Remote working is becoming increasingly important to give your teams flexibility in how they spend their time and how they work best. In a 2018 survey, Biz Edge found that of those polled “More than half (57%) of New Zealand office workers are now able to work remotely if they choose to. Of those who do, 70% say it gives them more flexibility in their hours or breaks, 43% say it’s easier to focus, 40% say it’s easier to take care of family members, and 39% say they feel more productive when they work remotely”.
These are our top tips for making working remote work:
Trust: this is obvious but for some reason can be overlooked. You need to trust your employees and co-workers no matter what. Even more so when one of you is working remotely. It can be hard to resist temptation to micro-manage a remote employee. Remember they have been hired to do a job and need time and space to do that effectively, just like they would if they were seated right next to you.
Make sure quick questions can be asked and answered: Being available is important, whether that is a ‘call anytime’ policy or set times that are available for communication. Remember that we all learn a lot from asking quick questions of someone when they’re walking to the photocopier, so make sure you create those times where quick questions can be asked using real time digital channels.
Prepare everyone involved: By being open with everyone involved it can help work relationships to develop as they would if someone was located in the office. If suppliers and partners and co-workers know that someone works remotely and what that means (i.e. for me, I don’t meetings before 11am unless I have too) so everyone can work better together. Don’t forget about the employee working remotely, make sure you spend time preparing them too, do they have access to the right systems, hardware, a space to work that is appropriate?
Use technology: We are in the best possible place we have ever been to make remote working work. Find out what technology is out there to help your employees and your business really work. We use Slack channels for instant communications with our team and to create a virtual co-working culture that everyone can lean into. We also use Hello Interview, Zoom, Quip and cloud-based storage systems like Dropbox and G-Drive etc. so it’s easy for everyone to know what’s going on no matter where they are.
Make time to meet in person: set expectations early and stick to them to do the face-to-face or office time. We use this as a point to reset where we are at and set up KPI’s and goals for the next period. In addition to that, it’s a great time to celebrate wins and organise social events with the staff.
Respect the differences: There are differences in working remotely and ignoring that isn’t good for anyone. Be open and honest with the team and the remote worker about what is different and how to acknowledge it. The best remote relationships will ensure that communication methods and decision making is not bias towards non-remote workers.
For Tonic Lab, working remotely is fundamental to the way we do business. This is for a few reasons, the obvious one being that our marketers are often located at our client’s premises, sitting with their teams, therefore working remotely from our headquarters, or somewhere totally different to enable them to best focus or to suit their lifestyle. Another reason remote working is so important to Tonic Lab is that I, one of the founders and directors, work remotely from Beijing, China. So, for us it was really important to set up processes and communications channels like Slack and Zoom which enable us to work together efficiently without letting distance be a barrier.
Want to know more?
At Tonic Lab, we’ll become your marketing partners - whether you need a virtual Marketing Manager to collaborate and strategise with, help with marketing projects like a website launch or recruitment support to find new marketing talent for your team we’ve got you covered.