Methods for Making the Switch from Traditional Offices to Virtual Teams

In recent years, with the Millennial and Gen Z generations entering the workforce, remote working, otherwise known as telecommuting, has seen a rapid rise in popularity. This is not only due to the younger generations’ increased demand for flexible working, but also because of research conducted by Global Workplace Analytics which has revealed that 80% or more of employees would benefit from having the option to work remotely at least occasionally. In light of this, and with the added impetus of the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses have been making the transition to remote employment.

At Visage Recruitment, we have gained considerable insight regarding the advantages and challenges of remote working due to our experience as a remote recruitment firm. As such, we believe that other organizations can benefit from our knowledge and learn from our experiences. Whether you are considering remote labor as a short-term solution to the current pandemic or as a permanent option for the future, understanding the implications of this type of working arrangement is essential. To help you make the transition to remote flexibility, we have compiled a few tips to assist you.

Methods for Easing Your Staff into Telecommuting

Working from home doesn’t have to be all or nothing. In reality, when it comes to remote employment, three sorts of businesses exist:

  • Working in a team within an office setting has become increasingly rare in recent years. Instead, employees now have the option to use a range of remote technologies to communicate with colleagues and clients based in different locations. This means that the concept of a ‘home office’ is no longer relevant in today’s business environment.
  • Mixed-type squads. Many individuals nowadays choose to work from home rather than commute to an office.
  • Separated Corporations. The whole team is spread out around the country right now.

Are you considering transitioning from a traditional office-based working environment to one where you can work remotely? Before you make the switch, it is important to assess how close you already are to being able to work in this new way. For a business to successfully implement teleworking, there are certain requirements that must be met.

Setting Guidelines for Telecommuting

One of the key elements of a successful remote working relationship is effective communication with colleagues who are also working remotely. It is important to establish and agree on expected working hours and any flexibility around this, as well as how success will be measured. Additionally, it is important to decide what communication channels will be used and whether there is a budget for any workplace supplies and furnishings.

It is important to consider the other aspects of working remotely, such as the type of professional attire to be worn during video conferences and the usage of social media. To support employers in this, there are various templates available which can provide the basis of a remote worker policy.

Resources for Telework

As cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) become increasingly widespread, more and more workplace tools are becoming available for remote use. To ensure that your remote team is able to remain productive, we have put together a helpful list of tool categories that could be useful to you.

  • Conferencing Using Audio and Visual Means
    Effective communication is of utmost importance for any organization, but this becomes even more vital when staff members are working in different locations across the world. Being in close proximity to each other in an office environment provides the opportunity to observe and gain insight into the progress of one’s colleagues both mentally and professionally. Therefore, it is imperative to maintain contact with your colleagues while working remotely. There are a variety of video conferencing platforms available, such as Zoom and GoTo Meeting, which are widely used.
  • Communication Platforms That Don’t Require Real-Time Interaction
    At times, a straightforward message via a platform such as Slack or the Ping feature on Basecamp can be sufficient to reinvigorate contact when communication has been less frequent in person. Your remote worker will be grateful for the opportunity to respond to this communication at a time that best suits them.
  • Direction of Activities
    If you are already taking advantage of a project management system, such as Basecamp, Asana, Trello or Monday.com, then you are already equipped to work remotely. These systems are easily transferable and can be accessed on any computer or mobile device. Now is an opportune moment to switch away from your traditional pen and paper approach, and choose something more effective.
  • Collaboration
    Despite the notion that remote working may impede the ability to collaborate effectively with colleagues, this is no longer the case. Advances in technology have made it much simpler to work with colleagues from all over the world, thanks to the vast number of online tools that are available. Screen-sharing software has revolutionized the way we share information, with virtual meetings, seminars, presentations and whiteboard collaboration now commonplace. Furthermore, real-time collaboration on documents is now a reality, providing opportunities for remote workers to work together seamlessly.
  • Tracking Changes in Multiple Versions
    As a developer, it is essential to understand the importance of a reliable version control system. This will help to avoid confusion and conflict, and will ultimately save time and effort. Github is the most popular version control system, however, it is not the only one available. There are numerous other version control systems available to choose from, which can be implemented to ensure the smooth running of a distributed team.
    It is essential that all aspects of your work, not just your code, are kept organised. If you and your colleagues are working together on documents, images, promotional materials or any other tasks, it is important that you structure your drafts in an orderly fashion. Useful organisational tools that can assist you in this endeavour include PleaseReview and SamePage.

Works‘ President discusses his knowledge and expertise with remote work tools:

Communication

The ability to communicate efficiently is essential for the success of remote teams. This is not because people who work from home are reliant on instructions and will become lost without a plan; rather, it is because those who work remotely are typically independent thinkers who are capable of finding creative solutions to any challenges that arise. If they become disconnected from the rest of the team, they might choose to go it alone, which could result in a positive outcome or could lead to everyone going their separate ways.

Conversely, too much conversation could hinder staff productivity. It is important to ensure that staff are not constantly interrupted as this could give the impression that you are not confident in their abilities or, at the very least, limit their ability to perform to the best of their capabilities.

For the best outcomes, we recommend having a clear and established policy regarding all forms of communication and when they should be used. It is advisable to avoid sending humorous content to work emails or posting it in the #watercooler Slack channel if a serious message needs to be conveyed. It is essential to determine the most appropriate method of contact and work together with your team to set up a regular schedule for updates that all members of the team can agree to.

It is important to remember that when much of our communication is conducted through text, we do not have the benefit of being able to read a person’s body language to gain context for what is being said. Textual communication can often lead to misunderstandings as it can be difficult to really convey the tone of voice or eye contact that could be present in a face-to-face conversation. To help avoid this, it is recommended that we take the time to reread our messages before sending them, as well as using Hanlon’s Razor to ensure that nothing is said which could be interpreted as offensive, when this was not the intended meaning. This should become standard practice in any communication.

Invariably at Home?

A successful employee can work from anywhere, whether they’re at their desk wearing their pyjamas, or by the pool in Bali. However, working from home can be a lonely experience, so it may not be suitable for everyone over an extended period of time. This doesn’t mean that remote working is not a viable option. It could just be that your remote worker needs some interpersonal contact and regular ‘face time’ with their colleagues, which can be achieved by meeting at a coffee shop or library a few hours a week. If a more permanent solution is needed, there are coworking spaces available in most major cities.

Finding the Best Candidate

If you are looking for a developer or other technical expertise to join your remote team, we can help. As a small, specialized recruitment firm, we are dedicated to locating qualified candidates to fill remote technical positions. We typically can find a suitable candidate between two and four weeks. Does this sound like something that could benefit you? If so, please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

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