The single biggest mistake companies can make is to opt to be remote-friendly instead of remote-first. Companies often accept the idea that remote is the future of work without creating an inclusive culture to ensure it works for everyone.
Remote-friendly environment: Employees are allowed to work remotely, but work is not optimized for it. There is a disconnect between office and remote employees and team meetings exclusively occur in a co-located time zone. Water cooler chat is a space for key decisions and presence is correlated with meaningful work. Communication is synchronous-first. Managers must work in the office.
Remote-first companies: Employees are empowered to adopt remote work. Real-time meetings are kept to a minimum and recorded. Decisions are made online and performance is measured by output, not by hours worked. Communication is asynchronous-first. Managers are encouraged to work from home.
Hybrid companies function best when the entire company is optimized for remote work. Successful hybrid teams set up processes to help their remote workers thrive alongside their office teammates.
Leadership must acknowledge the various challenges remote workers face and create solutions. Create a remote work policy that keeps remote workers and contractors from feeling like second class team members. Remote workers should feel fully connected and not missing a thing.
Remote work isn't new; it's just growing in popularity thanks to technology and the exposure to hashtags like #DigitalNomad and #WorkFromAnywhere on social media. Remote workers weren't born overnight when the internet was first created in the 1980s. Working remotely was the norm long before downtown offices and commuting even existed.
Just after WW2, there was a rise in corporate headquarters and larger office spaces and cubicles. During this time, the 8-hour workday was established.
Then came the advancements in computers and technology that lead to remote workers of today. The internet and public WiFi allowed employees to do everything they would in their cubicle, but outside the office. They can also work all hours of the day.
Executive Summary People who work on remote teams face communications challenges consistently. As more and more of our interactions happen digitally, we will continue to experience new forms of miscommunication and misunderstanding. The solution lies in building a skill set that reflects the demands of our digitally-driven age.
Body language. Even when we share the same space, the tone of a text or of an email is left wide open to interpretation and can generate anxiety.
The delay between our messages can often postpone or hide emotional reactions to our comments. Lacking an immediate response, we can become distracted, second-guess ourselves, or even grow frustrated with our teams.