Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

Transitioning to remote work has had its share of challenges and opportunities.  A recent study by Airtasker discovered that remote workers in comparison to their in-office counterparts worked 1.4 days more each month, which leads to three additional weeks of working hours put in per year.  There was no difference in the quality of work between remote and in-office personnel, according to the study.

A big reason for this increased productivity vis-à-vis in-office work is due to the pre-pandemic ways of collaboration, communication, and task completion have changed drastically. This is why any attempts to simulate the office environment for remote workers could prove to be counterintuitive for your business. Instead, employing a remote-first approach could do wonders. Based on insights from Forbes, let’s delve deeper into remote working mistakes to avoid so as to maximize revenues.

Avoid way too many digital and technological tools

Many organizations have a similar problem: They allow myriad teams to address similar problems with very different tools.  By using interchangeable products, not only is the employees’ valuable time wasted but company resources are also misused.  Further, having different tools could create challenges when it comes to projects where these teams are required to collaborate.

Keeping things simple with processes and tools shall minimize redundancies. Choosing just one tool to solve a specific need-gap across the organization for video calls, task management, and document storage among other processes and tasks could help bring a greater degree of clarity.

Having too many apps also means the surface area for cybersecurity attacks is increased. Ostensibly, a data breach could not only affect a company’s revenue but also its reputation. According to a cybersecurity report by RiskBased, In the first half of 2020, data breaches led to a leak of 36 billion records.

Not setting clear expectations

Communication be a challenge if your employees are new to working remotely and there are no established protocols. For instance, one might assume that having read a message is suffice when the sender expects you to respond. This can lead to confusion, misunderstandings, and ambiguity.  The sender may expect a response within 24 hours whereas the recipient reckons that everything should be fine as long as emails are responded to within the week. Such communication gaps can prove to be expensive for your organization.

This is why having explicit agreements about communication need gaps, is the key to addressing such challenges. Having a clear mandate about how each tool is expected to be used and what the response times are can help avoid potential conflicts. According to research by PwC,   the companies playing catch-up are the ones that have not created a secure WFH structure or clear rules and policies. Accelerating investments in virtual collaboration and innovation, as well as scheduling and safety, is required to optimise the hybrid workplace. Over 60% of executives expect increased spending on virtual collaboration technologies and manager training in the near future.

Don’t rely on real-time conversations too much

When individuals talk about office communication and cooperation, they usually mean real-time or synchronous information exchanges like meetings and seminars. However, significant knowledge can be exchanged on your own time or through asynchronous engagements as well. An article by Forbes highlights that the most successful remote businesses can go back and forth between asynchronous and synchronous communication and cooperation, maximising productivity, inclusivity, and well-being.

The road ahead

Transitioning to remote work can act as a win-win for employees and organizations alike. However, building successful remote working collaboration while maintaining productivity requires organizations to re-think their approach towards remote working by discarding conventions.

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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