The pandemic pushed the entire corporate world to forcefully accept remote work. Fast forward fifteen months later, companies have embraced the remote work lifestyle and understood how beneficial it could be to the success of their business.
With the world gradually opening up, companies have started calling their employees back to the office. However, that’s not the case for quite a lot of businesses.
Several organizations have taken the lessons they’ve learned during the pandemic and applied them to their traditional work structure. Here is a list of ways businesses have remodeled the remote work structure in the post-pandemic world.
Hybrid and Remote work models
An organization with a fully remote work model doesn’t have a dedicated office. The entire staff works remotely and may occasionally gather for meetups and retreats.
There are two variations of this model of remote work– synchronous and asynchronous.
Synchronous remote work model
A company with a synchronous remote work typically expects its employees to work during fixed work hours. Therefore, such organizations prefer to hire people who live within the same time zone.
The synchronous model of remote work is a more practical approach since it ensures that people can communicate and collaborate in a more timely manner.
Asynchronous remote work model
A fully remote work enterprise that adapts an asynchronous model of remote work doesn’t require employees to follow specific working hours. Businesses that adopt this model of remote work usually have a globally distributed workforce since communication and work are not dependent on time constraints.
There are three primary advantages of this remote work model:
- Employees have the flexibility to genuinely work from anywhere in the world.
- Based on the employee’s geographical location, businesses can take advantage of the market’s lower cost of living but still ensure their employees get paid more than the average market rate.
- With employees from multiple time zones, the companies can operate on a 24-hour work cycle.
Fully flexible hybrid
A fully flexible hybrid model of remote work allows employees the flexibility to choose when they’d like to work from the office and when they’d like to work from home (or any other location).
Another variation of this is the traditional hybrid work model where employees have the freedom to choose their desired workspace; however, it is more of a permanent solution– either on-site or remote.
This is a more practical approach since a fully flexible hybrid is a little challenging to implement effectively.
There are two significant reasons for this difficulty in implementing a fully flexible hybrid model:
- Lack of coordination. It’s difficult to predict who will be working from home or be present in the office.
- Status tiers. Employees who work from the office more often may receive preferential treatment, creating status tiers within a team.
Companies may tackle this issue by allowing employees free reign over when they choose to work remotely except for specific days when they’re expected in the office. This may fall under the category of a remote-friendly work model than a fully flexible work model.
A remote-biased workplace operates with a majority of employees working remotely. Companies that follow this model of remote work have only a few employees who work from the office. These employees usually have job responsibilities that need specific equipment that they can access only from the office.
Employees in a remote-first workplace usually come to the office on an occasional basis, like during special meetings or when they have operational needs.
This is a fairly straightforward work model where the company expects employees to work from the office primarily. However, they’re allowed to work remotely occasionally.
In such companies, remote work is usually offered as a perk to employees rather than a lifestyle.
This work structure usually allows employees to work for a specific amount of time, usually twice or thrice a month.
Should personal emergencies arise, employees can take advantage of this perk rather than using their vacation or sick leaves.
5 Best Tips for Virtual Collaboration
Working remotely with a team that may not even work during the same hours is challenging. Therefore, to ensure the productivity and performance of the team are optimum, here are five key strategies that you can implement to master the art of virtual collaboration.
Effective communication is one of the most crucial aspects when it comes to virtual collaboration. Team leaders need to overcommunicate and encourage their team members to do the same.
Please note that in this context, overcommunication doesn’t mean communicating frequently. Micromanaging your team with constant check-ins can frustrate them. This practice implies that you don’t trust them to do their job and creates a toxic work environment.
By overcommunication, we mean ensuring that your team knows exactly what you expect from them. If you’re not sure if you should clarify or specify something, go ahead and do it anyway.
Here are a few other things you can do to promote effective communication:
- Schedule regular video calls with your team. While emails and slack can be used to share information, physical cues like voice intonations and body language help convey things better.
- Be clear and concise while sharing your messages.
- If you’re working with a team of people from diverse cultures, refrain from using regional phrases that may cause miscommunication.
- Encourage your team to ask questions and provide honest feedback.
Move your collaboration to the cloud
Using the cloud to store your documents makes it easier for the team to collaborate efficiently since all your files are available in one place.
Team members can have instant access to the latest versions of files and ensure they aren’t working with outdated information.
Working with the cloud also reduces the chance of multiple versions of the same file from existing. Working with the cloud allows real-time collaboration and enhances productivity. Additionally, if you don’t want everyone to have access to specific documents, cloud software programs allow you to limit access and customize who has access to which files.
Other than the traditional cloud tools like Google drive and dropbox, you can use project management tools like Allo.io to keep your team updated about the tasks they need to work on and ensure they know what their coworkers are currently working on. You can also add documents to individual boards to help members complete their tasks.
Learn how to conduct productive meetings
Mastering the art of productive meetings is one of the most critical aspects of effective virtual collaboration.
Zoom fatigue is a real thing. With remote workers spending more time on video calls than actually getting their work done, you need to ensure your team doesn’t fall into the same category.
Here is a list of things that you can do to conduct productive meetings:
- Have a clear agenda for your meeting. If you don’t have a list of major talking points you need to discuss, you may end up talking about a general topic for 30 minutes and make nothing out of the meeting.
- Structure your meeting. Ensure that your team members know that they shouldn’t interject the speaker and wait until they’re done to ask questions.
- Minutes of the meeting. Ask a team member to maintain notes of the meeting and share a summary of key points and decisions after the meeting is concluded. With Allo, you can conduct your virtual meeting within the Allo canvas and have Allo document the entire meeting for you.
- Record. You can record your meetings and share them with the team to ensure people who couldn’t join the meeting can still know exactly what was discussed.
Set communication guidelines
Establish clear communication protocols that tell your team what is acceptable and what isn’t when it comes to how they’ll carry out work-related communications.
This could include things like what kind of messages can be shared on the different communication channels (Slack, email, etc.), calling coworkers only during work hours, and more.
These ground rules and guidelines will help your team understand in black and white what is acceptable behavior in communication and what isn’t.
Use multiple channels
Live chat platforms are excellent if you want to gain quick clarifications from your coworkers. However, that doesn’t mean you should limit all your work-related conversations to a single channel.
The channel will inevitably be a mix of personal and professional conversations. When all messages are shared via the same channel, people will get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of messages they receive.
This also has an added complication of not being able to find crucial information because it’s buried under a lot of irrelevant messages.
At one point, your team members may disconnect with the channel or turn to other modes of communication that aren’t a standard for your company.
Set up specific channels for key topics and ensure your team members stick to the communication protocols. For example, create a dedicated channel for SEO and encourage your team members to stick to the channel for all conversations about SEO.
You can even create a channel for informal and personal conversations (maybe even name it virtual water cooler). Encouraging members to open up about themselves and share things other than work will strengthen their bond with their coworkers and establish a friendly, collaborative workspace.
Hybrid Work Is the New Remote Work?
Remote work is beneficial for both businesses and employees alike. Though companies may not choose to operate 100% remotely like they were forced to do during the pandemic, neither are they eager to go back to their traditional work model.
Hybrid work is the best way forward for businesses, and it’s no doubt that it’s here to stay. In this blog, we’ve discussed the different ways companies have chosen to adopt remote work into their business structure.
No matter what model of remote work your company adapts, you can implement these virtual collaboration strategies discussed in the blog to take your team’s productivity and performance to the next level!