- 82% of leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely part of the time
- Businesses planning to expand remote or hybrid work will need new strategies to ensure collaboration
- Meeting rooms of tomorrow should support both in-office and remote employees
COVID-19 threw a lot of work paradigms out the window this year. For one, many offices became empty shells as employees took their computers home and started work remotely.
Many companies find remote work is going well. Facebook and Google both stated that 95% of their employees will work from home until at least July 2021. With the hashtag #LoveWhereverYouWork, Twitter announced its employees can permanently work from home if they choose. Remote work started looking like the future.
But let’s face it, most organizations aren’t Twitter, Facebook, or Google. Most don’t have the business model and technology for their employees to work from home 100% of the time. In fact, only about 37% of jobs in the US can be performed remotely. That means about 63% of jobs require some sort of on-site presence.
Collaboration in the new workplace
The post-COVID-19 reality: some businesses will have fully remote workforces while many more will have hybrid ones— where workers split their time between working remotely and at the office.
A recent Gartner study found that post-COVID, 82% of company leaders will allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time.
Considering that many of your organization’s teams might move to a hybrid work model, how can you ensure that they remain collaborative when employees are always on the move?
1. Rethink your management style
Leading in a virtual environment requires agile, thoughtful management. Rather than commanding employees to do their best, enable them to do so. One way is to build some flexibility into the system.
For some employees, work conditions at home are less than ideal these days. Many parents have young children at home, and there are other difficult circumstances that are nobody’s fault, too. Consider offering staggered shifts, rotating days off, or other flexible arrangements.
2. Focus on the result, not the process
Trying to micromanage people while they work from home doesn’t go well. Management isn’t about measuring your employees’ time-in-seat, but rather their results.
Have short planning meetings with your team, so it’s clear what needs to happen, trust they know what they’re doing, and then step back and let them do it. Focus on the outcome, not the process.
3. Continue to recognize accomplishments
Put some effort into helping people feel connected to each other and your company’s culture. Recognizing good employees is one way to do that. It’s easy, free, and more valuable than you might realize.
One study found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive and that happy salespeople make 37% more sales.
Promoting your employees’ happiness can pay off in other ways, too. From 1998 to 2016, the stock prices of companies in Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” outperformed the market by 5% year over year.
Recognition doesn’t need to be monetary. You can acknowledge high-performing employees (and motivate others) with public acknowledgment, opportunities for development, and other low-cost perks.
4. Help employees prevent burnout
Some people work more hours at home because it’s harder to separate from the workplace.
Management can set the tone and expectation about switching off at the end of the day.
Let employees know they can put their phone on “do not disturb” mode when they’re off the clock and that they don’t need to check emails on weekends. Encourage them to set work limits and get a good night’s sleep.
5. Use technology that facilitates collaboration
How do organizations ensure communication and collaboration when their teams can be anywhere? Well, if we’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that even when employees are separated, technology keeps them together.
Cloud communications technology such as team messaging, video conferencing, and cloud phone became a critical part of every remote employee’s toolkit this year and a saving grace for businesses forced to shut down offices.
And as employees start to shift between working in offices and home, meeting rooms will play a deeper role in expanding collaboration. RingCentral Rooms™, for example, turns any meeting room into a video conferencing room, where employees in the office can physically meet with anyone who’s connected virtually.
By bringing on-site employees and remote employees together, these video conferencing rooms bridge the collaboration gap—as if everyone was in a meeting room together.
Supporting collaboration in the future of work
The future of work is definitely a distributed workforce. While there will still be offices, they will not be as necessary as they used to be. Employees may be working anywhere.
Using the right leadership and technologies helps you support and sustain your future organization wherever your employees are located.
Originally published Oct 22, 2020, updated Apr 15, 2021