employees and managers to find ways around these challenges. Not surprisingly, the technology exists to overcome these remote work obstacles, thanks to cloud communications.
Lucky for you, we have four communications tips to share. Be prepared to have your remote work life changed (for the better) forever.
1. Avoid Video Fatigue
When everyone made the initial shift to remote work, video meetings were a popular choice. However, video fatigue quickly set in, as it became draining to always be “on” from one meeting to the next.
Making sure you have the proper lighting and a professional background for video calls can create an extra headache and isn’t always necessary.
The face-to-face feel of a video call may be ideal for brainstorming sessions or other important meetings, but there are occasions when other communications tools are better suited for the task at hand. Perhaps screen sharing will make a meeting more productive.
Break-out rooms with smaller groups may be appropriate when a large project needs to be tackled in stages. The use of varied communications methods keeps teams productive while removing the stress that can accompany a long day of video meetings.
2. Give Remote Employees Control With a Choice of Communications Options
If you want to keep your employees inspired and engaged, give them options. An integrated unified communications solution provides a multitude of choices when it comes to communications and collaboration.
Use video when you need to see someone’s facial expressions. Draw or write on a shared whiteboard when it’s time to brainstorm. Check a team member’s status in real time to see if they’re available to chat online or answer an urgent question.
Share a file or post a comment in a shared workspace or create an agenda and assign tasks so everyone can see the status of a project. An innovative cloud communications technology platform has a solution for every task at hand.
The best part is employees can seamlessly move from one communications channel to another, creating a frictionless experience which makes for a happy work-from-home day.
3. Make Time for Casual Conversation
We may not be gathering around the water cooler as much these days, but there’s no reason we can’t recreate the experience. The same tools used for collaborating on work projects can also be used to promote social interaction among remote staff.
Chat is just one way employees can engage in casual, lighthearted banter spontaneously. Other collaboration tools can also be put to good use for less professional (but still important) work.
Employees can share recipes for a delicious post-work dinner or recommend inspiring music. They can even create a space dedicated to helping each other reach health and wellness goals. Remote employees will feel like they’re back in the office, chatting away, in no time.
4. Create a Connected Culture
Company culture plays a huge role in employee satisfaction and retention, but there’s no denying it’s a lot harder to build and foster a culture when most of your workforce is remote.
Unified communications technology, however, provides managers with new and innovative ways to make even the most remote employee feel like part of the team. It all boils down to connection.
Shared workspaces, chat, video and web conferencing can all be put to work to keep employees informed and engaged. With so many ways to connect, unified communications technology makes fostering the company culture remotely a seamlessly simple task.
Remote work may be here to stay, but the feeling of remoteness isn’t. Put cloud communications tools and technology to work and make everyone feel like a team player.