On Remote.co, we’ve interviewed and compiled information from 137 companies on how to manage and operate effectively within a remote workplace environment. And to make the information as accessible as possible, we’ve distilled their ideas and advice into an easy-to-understand guide.
Remote work has increased 115% since 2005 and it is predicted that 38% of full-time staff will be working remotely in the next decade. This shift will make for significant changes for professionals, teams, companies, and leaders.
And that’s why it’s so important that we learn from the companies and leaders who’ve already embraced and optimized remote work. The information below represents insights from 137 remote companies and teams representing over 52,200 remote workers.
They show us the reality of remote work—its benefits and challenges, tips for effective remote work, and advice on managing remote workers.
The Big Picture of Remote Work
Overview: Nearly 3% of the total U.S. workforce work from home half-time or more. The average telecommuter is 46 years or older, has at least a bachelor’s degree, and earns a higher median salary than an in-office worker. Remote work is available across industries (top 4: healthcare, computer/IT, education, sales).
Challenges: Preventing employee isolation and overwork; creating a healthy company culture; communication; time zone coordination; worker accountability; legal/tax issues.
Benefits: Increased worker productivity / efficiency; reduced employee turnover; real estate / overhead savings; access to a more diverse talent pool; happier, healthier, and more engaged employees; environmental and social benefits.
Tips for Working Remotely
Traits of effective remote employees: Self-starter; independent; proactive; self-aware; mature; strong written / verbal communication skills; time management; previous remote work experience; tech-savvy; observant; goal-oriented.
Collaboration/communication tools: Slack, Skype, Google Chat, Trello, Pivotal Tracker, Basecamp, Yammer, Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, join.me.
How to avoid distractions: Secure a dedicated workspace in your home; incorporate breaks and exercise into your day; shut down social media; avoid meetings during your most productive hours; use noise-canceling headphones.
Tips for Managing Remotely
Measuring productivity: Measure results, output, quality of work, manager feedback, and customer satisfaction.
Building relationships: Create a culture of trust and transparency; establish communication norms; hold regularly scheduled meetings; have an instant “virtual office space;” annual face-to-face retreats; give real-time feedback; establish clear expectations and deliverables; use the right technology.
Remote team-building ideas: Throw virtual parties and events; create virtual watercooler opportunities (like lunch hangouts, coffee breaks, books clubs); assign a mentor to new hires; embrace work flexibility; celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, milestones; highlight individual volunteer and humanitarian efforts.
For even more insight on optimizing remote work, check out our interviews with 137 remote team and company leaders and dozens of individual professionals who work remotely.
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