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Trends in Remote Work: Navigating the Future of Distributed Teams

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Over the years, business workplaces are changing and taking a global and inclusive shape. Workplace changes come with the need to source for talents across different shores resulting in distributed teams within organisations of various sizes. Having distributed teams means that companies will need to come up with innovative work models that accommodate the requirements of their new team structures and drive seamless productivity and synergy across departments.

At first thought, it is easy to prescribe the remote work model as the best fit for this workplace shift. Still, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The right strategy depends on your strategic business and talent objectives, the industries and regions you are operating in, and your company culture. When making the remote work model a choice, there’s a need to factor in recent trends and how they can be used to navigate the future of distributed teams.

Building and Maintaining a Remote Company Culture
In a recent poll on Twitter, netizens were asked about the weirdest reason that made them resign from a job. Most of the replies to that question were concerns that pointed to an issue with the company culture or policies. One of the challenges of remote work is building and maintaining a strong company culture when employees are geographically dispersed. Companies can build rapport amongst distributed teams and maintain a remote company culture through regular check-ins, virtual team-building activities, virtual town hall meetings, and creating opportunities for cross-functional collaboration.

Companies could offer employees perks like employee recognition, workspace upgrade, employee discounts and rewards, home office budget, and performance bonuses or freebies. For instance, if team members love to play casino games, the company could provide them with bonus codes from sites like bonusfinder.co.uk. With these codes, they could find new casinos and play their favourite casino games at subsidised rates or even for free. For example, Google offers free food, massages and yoga, free vehicle washes and oil changes, a playroom, back-up child care assistance, and tuition reimbursement worth $12,000 as perks. In 2010, Scripps Health gave out almost $4 million worth of employee bonuses for meeting performance targets. Timberland gives employees discounts on merchandise and over 40 hours of paid sabbatical leave as perks.

The impact of such activities reflects in the workplace by leading to a healthy, fun and friendlier work environment that fosters growth, improves talent retention and creates a cohesive remote company culture.

Well-being and Work-Life Balance
The arrival of remote work has brought with it the need for employee well-being and work-life balance. While the flexibility of remote work can be a boon, it can also blur the boundaries between personal and professional life. A study by Workhuman found that 4 in 10 employees plan to find new jobs thanks to burnout and stress. Companies should prioritise initiatives that promote employee well-being, such as virtual wellness programs, mental health support, and flexible work schedules.
Research on the National Library by Rebecca Johannsen and Paul J. Zak, available at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, revealed that an increased perception of autonomy is one way to improve employees’ individual and group productivity. Encouraging regular breaks, setting clear expectations around working hours, and fostering a healthy work culture are crucial to maintaining a healthy work-life balance in a remote environment.

Technology as an Enabler

In 2022, KPMG.com surveyed the current trends in remote working and found that 89% of companies had a remote working policy or considered one. From their survey, it was discovered that the major challenges faced by companies with a “work from anywhere” policy included; ensuring tax and legal compliance (38%), establishing efficient processes and support for remote working (21%), employee tracking and technology (18%), communication (10%), increase in workload (9%) and others (4%).
To proffer solutions to these challenges, experts at KPMG stressed the importance of suitable technology in managing compliance complexity, establishing efficient processes, and improving communication in a remote work model.

Technology has been useful in facilitating collaboration, communication, and productivity in distributed teams across organisations. The remote work revolution is highly dependent on technological advancements, from video conferencing tools to project management platforms to cloud-based applications for secure and remote access to companies’ resources and virtual collaboration spaces.

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