Working remotely is a hot topic, and it’s not hard to see why. Remote work has been proven to produce more output than in-office work, but at what cost? Studies show that working from home and spending time on video conferencing is a draining task.
To that end, here are some best practices for effectively managing remote workforce.
End back-to-back meetings. If you are among the workers who live in fear of the back-to-back meetings on the calendar, you have a right to be concerned, as it does add stress. Digital overload is real, and something has to change. Companies and workers should start to build in 10 to 15 minutes between meetings by making meetings only 45 minutes versus an hour.
Video is not always required. Multiple research projects at Microsoft reveal the toll video meetings take on our well-being. Video calls require more focus and deplete us faster. Phone calls, however, allow us to tune in to a person’s voice without needing to split attention. You and your team can reduce the time spent on video calls by using them only for large groups and allowing people to turn off their video occasionally to preserve morale.
Establish specific rules. One of the most important aspects of remote working is the type of technical assistance employees need to do their job remotely. For example, how can we redesign workflows and processes to help employees accomplish their goals when working remotely? It may be possible that repeated activities could be automated, or even eliminated.
Flexible working can help, but it needs to be truly flexible. A Frost & Sullivan survey claims productivity can increase 34 percent through remote/flexible working, but warns employees will feel the pressure to be constantly available, mainly if expectations are not clearly defined.
Policies that help you be more efficient and supportive of remote work include:
- Respect your staff’s need for personal time outside of working hours by utilizing email responders to incoming messages.
- Use corporate social media networks instead of emails.
Remote work can be the best thing for your company, but certain things need to be considered to avoid putting any additional stress on employees. Leaders must ensure that their employees get enough off-duty time, and conduct regular informal touchpoints to see what can be done to support them and boost well-being.
This piece was written by David Chou, SVP and CIO at Harris Health System.