As soon as the world went digital, office cubicles started to seem separated than the two-way conference calls happening across the globe. A recent survey sheds the light on the fact that people now spend more time interacting digitally than they do in a face-to-face environment. The reason is simple, with the help of technology we can be at more than one place at the same time.
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Digital interaction also has its pitfalls. But there is little that can be done about it. For example, when people are part of a group that includes individuals they barely know or wants to know (this can include co-workers as well), they prefer keeping things online. This is bad when it comes to developing communication skills. But this trend is hard to let go off. It is like coming of a new paradigm in the way we will build new rules to interact while at work or either socially.
In certain sense, this trend has already been embraced in the office workspaces. For example, in 2015 it was revealed during a survey that about a quarter of the workforce worked from home, full or part-time. And this was only increasing. Many business leaders believe (34% of them according to this survey) that by the end of 2020 more than half of their workforce will go remote. All these facts only mean that remote working is the future of growth.
So, we are left with the question of not why or when, but of how? How leaders and managers can build and maintain remote teams that create value for them? Let us see some steps to it:
Understanding Remote Work
The definition of remote work for most of the employers is 100%, which means doing all the work from home. But this is wrong. For example, many people regularly visit clients. Technically they are doing work remotely at that moment.
On this Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of a company that helps people find flexible jobs, says, “In most white-collar jobs, I’d say 99% of people are already working remotely in that they take work home. It creeps into our work style already. I think it’s just not formalized by either the employer or employee.”
It is also imperative for the managers to understand that many employees are attached to the company just because of the flexible workspace. As it allows them to create a balance between work pressure and other responsibilities at home. Whereas, for some, the idea to take a half day break and come back to the office the during weekend sounds like a very good deal.
A Forward Approach to Leadership
For remote teams, the old school way of commanding them through rigorous control mechanisms will not work. Because most of the times (not always) these control mechanisms are only in place so that manager is able to see the team working and feel positive about getting the worth of his money. Instead, leaders should recruit self-managing employees to work in the remote team. Employees who are fully aware of the company goals and are aligned to company’s purposes.
Also, a forward thinking manager will be more open to technology. He or she will embrace the forward approach that millennials bring with them if they want to achieve long-term growth and sustainability.
Managers should also take a note that the digital spoon generation has now reached their thirties. It means they have acquired management and leadership roles and have started bringing cultural changes to the workspace. For them, it is easy to understand that work can be fluid and be done from anywhere. So there is not much value to be put on the table for being around the worktable for its own sake.
Working on Company Culture
If you are ready to create remote teams, you will need a connective digital platform. Project management software like ProofHub can help. Next is to build a culture using the software as the backbone. The concept is to build a virtual space for your remote team. A cloud-based platform will help you to automate the organization of important information and help with real-time remote collaboration.
Remote culture doesn’t stop at this. Since you work on a cloud-based platform it means clients and other stakeholders can be brought on board. Projects can be integrated with a feedback loop (by making clients a part of the review process) thus making it easy to meet deadlines by knowing what the client wants at every stage of the project.
Finally, working remotely has its pitfalls as well (which I will discuss in one of my future posts). Not all your employees will be trustworthy and not all the work can be done remotely. But there will always be value to be extracted from the concept of remote work. And that’s what future managers should aim for.
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Sandeep Kashyap is the Founder of ProofHub — a leading project management and collaboration software. A passionate leader, Sandeep is always on the lookout for innovative ideas about filling the communication gap between groups, teams and companies. He is also a featured writer on LinkedIn and a contributing author at YourStory. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Also follow our company page @ProofHub to get the recent updates about our tool, published articles, motivational quotes & presentations.
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Originally published at LinkedIn.com