Remote work has become a reality for many and may become a permanent fixture at some companies, like Twitter. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently gave employees the choice to continue to work from home even after COVID-19 lockdowns are lifted.
But even before the pandemic, working remotely was a rising trend. In CloudApp’s State of Collaboration report, they discovered that around 50% of people work from home at least one day a week, and 25% of people work from home at least two to three days a week.
There are two major drivers behind this shift. The first is that working remotely is good for business. It increases worker productivity, cuts down on costs (an average of $10,000 on real estate expenses), and improves retention rates. The second is that the new workforce wants to work from home — especially after coronavirus restrictions provided a taste of remote work life.
As remote work becomes the new norm, the focus sharpens on making working from home streamlined, productive, and easy. How do you keep in touch, stay organized, and share files quickly when everyone is in a different place and possibly even different time zones?
The answer is multifaceted. A successful remote working team must have the right people and the right tools.
The Right People for Remote Working
Working remotely isn’t for everyone. Some thrive in a situation with more freedom, and some don’t. A good remote worker has some basic characteristics: self-discipline, strong communication skills, remote work experience, and tech savviness.
Unlike in a structured office environment, the home is full of distractions and temptations. Everything is just a short walk away – the bed, the refrigerator, the TV. A successful remote worker must have the self-discipline to stay focused on work or things won’t get done.
Strong Communication Skills
Working with a geographically distributed team means that effective communication is more important than ever. Strong communication skills prevent confusion and redundancy to maximize productivity.
Remote Work Experience
One way to increase the chances of finding a good fit for a remote working situation is to choose someone with prior experience. Someone with experience will already have a routine in place that works for them, reducing the steepness of the remote work learning curve.
Technology is what makes remote work possible, so it’s essential that a remote worker understands how to use tools like Zoom or G-Suite. A good remote worker either already knows how to use common remote work technology or is able to learn things quickly.
The Right Tools for Remote Working
Speaking of tech savviness, the second necessity of a successful remote working team is the right tools. There are many options out there, some better than others. The remainder of this article will introduce some crowd favorites for remote work.
AirSend is an all-in-one remote work tool that you can use to send messages, share and organize files, collaborate on documents, and track tasks. It’s comprehensive capabilities make it the ultimate power tool for remote working. Compared to Slack, the other popular option, AirSend shines because of its read receipts, Office 365 integration, and ability to easily create workspaces for as many parties (teams, clients, friends etc.) as you want with no additional cost or hassle.
After security issues were unveiled, Zoom has taken steps to make its video conferencing product safer to use and remains the top choice for many when it comes to face-to-face video conferencing and screen sharing. Friends use it to host game nights where they play Jackbox games, and workplaces use it for everything from company-wide meetings to customer demos.
Created to provide a user-friendly, Kanban-style way of managing tasks and projects, Trello is a pleasure to use. The ability to make interactive to-do lists with boards and cards that you can easily drag-and-drop is invaluable when working with a distributed team. Trello is used to manage projects, teams, and businesses of all types and sizes.
G-Suite includes Gmail, Google docs, Google sheets, and a whole host of other products that work seamlessly with one another. Great for collaboration because of its easy sharing and permissions, putting a team on G-Suite can cut down on a lot of unecessary cost and hassle.
The Future of Remote Work
Although restrictions due to COVID-19 have accelerated the shift, an increasingly distributed workforce has always been the natural conclusion of technological progress and new business and worker mindsets.
As remote work becomes the new norm, new theories and research will arise on how to successfully make and manage a remote working team. However, the basis of these theories will always be about the people and the tools they use. With the right people and the right tools, a remote working team can find success in any environment.