Between 2008 and 2020, remote work has grown 159 percent. Whether companies allow employees to work from home as needed, hire both remote and in-office staff or have only remote employees, more and more companies are embracing the trend. With so many great resources available on transitioning to remote work, there isn’t a need to reinvent the wheel here. There are, however, a few transitioning tips that arise out of being in this model for a while which are worth sharing.
Bolster success in work from home
- A ‘shift’ occurs when moving from working in person to remote working. It is important to recognize and accept that this ‘shift’ takes people time to adjust. People tend to drop the ball in adjusting to new modes of communication which move away from being entirely and exclusively written. Use of screenshare and videos need to be used a lot more to add context to messages.
- Incoming mail cannot meet with immediate responses. Response time for ‘considered replies’ must be purposefully and deliberately slotted.
- Communication protocols need to be set up as a team to cater to the remote working style keeping in mind individual information needs and impacts of different time zones. At Aligned Studios, we regularly conduct Communication workshops to upgrade communication skills of our people not only within the internal team but also with their international partners.
- A productive environment consisting of clean, noise-free zones is an ‘absolute must’ in the remote working model. It is important to set apart distinct work zones from the day- to-day routine activity zones to ensure setting of boundaries and compartmentalizing of individual energy levels and priorities.
- Warding off loneliness by building an extensive social network even outside of work as well as having video chats with team members always help. At Aligned Studios, we encourage weekly coffee chats, buddy lunches and personal meet ups to help people build stronger team bonds and adjust to the new workplace.
Integrity, integrity and more integrity!
In addition to basic remote working skills, what will always remain at the core of this working model’s success rate is INTEGRITY. Work from home needs a high level of employee integrity to succeed. While responsible and conscious hiring techniques do ensure a high level of employee integrity, it takes a continuous process to keep the integrity alive.
Leveraging the reduced visibility in workflows, a small percentage of employees resort to unethical practices that rob the Company of its productive hours. Timesheets are filled out with deliberately inaccurate information. Work from home time is misutilized for other purposes. As employees are sometimes faced with genuine challenges in a work from home arrangement, it is best to open doors for clear, free, and transparent communication to understand their concerns and educate them on how enhanced commitment from them can contribute to overall productivity and a win-win situation for all.
A second area of concern is ‘moonlighting’. Moonlighting refers to pursuing more than one job at a time and remote working, particularly in the IT industry, has helped employees take up this option. This could involve activities outside of office hours or on weekends that do not impact their productivity on the full-time job or have a conflict of interest. In the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) Industry, however, particularly where international collaboration is involved and NDA (Non-disclosure agreements) govern the arrangement, moonlighting exposes Clients’ assets to risk. Use of common hardware and software to do multiple jobs proves ethically and functionally unacceptable.
Conflict of interest and violation of trust issues are of foremost concern. Employers and employees need to consciously recognize and embrace the goodness of remote working to help the model succeed. It enables global talent to come together on the same table. It empowers people to find a healthy, enriching work-life-balance. It empowers companies to expand their geographical operational boundaries to new markets at minimal costs. Integrity at every level is a small ask to pay to enable this all-empowering model to succeed.
In an interesting field experiment on ‘Honesty of online workers’ (Journal of Behavioural and Experimental Economics, Vol 94, Oct 2021, 101730), employees reported hours mostly honestly regardless of the condition of automatic recording (AR) or dishonesty enabling manual recording (MR). Honesty-humility, a unique indicator of job performance, was not related to dishonesty and choosing the manual reporting. This reinforces the faith and the belief in people’s integrity as a reliable tool in bolstering the success rate of the work from home model.
At Aligned Studios, we have successfully worked remotely completely. By leveraging technology along with the quality and commitment of our select, chosen team, we consistently deliver premium global quality to our satisfied customers across the globe. We have continued to proactively strengthen the learning curve by introducing people- centric, culture- specific and industry-specific inputs that have enriched the workplace and facilitated smooth seamless working across global frontiers. Aligned Studios, along with its employees has consciously recognized the ‘remote working’ model as an ‘equal opportunity’ partnership between the employer and the employee. Looking forward, we see a promising and rewarding working model catering to employer and employee alike.