The pandemic changed many things about our world. With everyone stuck at home, companies and employees alike had to quickly convert their offices into laptops set on the dining room table. Remote work became necessary and grew exponentially. What wasn’t expected was that it would remain popular after the world opened up again. Businesses and employees benefited from the flexibility of working remotely and reported better results in both their personal and professional lives. Years have pass, but it may still be hard to adjust from managing an “in-house” team to an “at-their-house” team. Here are some of our tips for how to sustain flexibility for your remote and hybrid workers.

The importance of good management and flexibility

We probably don’t need to tell you, but poor management is one of the top reasons employees leave their jobs. Many managers are trained to handle issues in the office, but may struggle with discipline without face-to-face interaction. Combined with the need to plan and oversee projects, having their employees spread out across different locations (and in some cases, countries) might be more difficult than they initially thought. Some companies responded to this by demanding employees return to the office, but the businesses that ultimately thrived learned how to embrace the flexibility their workers loved. Remote workers said they had a better work-life balance, started performing better and became more committed to the company that allowed them this freedom. With all this being said, management mindsets have to change to foster this growth.

From control to trust

Micromanaging is pretty non-existent with remote work. What was once popping your head into someone's cubicle every hour for updates is now a Slack message that may or may not be answered. While this may seem frustrating, it allows employees to better focus on their work and create a schedule that works for them. We aren’t saying “Let them create their own deadlines,” but rather trust them to complete a project in the given timeframe without putting each step on your timetable.

Time worked to results measured

Speaking of trust, gone are the days of measuring an employee's worth by the hours they have clocked. Businesses and people alike are realizing that a better work-life balance creates better results than putting in a 50-hour work week. Working from home allows employees to handle quick errands, personal calls, and even make a homemade lunch. While you might see worked hours going down, try focusing more on results. If work is done faster and to a higher standard, then ditch the clock!

Keep the office parties

This piece of advice can be taken two ways. If your remote workers are still within reasonable proximity of your company, consider inviting them to any parties that in-house workers have. On the flip side, if your team is only remote or U.S.-based, then bring the party to them! Weekly team meetings, employee recognition programs, or check-ins with all employees can still bring that sense of connection many may be lacking.

Give the same opportunities

It may be easy to gloss over the workers who aren’t in front of you when it comes to promotion, but you mustn’t let that happen. Keeping them in mind when hiring for a higher role serves two purposes. One, promoting internally makes employees more committed to company growth. Two, promoting remote workers reminds them they are still very much part of the team and sends the message that their work doesn’t just get sent into the void of office computers. If your business offers any kind of advanced training or education, make sure your remote workers know it and have the same opportunities to participate.

Promote a work-life balance

Many think remote workers don’t work as much as in-house members, but that isn’t true. Many remote workers claim it is hard to switch out of work mode since both life and work take place in the same house. Others stay “on” 24/7 as it’s easy to work right up till bedtime or answer just one more email while sitting at the dinner table. Encourage breaks or consider giving your workers required “off hours” with their schedule. Of course, another easy way to promote that balance is to have it yourself! Try to refrain from sending emails when you know workers should be with family. This not only takes the load off of them, it encourages you to create that oh-so-needed balance as well.

Create a digital HQ

One thing that even employees might find difficult is the lack of help when something goes wrong. You can't peek over your cubicle for help or rush to IT when the computer isn’t working like it should. Online work might also introduce new systems and needs. Work with your employees to create the resources they need and stay up to date on work-from-home systems to provide the best methods for chatting, emailing, and video conferencing.

Fostering the flexibility that comes with remote and hybrid work can launch your business into the future. Not only will this help with performance, but you will see happier employees who want to stay.

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