How companies deal with remote work: best practices, case studies and personas

As the world slowly gets back to normal after the pandemic, many companies are left wondering what they’ll do next. Will they continue with remote work, or will they enforce in-office work again? Maybe they’ll adopt a new approach and try a hybrid working approach

Many employers are very complacent with remote work, but aren’t really sure how to deal with it going forward. These employers see the value, efficiency, and employee satisfaction that remote work has brought to the team, and want to keep that train rolling.

If you’re in the same shoes, don’t panic. Today we’re going to go over remote work best practices, and even discuss some case studies to help you make up your mind fully.

Why remote work?

Despite the fact that literally everyone had to work at least somewhat remotely from 2020-2022, some employers are forcing employees to return to the office. True, some people might not care all that much, but there’s undeniable freedom that comes with working from where ever you want, and a whole list of benefits, too.

Working remotely allows employees to choose where they want to work. Instead of spending their morning stuck in traffic, wasting time, they could be using it to work or do anything else. Not to mention, gas and electricity aren’t free. It costs money just to drive to the office.

Employers and employees choose remote work because they have the ability to control their schedules, save money and time, and maintain a better work/life balance. All while still getting their work done and being happier about what they do.

Man working remotely from home

So with all that said, it’s understandable that you want to deal with remote work efficiently. You want what’s best for the company as well as the ever-important people that hold it up daily.

Remote work best practices

Now that we have a good understanding of how important remote work is in the current climate, it’s time to start discussing how you and your company can deal with it a little easier. Here are seven of the best practices for remote work.

Respect meeting etiquette 

Meetings are often the only work-related social interaction that people will get in a remote office. But what does it mean? To be honest, the definition is a little different depending on who you talk to. For some, it might mean keeping your cameras on, and for others, it might mean simply being on time.

The honest truth is that meeting etiquette is all of those things and much more. It’s about respecting others and their preferences. Sure, having cameras on sometimes is a good idea, but it’s not always ideal. And you should absolutely be on time for a meeting, but only if it’s within your normal working hours.

Employers need to respect their employees’ time just as much as they expect respect for their own. There’s no need for a 7 pm meeting, and more than a few meetings a day will lead to bad productivity. Keep these things in mind when scheduling your next meeting.

Find out what makes you and others more productive

A big concern for a lot of employers is that remote workers can’t be watched as in-office workers can. And although you want to make sure everyone is chipping in, it is a major violation of trust if you’re constantly buzzing around an employee’s ear.

So what’s the solution for remote workers? Finding what makes you most productive and sharing it with everyone else. 

It’s everyone’s responsibility to find ways to be more productive or at least maintain a certain level of productivity throughout the day. This isn’t to say that you need to constantly be pinging employees to ask if they’re working, but rather to instill a little bit more trust in your professional relationships.

A good tip here would be to have a daily or weekly message board where employees share what they did this week, and what they plan on doing in the following days. Eventually, as the process goes on, you will be able to see exactly who’s being productive and who’s lagging a bit behind.

Prioritize organization in documentation and communication

Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you the key to efficient remote work is communication. In fact, communication is the key to all projects and successes. It’s the driving force that separates complete failure from raving success. Being organized with your communication means having clear channels for reaching out, and systems put into place to help everyone decide the when, where, and why of communicating with anyone in the company.

colleagues having a meeting with laptops

But organization isn’t just necessary in communication. Although it can be considered another form of internal communication, organized documentation is key. If you have documents all over the place, scattered about in folders and drives, and important information locked behind Google Docs access requests, then you’re doing it wrong.

Even during the onboarding process, employees should know where to go and who to talk to, and have clear points of reference in documentation if they have any questions. There are plenty of online tools to help you organize your digital documents, so make sure you do some research and find the best one that suits a company and team of your size.

Define work responsibilities and separate them from personal lives

In the introduction, we talked about how employees crave that ever-important work/life balance. Contrary to popular belief, remote work, if managed correctly, supports having separated personal lives, and even encourages employees to stick to their working schedule.

One of the worst things you can do as an employer is expect work outside of normal working hours. Some people might be led to work a little bit extra to get a project done a little faster, but it’s a decision they make on their own.

From day one, each employee should have a good idea of what their role is and the responsibilities that come along with it. Those “guidelines”, if you will, need to be completely separate from their personal life. You’re not paying them for homework.

A good idea to help everyone stay on the same page is to create a document (see #3 on this list) and have everyone put in some basic information. Names, time zones, and working hours can all be placed in this document for everyone to reference. This will avoid any annoying pings during dinner parties or dentist visits.

Likewise, one of the most important benefits of working remotely is being able to do things that you wouldn’t normally be able to do while stuck in an office. If someone is caught up with their work, or they have an emergency, they should be able to step out. 

Make time for socializing

We’ve talked about meetings and communication, but we haven’t specially mentioned the importance of socializing in remote work. Socializing in this sense refers to going out of your way to make conversation that’s not about work. 

Think about it, you spend all day at home alone. For many people, the only social interaction they’ll have all day is when their dog or cat walks in the room. The connections that people make with each other help the day pass and make working from home feel a lot less lonely.

Now, of course, some people prefer to be alone and aren’t bothered by spending the day isolated. But for those who aren’t (which is likely to be a majority of the remote team), they need some socialization.

