The notion of remote work has been around for a while now. Even before Covid-19 forced the employers’ hand at making it a necessary means of carrying out regular office work, it has been widely used by many working individuals.

Let’s take a look at the Gallup poll where it was revealed that 43% of employed Americans log out-of-office time. 31% of these employees work remotely 3-5 days a week.

47% of working millennials now say they freelance in some capacity.

Now that the 2020 global epidemic has pressured employers around the world to opt for the remote working option, the popularity of remote work is soaring.

Many companies are concerned about data security; many others are butting heads on the productivity factor. They are right at their standpoint, but there are many points that make remote work arrangements beneficial to everyone involved.

Many employers have already allowed their traditional workforce to work remotely. As the battle of benefits and drawbacks continues, we are here to help you understand the why and how of making remote work productive for your organization.

What are the most significant benefits of a remote workforce?

The Benefits of Working Remotely 2020 is originally published on Statista by Arne Holst.

This statistic shows the most significant benefits of working remotely in 2020. As per this survey done with 3,500+ respondents, 32 percent of respondents cited the ability to have a flexible schedule as the biggest benefit of working remotely.

Having a larger potential labor pool is the most significant benefit that employers derive from remote work. Imagine a talent pool that is not restricted due to geographic and political boundaries. 

An employer in the USA found a better pool for his next project in India but cannot get them to the states, but with remote working, this becomes possible. Plus, with an open talent pool, the discovery of the right candidates rises tenfold! This is also beneficial to employers with an economic point of view.

When you are hiring someone in another country, the salary structure can be less expensive than your in-office employees.

  • As per the survey conducted by Global Workplace Analytics, 53% of remote workers reported they were likely to work overtime.
  • In another study conducted by Umea University, it was found that couples that have at least one partner commuting longer than 45 minutes per day experience 40% higher rates of divorce than those with shorter commutes.
  • Remote work also keeps the employees online and healthy as it keeps them at low-risk of catching the virus while commuting.
  • And with climate changes causing drought and wildfires, a remote workforce will help companies work online effectively.

What are the challenges faced by remote workers?

Remote work is not about those long binge hours, as many employers might dread their employees might be doing on a workday! As the data mentioned above suggests, remote work brings out more productivity as it is more goal-oriented.

A word of advice for managers and employers is to focus more on the deliverables and less time on how much time employees are actually spending on their tasks. Remember, they are not in the office anymore! They are at their homes, and now they are playing two roles!

We won’t be giving too much attention to the challenges employees face while working remotely as it is generally related to household chores and running market errands. But there are challenges!

Have open communication, set clear expectations

Syncing themselves with the team! Yes, with social distancing and working with around 30% of staff, not many employees see their colleagues often these days. In such a scenario dissatisfaction will fester and synchronization regarding the expectation of results will also go for a toss.

This makes over communication really an important factor for employees. When you have your daily meetings, clear out what is expected from each of your team members. Set strict deadlines, and schedule check-ins so that your team members have a sense of accountability.

When your team members have the criteria at which their productivity is being judged and what you expect from them, they will give you the required results. It’s also necessary to keep your team on the same page and keep them focused on your organizational goals.

Foster a virtual company culture

In this digital age, it is not impossible to get your employees on board for instilling a virtual company culture. Encourage your team members to engage in virtual conversations and have them interact online with each other.

Organize little observances, such as birthdays or completion of a project, the achievement of sales figures. This way everyone in the organization will feel that their remote working efforts are getting noticed by you.

Well yes, you are not able to plan physical retreats but online get-togethers will definitely fill in the void that has been created by this pandemic! Having the right communication and collaboration tools (which we will cover soon) also come in handy for your remote team members.

What are the essential tools remote workers can use to connect and collaborate?

As mentioned above, connecting with team members and collaborating with colleagues from across different departments is a daily routine for employees. Keeping that trend alive while working remotely is made possible by the various advancements modern technology has made! 

