According to CNBC, on a global level, 70 percent of workers work remotely at least once a week. This number includes contract workers, full-time workers, and even office workers who travel as part of their jobs. Remote work offers a number of advantages for both employers and employees, but also poses a number of challenges. The technology required for remote working is well-established; cloud-based services make it simple to share documents and files of all types, and to track progress through project-management tools. For many employees and employers, the work is not the problem; the problem is creating a healthy and supportive organizational culture for remote workers.
Creating Community for Remote Workers
For some organizations, supporting remote workers is relatively easy–they may appear in the office with some regularity and feel a part of the office culture and community. These are the employees who work from home or a travel destination some of the time, but also work in a traditional office environment. Many other remote workers work remotely on a full-time basis, and may have little or no access to face-to-face contact. When remote workers are isolated, it is essential to create organizational communities for those workers, even if they’re not physically in the office. There are a number of ways to do this:
- Host staff meetings over video conferencing, rather than relying on email.
- Schedule time for casual interactions over video conferencing, or encourage remote workers to use on-demand video conferencing when they need to work with others.
- Assign remote workers to projects together or with staff in a physical office location so they have a chance for interaction, rather than working alone all the time.
- Create teams based on time zones to support synchronous interaction, and offer opportunities for asynchronous interaction, like discussion feeds.