The other day I got asked the following question from a client regarding building remote teams:
How can an employer evaluate their workforce to determine which jobs can be done while working remotely?
Well, great question!
In our session, we came up with a strategy to help this company to determine what jobs could be done remotely. And these were more than this CEO expected!
And since this is such an interesting topic, I wanted to share the main points of the consult with you as well.
Why would you want to move to a remote workforce?
The first, most important question we talked about is why this company wants to evaluate their workforce towards working remotely in the first place. Although it is not suitable or advisable for all companies, it might very well be for yours.
In general, you will find there are so many advantages of workforces working remotely:
- You can attract and maintain the best talents from all over the world.
- The quality of life of your employees will improve.
- They will be happier and more productive.
- No more inefficient meetings.
- Your company will be more likely to achieve the desired results.
- And you will save a lot of money on not having an office space.
Just to name a few!
[Read also: Remote work: 7 reasons why it leads to company success]
Despite the advantages and the proven success, the idea of a team working remotely makes people uncomfortable. The conception that work needs to be done in a certain space is very much imprinted in our way of thinking.
In my view, determining which jobs can be done while working remotely is more of a cultural aspect than anything else. When the right cultural aspects are being met, there are many jobs that can be done while working remotely. Much more than you would think, as was the case with this company!
Here are 5 areas we talked about in order to start building remote teams and choose which jobs can be done while working remotely
Self-examine ‘old beliefs’ and re-evaluate them
First of all, it is important to understand that we all have an influenced paradigm. It’s influenced by the ideas from the industrial age. Ideas like: ‘work is a place where you go to’, ‘you need to work 8 hours a day’ and ‘employees cannot be trusted.’
Someone once said to me
“ I could work remotely but my manager should be in the office because he has a bigger responsibility.
I asked her: “Why? If his team is working remotely why does he need to be in the office? What is he going to do there just sitting all by himself? “
We talked about to what extent these paradigms were present in the company and what we could do to address it.
Identify location-dependent tasks
On a more technical level, we started with identifying the tasks (not the roles) that truly can only be done from one specific location (the office). Identifying tasks makes you more open to working remotely. With analyzing the roles, you might be limited because of your implicit ideas about work.
If you are aiming to make your workforce as remote as you can, make sure to be creative. Brainstorm a little to find solutions and think outside the box.
For example, you might say you need a receptionist to receive guests or clients. But is it really necessary to meet these guests in the office? Or can your employees meet those guests in meeting spaces that are hired when necessary? You can have your Virtual Assistant arrange it. (See what we just did during this consult? HUGE cost reduction here by thinking outside of the “office box”)
Review the limitations of your IT systems
In my experience, working remotely is sometimes difficult. Like when IT doesn’t allow you to access certain systems outside the office network. IT departments can be very limiting.
They want to protect data (which is their job, after all) and the easiest way is to limit outside access. Of course, we discussed the IT limitations and possible solutions.
High overall levels of responsibility
Make sure the levels of responsibility are high throughout the organization. The freedom that comes with working remotely can only be successful if there is a high sense of responsibility. This is one of the most important conditions to become successful as a remote team.
The best way to start a remote team: just try it!
And my final advice: just try it!
If the above conditions are met, it is just a matter of starting. But maybe you want to build a year of trying and learning before going fully remote.
Try working remotely one week per quarter, like Soma does! Let everyone try working remotely during this week. Evaluate how it goes, see what problems and challenges arise. Then see how you could deal with them in a creative way.
Now it is your turn
What about your company? Do you have any remote roles? And are you looking to identify more? Apply for a discovery call to see how we can help you out here!
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash