Our client companies run the gamut from entirely in-person to almost exclusively remote, with many variations between the extremes. I thought it would be fun to ask them what kinds of challenges to expect when moving more of the workforce to remote. What follows are the top three concerns I’ve heard from clients, with a little of my own experience thrown in.
Remote employees can feel like second-class citizens. When employees are either all on-site or all remote, this is not an issue. But when there is a mixture of both, it is easy for the remote employees to feel left out. Everybody agreed communication is key, but one company also threw in the occasional mixer where all employees were encouraged to grab their favorite drink and hop on Zoom for a half-hour of purely social interaction.
Concerns that the remote employees are working. This is a more significant struggle for employers who think more about paying for time rather than paying for results. The more you can make expectations about results rather than hours logged with your remote workers, the more success you are likely to experience. As an easy example, think of how we historically treat sales. Instead of hours worked, we typically set expectations of the number of calls, number of proposals, and amount of sales. The challenge (and opportunity!) is to think through each remote worker’s role in terms of desired outcomes. If the employee is crushing it on desired outcomes the actual number of hours worked becomes less critical. The danger here, though, is overworking our remotes. Be sure to set realistic goals and encourage healthy work/life boundaries.
Tech problems. I’m not an IT professional and won’t pretend to tell you how to solve all your tech problems. However, I will encourage you to prepare for extra tech expenses as more and more of your team goes remote.