Working remotely is no longer an exception at many companies—it has become the norm. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, more than one third of Americans were working from home, and many continue to do so. Industry leaders like Amazon and Facebook have announced they are changing their work-from-home policies to allow employees greater flexibility and more opportunities to work remotely.
These new policies regarding remote work will significantly change business processes—such as onboarding and document signing—and will also affect the way teams communicate and collaborate. While many industries will be impacted by these changes, certain professions that have historically relied on in-person interaction and identity verification will need to adapt. These include the real estate industry, the entertainment industry, and the legal industry.
A survey by the Pew Research Center found that more than half of employed adults would prefer to continue working from home even after the coronavirus outbreak ends, and 65 percent see remote technologies as a good substitute for in-person contact. However, about a quarter of workers say they are less satisfied with their job than they were before the pandemic, a third say they feel less connected to their co-workers, and 16 percent say it’s harder to know what their supervisor expects of them.
These numbers highlight the importance of effective communication and collaboration in a virtual setting. Employers and workers will need to take new approaches in order to capitalize on the benefits of virtual tools while supporting workplace morale and productivity.
Some of the best tips for improving remote collaboration include:
Establish consistency. Set recurring virtual meetings for the same time each day or each week. That way, teams know what to expect and how to prepare. Decide on primary communication channels—such as Slack or Zoom—and stick to them instead of sending communications through multiple channels.
- Minimize meetings. One of the biggest complaints of employees is “the meeting that could have been an email.” Virtual tools should make the workflow more streamlined and efficient, not act as a one-to-one substitute for in-person processes. To avoid “Zoom fatigue” and employee burnout, make sure you are utilizing automated systems to their ultimate potential.
- Be results-oriented. When working with a remote team, focus on tracking results and not the clock. Where in-person success metrics might revolve around how many hours were dedicated to a particular project, remote work is more goal-oriented. Set measurable, achievable goals for your team instead of worrying about clocking hours.
- Invest in the right tools. Implementing the right digital tools for your business needs is crucial to optimizing remote collaboration. Deciding on the right software means considering multiple factors, such as cost, effectiveness, security, and user-friendliness. Technology should make your business processes easier, not more complicated. For example, at Pruve, we prioritize making our remote document signing and onboarding software as simple and easy to use as possible so that it can be easily integrated into existing software and processes.
- Encourage friendship among workers. Studies have shown that employees are more productive, creative, and content when they feel a sense of belonging at work. While it is a bit more challenging to create workplace connections remotely, it is still possible. Try incorporating remote team building activities and opportunities for team members to get to know one another at a deeper level.
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