Here’s a copy-and-paste business case for hybrid and remote work you can share with your CEO and executive team: Embrace remote work.

If you really want to save time and money, remote work is one of the most cost-effective methods for retaining and recruiting talent.

In this post, we’ll take a look at:

  • A dozen competitive advantages to remote work
  • The problems executives face and how to address them
  • The five essential pillars to success in remote work.

Let’s get started with some quick-hitter competitive advantages.

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A dozen competitive advantages of remote work

  1. Save costs on office space. Research estimates savings of $10,600 per employee.
  2. Save time and commuting costs. Some report an employee could save up to $4,000 per year. This indirectly impacts salaries and could save companies money too.
  3. Hire nationally or internationally. Favorable exchange rates save you money.
  4. Reduce stress across your workforce. 71% of employees view their commute as a stressor.
  5. Improve engagement. Team members are happier, more productive, and more engaged when working remotely.
  6. Improve job satisfaction. Job satisfaction rises when companies allow employees to work from home.
  7. Improve retention rates. With over three-quarters of employees seeking flexibility, remote work can impact retention rates.
  8. Better work-life balance. Remote work leads to an improved quality of life with more freedom and flexibility.
  9. Increased productivity. Productivity rises when teams can focus in the comforts of home.
  10. More diversity. Increases in diversity and inclusion are not only morally important, but they can also impact profit margins significantly.
  11. 24/7 coverage. Asynchronous coverage helps customer support, sales, and other departments that directly impact your bottom line.
  12. More environmentally friendly. Remote work is better for the environment, which, in turn, positively impacts a company’s reputation.

Working from home works.

Challenges of remote work that really aren’t so challenging

When you start to think about remote work, a few challenges come to mind. Fortunately, they become easier to address when you shift your mindset.

Here are the not-so-tricky remote work challenges and the straightforward solutions you need to overcome them.

Mentoring, training, and development

It’s vital to highlight that hybrid and remote work does not limit the potential for mentorship, learning, and development.

At first, you might be wondering, “How can you coach team members in a remote work environment?”

The approach is comparable to how you would mentor, train, and develop in person. The big difference is that you are not face-to-face, so you must be extra personal.

There are three basic steps to fostering stronger mentoring connections with your team members:

  1. Get on the same page. What does each team member want to learn and develop? What do you need each team member to learn and develop?
  2. Come up with ideas together. Take some time to collaborate on how you can develop these skills together. We recommend brainstorming in 1:1 training sessions and sharing podcasts, courses, and blogs to follow.
  3. Keep sharing and follow through. Ask how team members are doing early and often. See if the tips are working or if you need to circle back to step two. Set the tone by reaching out to demonstrate genuine care, concern, and compassion toward your team. Also, ensure you’re available to answer questions whenever possible.

You can also look to retention statistics to justify the cost of future mentorship, training, and development investments.

Creativity and problem-solving

It is a frequent misconception that performing creative problem-solving tasks remotely is more challenging.

According to The State of Creative Collaboration study in 2023, 75% of creative collaboration happens remotely.

How teams spend most of their time collaborating

To stimulate creativity and problem-solving, you must develop flexible work arrangements emphasizing leadership, experimental culture, inclusive and compassionate conduct, and working efficiently — regardless of location.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to create a culture of physiological safety so each team member feels confident and safe to share their ideas. Motivate your team to think outside the box and provide a safe space for experimentation.

Creativity also requires tools and resources to thrive. You’ll still need to identify collaboration, project management software, and other tools your team uses to be productive. Identifying the tools your team needs will help eliminate barriers for your remote team.

Setting expectations

Establishing expectations and encouraging team members to do tasks simultaneously can be tough — especially as your team expands remotely. Automation and asynchronous communication are two possible solutions to this challenge.

Focus on being on the same page rather than working simultaneously.

The best way to do that? Create a single source of truth for your work. For example, a project management system that includes all projects and their timings could be useful.

Discover ways to automate tedious processes within your project management system to keep tasks flowing. Don’t forget to measure performance to reward teams that go above and beyond and help those missing the mark. 

Five Core Pillars to give your team space to do their work 

Whether hybrid or fully remote, implement these core remote work pillars to give your team the space to work well, however, whenever, and wherever they choose to work.

