The Future of Remote Work After COVID-19

Posted by Mitzi Branvold | Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Future of Remote Work After COVID-19

Posted by Mitzi Branvold | Thursday, May 14, 2020

Even before the era of COVID-19, organizations had begun to ponder how their workforce would shift as new technology made remote working a possibility. While the technology was available, adapting workplace policies, systems, and procedures to function from different locations across the world was a very different challenge.

Adapting to a new remote normal, though, has become a necessity — and it will change how organizations operate long after the pandemic has ended. While remote work is a challenge for leaders in companies, it is a benefit many individual employees look for in an organization, and it will become a benefit your company will need to seriously consider implementing full-time to stay competitive when recruiting and retaining talent. This can be a daunting prospect to many business owners, large and small, who are counting down the days until they can return to “business as usual”.

Rather than a frightening reality to face, though, try shifting your company mindset to view this as an exciting new opportunity to take advantage of all the positive possibilities remote work affords your growing business such as decreased expenses and a wider talent pool. 

Not only are there many benefits to remote working, but there are strategies to help set up your organization to hit the ground running when implementing a full or partial remote work policy.

Onboarding New Talent

The backbone of a good company is the talent they recruit for every tier of the organization. As a remote organization, you have the flexibility to recruit new employees from around the world, and that opens many new doors of opportunities. However, that also presents the challenge of a virtual onboarding experience.

While different from a traditional onboarding experience, a virtual onboarding can be just as informative to bring on your new team members. Try these tips out to make the most of the virtual experience for both parties:

  • Learning Management Systems — these are used to assign helpful training videos and ensure your new employee is viewing the content you send and are engaged with the material.
  • eSignature — Never worry about paperwork again — with eSignature, you can easily transfer necessary paperwork in seconds.
  • Collaborative systems (such as the Google Suite) — easily work off of documents, spreadsheets, and presentation decks that update in real-time so you can collaborate and all stay on the same page as you and the new employee work through checklists, processes, and new tasks.
  • Video conference calls — get to know your new team members better, both professionally and personally, with video conferencing to avoid miscommunication, to walk through complicated procedures via screen share, or simply to hold candid conversations. Video calls make it possible to get to know each other as if you were in person.

Enforce Privacy and Data Security

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns when it comes to remote working is keeping company and employee data protected without being connected to the company’s internet and security. This is a valid concern, but can be easily mitigated through several easy steps:

  • Require a security training video within your onboarding so that employees know how to identify dangerous emails, websites, and malware attacks.
  • Install software on every company computer that blocks dangerous attacks from third parties.
  • Enable multifactor authentication so that there are multiple steps required from employees to gain access to important information and data — on the off chance that an attacker can gain access from one breached login, multifactor authentication decreases the likelihood they will be able to get past the second step.
  • Utilize a company VPN (virtual private network) for employees to gain access to especially sensitive material. As a leader at the company, you can control who has access to the VPN and still require an additional password to login to it.

Encourage Consistent Communication

It can be easy to feel isolated with your team scattered account the country (or world). Try out a combination of different collaboration methods to help your team stay connected and engaged:

  • Whether it’s via a company chat (such as Slack, Skype, or another system), encourage employees to stay connected, both when collaborating on projects or just to get to know one another better.
  • Similarly, set consistent video conferences with the team. When newly onboarding, these meetings should be daily to ensure they understand the material, new asks, are feeling comfortable with their new role, and allow them to ask any questions that may have arisen.
  • Similarly, weekly one-on-ones with managers are imperative, especially for new employees. These one-on-ones give employees the opportunity to ask questions about projects, voice concerns, and ask for/receive feedback on how to continue to grow and improve in their role.

While shifting your company culture to include a long-term remote policy may sound intimidating to organizations who had not previously considered it, a well-thought-out strategy can help your company prosper in the changing times that the pandemic has ushered in, and stay ahead of the game when offering benefits for new talent.