You could do all of this online and schedule virtual team buildings where no work topics are discussed, or you could manage something in-person. If you know of coworkers that are close together, why not encourage a coffee break at a local shop? Or maybe they want to grab lunch together? Whatever activities you choose, make sure you and others are making time to actually do them.

Likewise, it’s a good idea to bring coworkers together to collaborate sometimes. Renting a proximity office for the day where people can meet up and work side-by-side is a great way to wash away the loneliness and paint on a fresh coat of productivity.

Host postmortem meetings at the end of big projects

Communication is key before and during a project, but what about after? After everything is said and done, you’ll be a lot more insightful about the project than you will be at any other stage. You’ll understand the major challenges and how to approach them better, what went well and what didn’t, and who contributed to the project.

Hosting a meeting after (postmortem) the project is done and dusted means that you can share all of this information with those who were involved in the project, too. Passing around this information and getting different perspectives from everyone means that you can plan the next project in even more detail.

What’s even better about this style of meeting is that it can involve anyone and everyone. You might have a developer, designer, and marketer all in a single postmortem meeting. This will encourage that social interaction we talked about before, and get everyone more familiar with the rest of the team.

To really get the ball rolling, there are a few things you can have the meeting participants fill out beforehand. Having this done before will allow for true transparency and give everyone a unique take on what happened. Get everyone involved to fill out the following questions:

  • When did the project start?
  • What was this project for?
  • What documentation or resources did you use?
  • Were there any obstacles?
  • What were the final results?

Although each answer can be as vague or detailed as the writer wants it to be, it does spark a bit of extra interest in the project. Ultimately, a postmortem project meeting helps remote work teams communicate and plan better, all while bringing them together for a little extra interaction.

Build remote work culture

Too often, companies build their culture off of coming into the office. They offer incentives for coming into the office, and get upset when people still choose to work remotely. Essentially, their “culture” is based on a lot of shallow promises and fairly valueless “benefits”.

If your team is choosing to work remotely, then there’s no need to punish them. In fact, the best way to deal with remote work is to build a culture around it, too. It doesn’t all have to be desk work and occasional pings. Instead, it should be a fun and rich environment. 

colleagues working from a coffee shop and laughing

There are four ways in which you can promote remote work culture, and it’s not as complicated as you might think. Let’s start with the most important one.

Ask what your employees think

If you want to build a rich remote culture, then you must first understand what your employees think about it now. You need to see how they experience work now, and only then will you be able to make it better. There are no hidden secrets or classified techniques here. You simply need to level with your employees and let them level with you, too.

Incorporate culture into your strategy

Culture is always built intentionally. If you don’t have a plan moving forward, then you simply won’t achieve the results you’re looking for. That includes remote work! Remote work needs to be incorporated into your company strategy and prioritized when needed. Even if you’re a hybrid company, planning all your strategy around office culture is setting remote workers up for failure, and yourself up for an extremely high turnover rate.

Promote remote activities that build connections

As you might have already guessed, connections in a remote team are important. We won’t harp on this too much because we’ve already talked about it above. But, for the sake of remote work culture, coordinating these activities and encouraging participation is a good way to boost productivity.

Show recognition for achievements 

People want to know when they’ve done something worth celebrating. They want to know that they matter, and their colleagues should know that they’ve done a good job, too. Unfortunately, remote work can make it very easy for achievements to go unnoticed. For that reason, employee recognition should be a vital part of your remote work culture.

Remote work case studies and personas

If you ask the internet, there are plenty of case studies out there that align the views presented above with the way remote work is perceived and managed. It is an undeniable fact that most people prefer remote work as long as it’s managed correctly. 

Sure, there are plenty of people out there that will argue with the idea, saying that it contributes to employee disengagement and unproductive workflows, but the way work, in general, is perceived is changing, and remote work is winning.

Take, for example, these three case studies done and posted on LinkedIn. The goal of all three studies was to understand the impact remote work has on productivity and the effectiveness of each employee. 

First, you have the return to the office case study. Anna, who is being analyzed, loves going to work. In fact, she thrives in it. But the return to the office made no initial impact on her ability to bring in new clients.

Secondly, you have Kristof, who is adopting a new hybrid role. He is effective in both environments and often schedules his day based on his location. While at home, he can be in Zoom calls and program at the same time. When he went to work, his productivity slowed on technical projects, but he built stronger relationships and engaged with people.

Finally, the third case study shows Elsa, who is fully remote. She has no commute, no overhead for simply going to work, and no distractions. Her results showed that working fully remotely, whether that be at home or from another location, had zero impact on her performance. She maximized her workday and managed a team of 10, all while being remote.

Conclusions and takeaway

The conclusion here is that not every worker is the same. Some will prefer to work from the office, some remotely, and some will adopt a hybrid role. But if you surround yourself with the right people, manage your remote team accordingly, and trust that they will get things done, odds are that everyone will thrive.

Regardless of where your team is working, giving them a place that they know they can go to and work, collaborate, and engage with other professionals is always a good idea. That’s exactly why Nooka provides everything anyone could need to work remotely and still get all the comforts, conveniences, and professionalism that an office provides. 

Nooka will work with you and help provide you and your employees with a quiet and relaxed, yet professional and upscale environment that they need to be productive. Want to work from home one day? No worries, you can come and go from any Nookaspace as you need. Want to get ahead of the work week and stay a little later than normal? Simply use your phone to enter and exit the office at any time. Nookapsaces truly are the solution to dealing with remote work. 

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