I recently wrote about how remote workers and telecommuting have become a standard part of the new world of work. When supported by great internal communication as well as the right technological tools, these practices can be a net benefit for employees and leadership alike. But telecommuting doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.
Here are a few ways that combining the efforts of in-person and remote workers can result in great workflow, happy employees, and a smooth operating organization.
From a leadership perspective, the increasing availability and quality of remote workers means that you can pick and choose not only what tasks to outsource to remote workers, but which workers to select for the job. With information becoming more widely available in exchange for fewer resources, and the rise in technologies that give us access to people from all over the globe, the talent pool of candidates across multiple disciplines is getting wider and richer all the time.
Making remote work an integral part of your organization means that you’ll help employees redefine their workflow in ways that could potentially hold great benefits for their personal lives. Even without explicit support, policies like these imply support for passion projects and family commitments. As we all know by now, work-life balance is an antiquated myth, and putting policies in place that acknowledge your employees’ lives will make them more productive, engaged, and loyal to the cause.
Meanwhile, in the office, face-to-face interactions reinforce company culture and galvanize your shared purpose. Depending on what industry you’re in, there are some tasks that just get done better and more efficiently with face to face interaction. It also helps you identify socially with the people you collaborate with. Just a quick conversation can change the way you feel about your team for the better. As useful as some of these digital coworking tools can be, it can make it difficult to remember that there is a human just like you on the other end.
Outings or retreats are also great ways to get everyone on the same page as well as seek input from everyone in the group. If you have remote teams who are working further afield than enables them to come into the office, a retreat every six months or so is a great way to make sure your remote workers don’t feel too remote from the company’s guiding principles.
Are you balancing in-person and remote workers in your company? How has the experience evolved? Need some advice on how to change the dynamics? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.