Remote Work Is
"The New Business Normal"
How to work successfully in current realities
In the last eight months, so many digital products have been released for companies and their employees to help smooth the transition to remote work. It allowed them to accept this new reality in the wake of the lockdowns caused by the coronavirus.
Working in the technology sector, I have heard many discussions about remote work.
Certainly, the emotional level of this phenomenon is so great that even as governments declare that returning to work is safe — many employees do not want to leave their home offices. Besides that, for many people who work remotely, the idea that anyone could be opposed to this trend is profane, while people on the other side are horrified when companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft announced that working from home would continue until mid-2021. Twitter let all its employees work from home "forever" if they wish. The level of contention around this discussion is similar to the current situation in politics.

However, this pandemic truly unlocked the value of well-organized remote work. It modified the working environment in many companies that utilizing high-end technology to drastically transform their approach to hiring and workforce management programs, perhaps forever. Indeed, for companies with developed remote work skills, this crisis has boosted a unique shift toward more flexible work to organize their lives where they can create the best combination of work and home.
Remote work is a new normal that, in most cases, has increased productivity and outcomes of work. But it has its challenges, which mostly appeared when companies weren't ready to switch to remote work. Let's take a look at the main ones.

There is no escape from work. You just can't stop working.
Before the crisis, many managers didn't approve of remote work with the main concern that employees would be less productive without in-person oversight. But as it turned out, remote workers are more likely to work longer hours.
The lack of separation between personal life and work means it's easier to lose track of time and continue to work until midnight. High work productivity is a good thing but working too much can have downsides - it can ultimately lead to burnout.
So, how to avoid overworking?
Think about a toolset that would help your employees take breaks and set a clear start and end times. A few things that can help:
Set bots that can remind your employees that it is the end of the day, and it's time to get out of your home office. Maybe if you know your employees well, you can use their interests as a motivator, such as going to the gym or going grocery shopping, or just taking a walk around the block. Maybe it's time to read the next chapter of a favorite book.
Furthermore, set up reminders to take breaks. It could be a time simply to stand up and have a walk or to stretch and refill a glass of water. There are many tools you can use, such as Things or Trello.
Also, every team member might want to let the rest of the team know about their ending time by making a quick note on Slack.
All of these would be very helpful for your employees to switch off work, and they would sense you are taking care of your team.
Communication matters. Being out of the loop can destroy work relationships.
Our work environment is currently out of the office; people miss improvised lunches, coffee breaks, or spontaneous deskside brainstorming sessions with colleagues. There is no more opportunity to walk over to someone's desk to chat or schedule an in-person meeting to discuss project updates. It occasionally creates such a feeling in employees that they are not getting the full picture or like they are the last to find out about what is going on in the company.
Many people started to experience new types of work issues that didn't exist before. Imagine that someone in your company might need a quick yes or no, or a time interval to complete the project. Communication software cannot provide the proper response speed on its own, which is generally dependent on employee attitude and responsibility, leading to many delays. While before the quarantine, the same issues could be solved in minutes in person in the office.

To address communication gaps, some companies effectively use messaging platforms, such as Slack. All remote workers can chat in real-time regarding issues as they pop up and use cloud platforms for documents so everyone can collaborate. For convenience, companies use bots for notifications to adjust the importance level of requests. Some companies utilize video calls to stay on track. They leave employees' cameras on, so everybody feels an office atmosphere and managers can see workers' faces. The most popular solutions for video calls are Zoom or Hangout.

But the only real solution is to communicate as much as possible, stay transparent, explain anything that could be misunderstood, and finally be proactive in speaking.
Family, pets, social media,…doorbell. Home office & distractions.
It was discovered that even for software developers who do most of their work in front of a computer — working from home is not similar to working in the office. Besides the fact that the quality of the remote work vastly depends on the home — obviously, that is much better for somebody with a separate space in their home in contrast for somebody who has to work in their bedroom — remote work raises many more issues than merely employee isolation and concerns about sustaining corporate culture.
In addition to other remote work issues, employees are most likely to have to deal with all kinds of interruptions and distractions, ranging from pets to babies to laundry in the dryer or the UPS delivery person needing your signature or in-laws barging in unannounced. It is especially hard when someone has young kids who can't understand why parents are at home but not available to play. To respond regularly, "No, not now, I'm busy," is painful. Seeking the right place for conference calls, where nobody can interrupt you, becomes challenging.
It is absolutely impossible to avoid all distractions while working from home. Moreover, on some occasions, they should interrupt you. For example, if your dog needs to go outside or your kid just got hurt. It's necessary to understand the kinds of interruptions that are okay and which ones can wait.
There is no way to avoid it, but it is possible to minimize the harm level of distractions by creating a couple of rules. Design a set of signals that others would understand you are focusing on something. It could be as simple as a do not disturb sign on your door or when your headphones on or even a special door knock to avoid unexpected visitors. For young kids, getting childcare is a must, unless you have a nanny to care for them and a working space separated from other living spaces. Teach your kids and family members to be self-supportive. Keep consistent work hours.

And finally - escape! If all else fails, try working out of a co-working space or at the terrace of a coffee shop.
However, with all these issues, remote work bought a lot of opportunities for numerous businesses.
Imagine you're looking for a high-level software engineer. Typically, companies were trying to hire out of the local market, where demand for tech talents was high. But since the cost of local talents is usually higher and rarely available, talent competition was pretty high as well. It has led to the decision to explore less experienced candidates or extend hiring time to the detriment of the working process. Another option was to hire a strong candidate based in nearby cities or a different state and relocating them.
Today, when most companies operate remotely, the hiring process has changed drastically. This crisis has unlocked access to global talents. There are no more borders that keep talents from the companies. Employees can now work from anywhere, and employers can hire from any market, which significantly expands their talent pool. However, because the salary costs outside of the US are lower, the demand for talented engineers from different countries who can work remotely has greatly increased. But software engineers typically need to work closely with colleagues to brainstorm, troubleshoot, and collaborate, which raises the concern if staffing remotely would be able to set the team and organization up for success. Remote work can be highly effective only if it is well organized.
Usually, there are two options; companies can use their Recruiting resources to locate the right candidates around the globe, taking all risks involved, or they can use a reliable partner to get the proven candidate with the required skill set. Additionally, the last option transfers all hiring-related risks to the partner.
This type of relationship typically covers the consistency of candidates to the organization's corporate culture, specific role requirements and industry and similar role benchmarks, as well as the willingness of candidates to be open to a new position and more. And in near real-time, you can get the solution for the best course of action for hiring that specific position. This eliminates the guesswork, which is critical in an ultra-uncertain environment, especially considering a bad hiring decision can cost a business 30% of an employee's first-year earnings.
The ability to hire from anywhere also provides organizations with an opportunity to overcome location bias and supercharge their diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Managing employees remotely produces new challenges and requires specific skill sets. A well-organized team of software engineers with established remote work processes can be easily integrated into almost any existing team bringing expertise, new ideas, and perspectives, which enhance the organization's ability to innovate, adapt and perform.

Whereas some companies are gradually trying to come back to the office, remote work will remain in our lives permanently. The suggestions and useful practices described above can be a competitive advantage for employers. They can be effective in building a reliable and sustainable work relationship and expanding the talent pipeline by taking advantage of remote work flexibility in this new world.

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