Remote workers, now familiar with the benefits of working from home, are fighting back—and they have a workforce shortage on their side as a bargaining chip.
It’s clear that businesses need happy, productive talent on their side if they are to flourish in the near future. Far from being a reversible blip, remote work is now the pathway to an optimized and modern workforce.
Here’s why a remote work strategy still makes sense if you want to empower your employees, boost morale, and get the most out of your workforce.
1. Work-life balance
Offering employees the work-life balance that comes with remote and hybrid work remains a powerful recruitment and retention tool.
Up to two-thirds of businesses are struggling to recruit as demand for workers outstrips supply for the first time in over 50 years. In this environment, giving your team members the opportunity to skip the commute and get an average of 5 hours each week back for themselves can set your business apart.
The flexible, asynchronous communication that usually accompanies remote work has also been linked with higher morale, employee engagement, and productivity.
Cuts the risk of sick days and starting late (by slicing stress and sidestepping rush hour delays and office bugs)
Allows employees to tend to personal errands in a more balanced way which doesn’t detract from work
Eliminates wasted non-productive time spent in the office environment
Making your employees happier, healthier and with greater access to free time as a remote workforce can only benefit their long-term productivity for your organization.
2. Get the best team for the job
An empowered workforce is one with the suitable skills and experience needed to effectively and repeatedly do their jobs, and push your business to success.
Basing your workforce around the physical nucleus of an office space isn’t always compatible with this objective.
Imagine you meet the perfect Sales Director, Marketing Manager, or HR executive at an industry networking dinner out of town. You get talking. They’re unhappy in their current role. They’re looking for a new opportunity. They’re highly experienced, motivated, and compatible with your operation.
But when it comes to discussing a potential move:
“So where are you based?”
“Ahh… that’s a shame. We’re in Denver.”
Awkward sip of champagne. End of conversation.
Now imagine you’re a remote business:
“So where are you based?”
“Great city. When can you start?”
You now have a new superstar on your team. Congratulations!
This approach, of course, works at scale too, and gives you access to the best talent on a national or even international basis. Instead of restricting your hiring radius to the rough average of 30 miles, you can make it as large and inclusive as you want with a virtual team.
More experience, expertise, and skill in-house? More workforce power and improved productivity.
3. Access info and people
Going remote also forces your business to think about how employees access day-to-day info in the absence of physical contact.
Remote work culture demands mechanisms for sharing information quickly and easily across cities, states, countries, and continents, often in real time. Boosting communication with tools like Jostle becomes indispensable, and you need to consider how to arm your staff with everything they need to independently do their jobs in a way that isn't necessary in an office induction. Managing a remote company the right way can all contribute to a greater sense of comfort and help employees feel empowered: the information they need is at hand because it has to be. Corridors stuffed with bewildering filing cabinets are replaced with cloud-based platforms that make working at any home office seamless.
Going remote, if you do it properly, also demands deliberate and conscious communication to connect your scattered teams. All-hands meetings, for instance, are a great way to connect and empower staff with shared information about the company’s progress and goals. And because there are no ‘closed doors’ or access impediments like in a physical office or a multi-site setup, all teams are accessible in the same way when they work remotely. Search for the CEO, a member of the sales team, or a product engineer in your comms tool, and voilà: instant real-time access. No more silos.
My company, Qualio, is a great example of this. As a provider of quality management software to life science companies, we naturally have to think about process optimization and making vital quality data easily accessible and actionable for our customers. We also apply this logic internally.
We use digital platforms for bouncing questions, sharing updates, and working as one international team. Online, my teammates can find a structured library for searching for information from customer success, sales, product, and marketing teams, among others. On top of that, non-work channels for topics like football, gardening, and pets help create a connected company culture.
Ever been to a virtual office with a dedicated space for talking about dogs? Didn’t think so.
These small remote-specific touches can go a long way to making your colleagues feel connected, satisfied, and empowered day-to-day.
4. Trust and autonomy
Ultimately, remote working only works by trusting employees to do their jobs. In the absence of standing over your workers’ shoulders, checking work, and being able to walk across the room to ask them something, remote work forces you to empower your staff to be independent, flexible, autonomous, and proactive.
As we’ve already seen, asynchronous work allows you to recruit and retain the best people for your company and, in turn, give them greater work-life balance. But it should also be naturally accompanied by trust and respect, giving staff the opportunity to plan and execute their own work, in their own time, from anywhere they feel comfortable.
Check-up meetings and status updates are, of course, unavoidable for modern work—but they should be seen by your colleagues as helpful touchpoints rather than impediments that sap autonomy.
A stifling micromanagement culture finds it much more difficult to survive in a remote environment. And with remote recruitment unlocking access to the best possible talent, why would you need one?
There’s a reason remote workers are fighting to hang onto their new way of life and why smart businesses are letting them keep it. Remote work offers mutually beneficial empowerment of staff which can unlock powerful rewards for your company.
Empower your workforce with more free time, independence, information and talent, and they’ll pay you back in kind.
Learn how a tool like Jostle can help you build remote work culture.