  1. Set clear expectations for everyone’s contribution to accomplishing business objectives
  2. Prioritize async communication, not sync communication
  3. Encourage the right collaboration
  4. Create a positive employee experience
  5. Take mental health and wellness seriously
Five core pillars to give your team space to do their work

1. Set clear expectations for everyone's contribution to accomplishing business objectives

2. Prioritize async communication, not sync communication

3. Encourage the right collaboration

4. Create a positive employee experience 

5. Take mental health and wellness seriously

1. Set clear expectations for everyone’s contribution to accomplishing business objectives

To keep your team motivated, you must help them understand how they contribute to the business’s success.

Is everyone on the team aware of the vision and their role within it?

Are your employees motivated?

What do you expect them to do daily?

Answer these questions. Then select your preferred communication and collaboration tools and how frequently you expect updates on progress. You can automate Stand-ups to reduce meeting time if you’re working async.

It’s important to conduct frequent check-ins with your employees to keep them on track and up to date on both personal and business goals. 

2. Prioritize async communication, not sync communication

Leverage the flexibility of remote work with asynchronous work. When you create flexible schedules for your team, both sides benefit:

Some of the benefits of working asynchronously

  • Individuals who are not physically present in the room are still included.
  • A multitude of time zones and working hours ensure 24/7 availability in client-facing roles
  • Positively impacts productivity.
  • Provides better work-life balance for employees
  • Can reduce burnout

Create an async policy rather than an SLA document. Evaluate all communication and collaboration apps and develop a communication standard.

Shift away from hyper-responsiveness and real-time communication toward more asynchronous communication. This allows employees to choose when, how, and where they work — and eliminate work-life balance issues in the process.

3. Encourage the right collaboration

There are tools to help you collaborate remotely and asynchronously. Create a team collaboration policy to identify the best times to collaborate.

For example, Meetings. Let’s take a look at some telling statistics from Zippia about the prevalence of meetings:

  • The average team member spends 31 hours each week in unproductive meetings
  • The average CEO spends 37 hours weekly in meetings (72% of their time). 
  • According to 65% of employees, meetings prohibit them from finishing tasks.

So ask yourself and your team a few questions:

What warrants a meeting?

Does the camera need to be on or off?

Who actually needs to be in the meeting?

That last question is especially important. Don’t forget to take Zoom fatigue into account.

We need to stop trying to make remote work the office. When you feel the need to overcorrect and get on a meeting, resist the temptation. ‍Reducing meetings is actually known to positively affect productivity.

How to begin fostering a positive culture of collaboration

  • Adapt to a flexible work environment
  • Take advantage of technology
  • Seek agreement on how others would like to collaborate.
  • Rebuild trust while accommodating differences 
  • Facilitate effective remote collaboration

4. Create a positive employee experience 

We understand. You’re running a company, and you want it to succeed. We feel the same way. We’re on the same team here.

However, we can’t stress enough how important it is to provide your team with the space they need to work best.

To give your team the space they need to function at their best, you must provide the following:

  • Benefits that avoid burnout  
  • Tools that make work easier
  • Connections or time to connect with others so we don’t feel lonely 
  • Work-Life Balance to reduce burnout and improve retention
  • Flexible work choices like the ability to work when and where we want

Creating a positive remote work environment is about understanding the value of working remotely.

Employees want and need the freedom and flexibility to live life and work when they’re at their best.

Employers can hire from anywhere, retain staff, and increase employee happiness — all while reducing costs.

5. Take mental health and wellness seriously

Identifying mental health and wellness red flags can be trickier when managing a team remotely.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on:

  • Are there team members who seem tired, defeated, negative, hold doubt towards themselves, or seem overwhelmed? They could be burnout. It is important to take note of energy levels in the team.
  • Have you noticed team members taking more sick days than usual? Or unexpected sick days? They could be unengaged or unhappy.
  • Is someone on the team missing deadlines, not contributing, not interacting with co-workers, skipping meetings, only talking about work, or not interested in career development? They could be lonely, experiencing loss, or struggling with an array of other mental health challenges.

Start taking mental health and wellness seriously. Offer benefits that allow team members to build connections in their local communities (PTO, VTO, and physical exercise subsidies). At the very least, create a culture of asking team members if they’re okay.

Observe changes in behavior and performance and use this as an opportunity to check in and provide additional support and coaching. 

Be human; we’re all adapting to remote work

No one expects you to be perfect. Just take the time to understand everyone’s circumstances, be flexible, and adapt to this new way of working (life).

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Category: Remote