Let’s take a look at these various tools which can help your remote workers stay efficient and productive!

Remote collaboration

It comes as no surprise that collaboration is one of the most common challenges that remote team workers face, especially when they are working from different geographical locations. A software developer team interacts with each other effortlessly when they are working in close vicinity of each other. How will the same team members interact and work when each of them is at the comfort of their (home) work office. Imagine if there is a time difference too!

Yes, they can head for a video conference call with screen sharing using tools like Google Meet, Zoom, or Teamviewer. There are countless collaboration tools that were designed for various tasks and teams. In this portion of the article, we are listing down a few remote collaboration tools that will break the geographical barrier and enhance productivity while working remotely.

Every Time Zone

The best tool for checking the time zones of your remote team members. So no more mental maths for calculating the time zone difference before you ping someone up from their sleep!

Google Drive

A secure and centralized location for saving all your important files. Collaborate with your team in real-time on any document and double your productivity. Time zone difference? No issues, just mention them inside the doc and assign relevant tasks to them. They will get notified via email and app notifications.

Want to stay up-to-date with all your email conversations? Allow two-way synchronization between your email service provider and Salesmate CRM. Do everything from inside a single inbox!

Slack

Regardless of your team members’ time zone, you can enjoy real-time communication with them. A perfect remote collaboration tool for remote teams where you can create special channels, share important files and documents, and mention the concerned team member.

Zoom Meetings

When it comes to remote meetings with screen sharing options, Zoom has been a people favorite (with its fair share of controversies). Putting those controversies aside, it does what it promises. You can hold meetings, set passwords for the meetings, let others take over your screen, and head a presentation. The raise hand option and chat options are personal favorites for us.

Project Management

Working collaboratively with a team that is spread across different time zones is a different thing, monitoring the progress of a project these team members are involved in a different scenario.

The responsibility of delivering a project and the accountability of the completion of various projects falls on the managers. They have to keep checking if the project deadlines are being met. Major projects require special attention from the manager so yes, having the proper project management tool becomes a necessity.

Once you have interacted with your virtual employee, summarize all the important aspects of the meeting into a document, and share it with the designated ones.

Ask them to send you a short recap of the meeting so that you know they are on the same page regarding the project requirements. Keep the communication lines open, these project management tools will help you do the same.

Asana

Asana enables you to manage projects, store important files, and collaborate with your team members without any hindrance and without going back and forth on those long emails.

Basecamp

Basecamp is a project management and team collaboration tool for managing projects and communicating with clients. This tool offers lots of features and tools which your team members can use for sharing their ideas, organizing conversations, and keeping everyone in the loop.

JIRA

This cross-platform issue and bug tracking tool have advanced project management features that will come in handy for your remote team workers.

ProofHub

This tool enables your remote team members to interact with their teammates and clients in a seamless manner. This all-in-one remote project management tool supports online proofing, discussions, feedback, and remote project management at a centralized location.

Monitoring productivity

Productivity! Yes, the major concern that every employer has when the word “remote work” pops up. Being an entrepreneur, startup owner, and manager of your remote team members, tracking employee productivity is equally important. This is important as your entire revenue cycle depends on their productivity and project deliveries.

However, with remote team members, tracking the smaller tasks becomes hectic. We are sharing some of the tools which will help you track the overall progress remote employees make during their working hours.

Engagedly

Engagedly’s goals/OKR feature enables managers to assign goals, align them with department/ organization goals, and track the progress of your team towards the set goals.

EverHour

A time tracking tool that enables managers to track the time employees are spending on various tasks. In addition to tracking the time, this tool translates how that time is affecting the business’s profitability. This tool also has various other features such as reporting, resource planning, expense tracker, and task management.

Todoist

This task tracking tool enables you to keep your remote team members updated with every little thing that can skip their mind while managing their work hours and productivity.

