Remote Work, The Pandemic and What it Means To Have Great Leadership

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Before the pandemic, 15% of US employees were working from home some of the time. When the pandemic unfolds, almost half of US employees are doing their work remotely.

REMOTE WORK isn't new, and it wasn't born overnight. It was the usual way of working, as shown by the history of our world. 

From homes to factories to cubicles and now WiFi, the speed of the latter's transition is at times dizzying. It feels like, in a blink of an eye, companies of every size and industry went from office-based to work from home. 

In-person meetings are now video calls; living rooms, dining rooms, even bedrooms are virtual offices. How we conduct our work and where we do our work are signs of how our world keeps evolving and our ways with it. The norm is now remote work, and it is here to stay.

Undoubtedly, the pandemic is the catalyst for remote work for many millions of employees around the world. However, it is only among the reasons why it is beneficial to work from home. Indeed, working from home positively impacts the social, economic, personal, and cultural aspects of many lives across the globe that it is the best path forward. 


Advantages of Remote Work For Employees

Location Independence. With remote work, you can have the career you love without living near a metropolitan area. You can avoid high-rent and high-mortgage areas. You can travel and live as digital nomads while having a meaningful career.

Better Mental and Physical Health for Employees. Swap stressful commutes for early morning exercises and employees have more time to focus on their health and family, which can increase productivity and overall feelings of happiness.

Improved Work-life Balance. Now that remote workers have greater flexibility in their schedules, they have time for family, personal obligations, and careers. And with fewer breaks by the coffee corner, they accomplished more tasks faster.

Advantages of a Remote Setup for Employees

According to Owl Labs' report on State of Remote Work in 2019, many remote workers put in forty-plus hours per week because they enjoy what they do compared to on-site workers. 

Consider their reasons and why they think remote work is advantageous:


Advantages of a Remote Setup for Companies

Lower Overhead. This means executives can spend more money on team-building activities and retreats or salary increases rather than extra phone lines, electricity, real estate costs, snacks for the break room, and office supplies. 

Companies can increase their workforce without increasing costs, and that provides the opportunity to conduct more business less stringently and more productively.

Improved Inclusivity. Companies can choose to support diversity, community, and family by hiring people from different socio-economic, geographic, and cultural backgrounds and with different perspectives.

This is a position of power you can positively exploit. Hire across generations. It is advantageous for you as a leader to learn the wisdom and weakness of each generation.

DISADVANTAGES

Let us have a closer look at some of those disadvantages:



The Top Four Concerns Deals with Less Connection Among Colleagues

The Top Four Concerns Deals with Less Connection Among Colleagues

Working from home can at times feel like a person is isolated. They cannot hear colleagues discussing projects, having lunch together, or solving problems together. And the ideas that are kindled from those spontaneous interactions cannot be achieved through virtual communications.

Video Call Fatigue. On top of the technical fuss from joining multiple calls, it is essential to pick up on non-verbal cues, pay attention to pitch and tone, and ready yourself to join a conversation at the right time. And reliable wi-fi connections are a big challenge as well.


Difficulty in Achieving Balance. 

It is vital to look after mental, physical, and social health when working from home. The other side of greater autonomy and flexibility is to get the right balance between work and personal and family obligations. The place that was a place of solitude is now merged into different workstations.


LEADERSHIP

As the number of coronavirus cases is still on the rise worldwide and more employers move to remote work, leadership is the apparent key to success. And under leadership, there are two factors to work at: the technical ability to pull it off and, most importantly, trust in your workforce.

Here is a catalog of things you may want to consider as a leader moving forward.


Set Up Your Company For Remote Work. First and most importantly, ensure that your company is equipped with updated, best-in-class, and secure technology. Source and retain high-level managers who share your ethos, core values, and work ethic.  

Great managers who can set meaningful goals are critical to ensuring productive remote work. No grandstanders, no power-trippers. Settle feuds without any favoritism. Like you, your managers must be greater than their prejudices. That's what outstanding leadership is all about.

Experience or Character? Most companies would hire based on experience. Companies mostly feel that if a candidate has the experience, they will cut costs regarding time and training. However, on the other hand, if you are confident in the ability of your company to train and provide proper tools, then it is better to hire based on character. 

This is more cost-effective because you will have a loyal and more dedicated employee in the long run. Besides, it is better to groom your own talents than hire one with a reputation of company hopping who will be prone to comparing a company's inside structure and management.


Miscommunications.

It is vital to hire the character rather than the resume in a remote work setup. Emails and messages can be misinterpreted. When you do not have the option of face-to-face communications wherein you can decipher a lot through gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language, the strength of character can help avoid petty assumptions and interpretations.

Put a Premium on Self-motivated Individuals. This is crucial for anyone that works on their schedule. However, the topic of self-motivation is far from simple. People can be motivated by external and internal things, such as a desire to do something or a need for money. So look for positive values like commitment, optimism, and initiative. Pride of accomplishment is a commendable character.

Respect Independence. Management might want to know the whereabouts of its remote employees during shifts. However, as long as the employee turns out good work and reaches goals, you have to respect and recognize her independence and method of doing things. 

Wrap Up

If your company leaders cannot trust their employees to perform their jobs without a manager standing over their shoulder, then either your company has hired the wrong people, or you have management issues about giving trust. Among the foundations of a successful remote setup is trust in employees to perform work efficiently and without micromanagement.

As a leader, if you can find your way and come out of the abovementioned excellently, you can achieve employee engagement. You will have happy, satisfied, and productive employees. Happy employees equal happy customers. And most of all, your company is on a sure path to growth and success.

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