Industry leaders across the globe have changed their operating models to cope with the COVID-19 crisis. Over the next five to ten years, Facebook will let about 50 percent of its employees telecommute permanently. Google announced they’re in the remote mode until summer 2021. Shopify says they will keep offices closed till the end of the year. Twitter, Square, Upwork, and many others continue working from home. These facts show that the future of work will mainly consist of teleworking. But how to organize effective telecommuting? How to get from silos to streamlined teamwork? To navigate you through the dark times, TEAM International shares its proven remote working solutions.

Embrace Agile approach

Organizational agility is a growing trend among businesses today. Statistics show that agile companies perform much better than those that stick to other methodologies. While working remotely due to pandemic, even more entrepreneurs see the need to go agile. This approach helps businesses adjust to changes and accelerate decision-making amidst the crisis.

Sounds awesome, right? Indeed, shifting your business operations and processes to Agile requires time. However, it pays off in the long run. To facilitate your migration and help you experience all the advantages of remote working, we’ve asked our managers to share their tips and tricks. So, going agile, be sure to:

  • Embrace changes instead of blindly following a plan. Agile methodologies suggest flexibility and quick adaptability to any changes. So, we advise splitting tasks into short iterations to alter your direction anytime with minimal losses.
  • Encourage self-organizing teams. This principle says the best results emerge from self-organizing teams. For example, allow your development or HR team to arrange their workflow themselves and take responsibility for their outcomes. 
  • Analyze and adjust regularly. “Plan-Do-Learn-Adapt” is the motto of agile companies. Analyze and discuss with the teams how to become more productive and tweak your processes accordingly.

Accelerate innovation and digitalization 

You may be wondering how technology will change the future of work. The pandemic crisis has ramped up the shift to digital transformation. The companies that have started DT before the crisis and pursue it now see significant productivity and customer experience improvements. Consider how the retail industry switched to contactless delivery and shopping, healthcare organizations to telemedicine solutions, and banks to online channels. Industrial companies started to deploy the Internet of Things (IoT) for better collaboration with suppliers, inventory management, and procurement optimization. Going digital helps businesses survive in a rapidly changing world.

With the growing tendency toward telecommuting and digitalization, the rise of outsourcing and outstaffing services is hardly surprising. What used to be challenging, terrifying, and difficult is now everydayness. Moreover, partnerships with outsourcing companies emerge as a good option for organizations with little to no expertise in emerging technologies or have no resources to drive the change. Hiring a remote team to develop a comprehensive DT strategy and make it work is common today, and such an approach bears fruit in the form of a seamless and smooth process, proven tools and techniques, and faster implementation.

Focus on outcomes, not processes

When people work on-site, they have a proper environment and a clear schedule. They used to balance their private life and work in a particular way. Meanwhile, now many employees have to juggle their work-life balance and overtime constantly. The latter can lead to decreased productivity and emotional burnout. 

Help your teams to make their workflow most convenient and efficient. For instance, ask them to set working hours in calendars and schedule all the meetings within this time period. Define a clear goal and its deadline for the employees but don’t monitor every step of the process. Focus on what they deliver, not on how they do that.

Promote collaboration and inclusion 

Remote work brings its benefits to employees, but at the same time, staying isolated for long can affect their emotional state. As we know from our experience, many office workers have found it challenging to participate in a multitude of video calls as they differ from usual on-site meetings. Some employees miss their daily coffee breaks with colleagues, small talks in the kitchen, or face-to-face teamwork. Shaking someone’s hand, making eye contact, and interacting informally creates a special bond between people and makes work more pleasant. To help your team cope with the lack of in-person communication, we share our observations and advice. 

One of the workable approaches we know is to leave some time during daily meetings and let employees discuss any off-work topic. Another idea is to create individual chats and groups to initiate less formal interactions between people. Other approaches include arranging online social events and conferences, virtual coffee rooms, and others. 

All these methods create an emotional connection and social cohesion in distributed teams. As a result, you get a happier workforce that delivers even better results than before. 

Final thoughts on the future of work

If you hope that the way we worked before will go back: just stop, it won’t. The pandemic rules dictate what the future of work we all must accept. As business executives and managers, we have no choice but to accept the changes and set our hands to quickly adapt to them.

Now, this is the right time for entrepreneurs to change their mindset towards technology and innovation. Consequently, businesses will gain the necessary resilience, scalability, and productivity, whatever the working and market conditions may be in the future. 

However, with all the rush for innovation and agility, we can hardly ignore the fact that people are the core of any organization. It’s they who stand behind any business success. That’s why, dedicate some time to cheer up and support your team, articulate your goals and plans, and encourage them to become a part of the change. 

Over almost 30 years in the business, we’ve set up hundreds of remote teams for industry leaders globally. We know what works and what doesn’t and now use our knowledge and best practices to help organizations stabilize their operations and adapt to the ‘new normal.’ So far, TEAM International has helped hundreds of companies to transform smoothly and thrive.