With individual and team task assignments, and custom-labeled projects listed with deadlines, you will surely be able to track how productive your team members are while finishing their tasks.

Toggl

This tool comes in handy when you want to track the time your remote team members took for finishing a task. Use the timing to create a benchmark and keep improving the turnaround time.

What are the tips for remote workers?

Being a remote worker, you are kind of your own boss. So putting yourself in the shoes of your boss should not be an issue. Just think how your lapse in productivity will hinder the business growth and start motivating yourself every day before you step into your home office.

Yes, you are resourceful and responsible, but in these trying times, you have to help your HR department and your manager by being responsible for your own motivation. We are happy to share these tips you can use to stay productive during remote work.

Dedicated workspace

Yes, your body clock and muscle memories have now gotten used to the daily routine of commuting to the office, reach your work desk and start your day after getting a warm cup of coffee! 

But with limitation to be at the office and social distancing norms, you are now tasked with creating a dedicated workspace at your home. Yes, remote work means flexibility of working hours and freedom of dropping on your couch with your laptop and starting your workday.

But it also makes you lazy, often leads to procrastination, and delay in delivering the work. Productivity is being put on the back burner and you are not contributing to your organizational goals anymore.

Put yourself in your employer’s shoes and look at this situation from their perspective; things will look more clear now. Now that you have some clarity lets do one more thing, start developing a routine. Create a dedicated space for carrying out your work and organize your work schedule.

Strict schedule

Working remotely is indeed very hectic. You are not just doing office work from your humble abode, you also have to keep track of food, household chores, and those pesky market errands.

Between that and everything else, it is important that you develop a strict schedule that will allow you to focus your energy on your work and create a better work-life balance. Having strict schedules ensures that you have a streamlined work process and you never go off the off track.

Communicate some more

To create a sense of accountability, it is important that your team members and the manager know that you are there! Make your presence felt to them by regularly communicating with them over virtual communication tools such as Google Chat, Meet, Hangouts, Mattermost, or any other tool that your organization has for such purpose.

Being a remote worker, communicating with your colleagues is tough as you won’t be bumping into them during those occasional visits to the coffee-vending machine or the water cooler. If needed, be hyper-specific and over-communicate while using these channels. It is good to have clarity of the task you need to perform and have accountability for completing those tasks.

Clear work timings 

When you work remotely or in the office, having clear work timings is an important aspect. Just because you are working from home does not mean that you will make up for the time you lost by putting in longer hours.

Define clear work timings for yourself and let your colleagues and managers know about the same. It is important to keep the home and work lines visible, especially while working remotely. You are under no obligation to be available 24/7, but it is better to be available during the dedicated working hours.

Conclusion: Is remote working for you?

Truth be said, it is a mandate, and if the polls we shared at the start of this article are to be considered, there is a section of employees that will come into the office, rather than opt for working remotely.

With the current situation, the world is in right now, there is a concern for the health and safety of all the employees. And with governments advising companies to exercise social distancing with limited operational staff remote work is the need of the hour.

We hope that this article sheds some light on the importance of remote working and how the tools and tips can be used for making it successful and productive.

Now, the most important aspect of remote work is to communicate with your team members and clients without any delay! And while there are various tools available, the majority of sales teams rely on sales intelligence tools. The main reason is that these tools score closer to home, in the sense that they are made for the sales team’s daily hustle.

Salesmate CRM is one such tool that has various tools that allow seamless communication between your remote sales team members and the clients. Want to schedule a call or email? Do it with fewer clicks. Want to track those important deals and have seamless client communication? Use the team inbox feature and revert to your customers with help from across different departments. 

If you are intrigued to know more about Salesmate and use its various other features then do try it for free.

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A writer with an uncommon funny bone and a knack for perfection, Saptarshi loves to write about anything that can be of help to businesses, people, and dogs! A true human at heart, he likes to spend most of his time researching the internet to find ways technology is influencing our daily life (positively).

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