3 Tips from Companies
Doing Remote Working Right

Office working is out; remote working is in. 2020 was dubbed the year of remote working, and while it may have been hastened by current events, businesses and employees have been working towards this point for decades. Over the years, the call for more flexibility in the workplace has only grown louder – and now, businesses have begun to listen. In recent months, companies like American Express, Coinbase and Facebook have announced their plans to embrace remote working permanently. On the flip side, some companies have been questioning whether working from home is ideal and whether it can be a success. The good news is that there is no shortage of remote working success stories out there. From helping employees collaborate to outlining clear communication rules, there is a lot to learn from these success stories.

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

Recognize the Need for Employee Incentives and Perks 

Remote employees often feel left out or overlooked. The 2019 State of the Digital Workspace report supported this fact, with 70 percent of participants confirming that they felt left out of their work when working remotely. Regardless of their working arrangement, employees want recognition for their efforts, even when it is not being seen in a traditional office setting.

To keep your remote workers involved and enthusiastic, it is important to set aside time and resources to reward and recognize them regularly. This is something that blogging platform company Automattic is making a priority by providing regular employee recognition incentives. The company predominantly operates under a remote working arrangement with employees located across 73 countries. Not only does Automattic offer flexible working hours, but the company also offers an open vacation policy, company-paid insurance policies, paid parental leaves, and annual employee retreats to locations across the world. Remote workers who thrive in co-working spaces are also provided with a co-working allowance and reimbursed for any continuous professional development. According to the company’s co-founder Matt Mullenweg, Automattic’s success in remote working stems from its willingness to recognize employees and help them achieve the perfect work-life balance.

Collaboration Is Ingrained in The Culture, Not from One Action

Another trait that has been repeatedly noticed in remote working success stories has been a great collaboration. This is something that Elastic recognized very early. With office hubs across the globe, communication and collaboration between remote employees can prove problematic. With this in mind, Elastic went on to invest in technology to help their employees connect. Their success story goes well beyond providing the right communication and collaboration tools, however. Elastic also have dedicated chat channels and utilize video calls. One particular policy they have in place is ‘always on video conferences’ which allows employees to join whenever they are signing on for work, or keep it running in the background if they want.

Investing in Communication Tools and Protocols Work the Best

Software application company Buffer is also tackling another common remote working challenge head-on by breaking down communication barriers with a remote workforce. According to their Director of Marketing Kevan Lee, they found that remote working impacted the way feedback was given (and received) when compared to working in an office environment. Communication can also easily be misconstrued or delayed in remote work settings.

To combat this, the company has relied on instant communication platforms like Slack to connect their remote employees in real-time. When it comes to feedback, Buffer has implemented feedback checkpoints that give the employee and manager some dedicated 1:1 time. It should be made clear that these checkpoint meetings should be a reciprocal exchange – i.e. a time for managers to not only provide constructive feedback and check in on employees, but also for remote employees to voice any concerns or adjustments they may need.

These are just a handful of success stories in remote working. For now, the concept is still a novel one, and every company is designing it to best fit their needs, their business objectives, and their workplace culture. However, a common concept that these companies all share is their focus on not just making remote working work for them, but making it work for everyone.