Creating policies around hiring, communication, project management, productivity, and security will help companies effectively transition their team and operations to work remotely. Below are details on how to successfully transition a team, as well as tools that businesses can utilize for remote work.
- The number of American companies that offer remote work options increased by 40 percent over the last five years.
- Eighty percent of employees prefer to work remotely at least some time.
- Thirty-five percent of employees would change jobs to work remotely full time.
- A company “can save an average of $11,000 per half-time telecommuter per year. The primary savings are the result of increased productivity, lower real estate costs, reduced absenteeism and turnover, and better disaster preparedness.”
- Employees save between $2,500 and $4,000 annually by working remotely half the time because of savings on traveling, parking, and purchasing food.
Effectively Transitioning Employees and Operations to Work Remotely
- Transitioning employees to work remotely or even building a remote workforce means managers need to create a hiring strategy that explains “work expectations and responsibilities.” For example, employers may want to focus on potential employees’ soft skills, which includes communication skills, to make sure they will successfully work remotely.
- Outline expectations with employees, which includes availability and what times they are scheduled to work, which tools employees need to utilize in order to communicate effectively, which data management systems to use in order “to organize and share documents and information securely,” and information on how employees can track “projects and measure results.”
- To effectively transition to remote work, teams need to have strong communication and listening skills.
- To communicate and connect with team members easily and effectively, it’s recommended to utilize communication tools like Slack, HipChat, or Skype. All of these platforms provide video call options, real-time messaging, “and the ability to organize conversations by channel, project or topic.”
- Companies should “set up a cloud-based project management tool” for employees to access files at any time. “Popular project management tools for remote teams include Trello and Basecamp,” while Google Drive and DropBox are known for sharing documents and files. These platforms also allow projects to be organized among various departments.
- Companies can keep track of employees’ productivity through time-tracking tools like Toggl, Tick, and Timesheets. These platforms help managers monitor projects and see the amount of time it takes to complete each task.
- It’s crucial for companies to create “an information security policy” since employees can access work in public spaces when working remotely. It’s suggested that employees create passwords and update them regularly with tools like LastPass. Information and documents should also be “stored in a secure cloud storage platform like Box.” Additionally, “a virtual private network like VyprVPN is recommended when connecting to public networks.”