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Want to change channels? Here's a helpful little guide to remote work

Digital nomads are the way of the future, so what is remote work and hybrid work exactly and how can you adapt to it? Read the article to find our tips and tricks for remote work.

NWOW Staff
May 12, 2022
Date Published
9
Time to read
Remote and hybrid work
Category

More and more companies are looking to update their policies to the new way of work. Digital nomads are the way of the future, so what is remote work exactly and how can you adapt to it?

In this article, we will take a look at remote and hybrid work and why that matters in a world changed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Table of contents

What is remote work?

Remote work is the ever-growing practice of employees doing their job from locations outside of a centralized office space. NWOW focuses on offering coaching and free resources with the aim of assisting in adaptability and transformation into the sphere of flexible work options, whether it’s a fully remote or hybrid model. This approach includes, but is not limited to, working from home. Professionals are empowered to work from anywhere outside of a traditional office environment, requiring only a stable internet connection and the discipline to abide by deadlines and work autonomously. When employees do choose to work from the office on occasion, this model goes by the name of hybrid work. Hybrid work comes in the form of various models, from two-day in-office work weeks, to interchangeable one-week-on, one-week-off options. Many companies customize their professional experience based on factors like how much energy-usage they prefer or what their availability looks like.

Remote work boosts inclusivity and accessibility, bringing the workplace to the people. From parents with short-term childcare restrictions, people with disabilities, to the very realistic challenge of caring for an ailing parent, remote work exists to serve the workforce for the better. For persons with severe social anxiety, or simply the rising popularity of being a digital nomad, this nonlinear workday allows every background and culture to be integrated. Digital nomads choose a lifestyle by which they exclusively work remotely and many travel the world while working simultaneously. Factors such as visa requirements and professional insurance need to be taken into account before taking the plunge into working from a beach in Goa. There are several questions to consider here: will other countries perceive that your company is setting up an expanded location? Who bears the responsibility of accidents at work? How far is your company prepared to equip employees for optimal working environments like standing desks or noise-canceling headphones?

The evolution of non-traditional working locations

According to the Global Work-From-Home Experience Survey by Global Workplace Analytics, around 69% of people globally had not consistently worked from home before March 2020. Largely thanks to the ongoing Covid-crisis, remote work has grown by approximately 44% in the last five years alone. For employees, seeking out other priorities in a post-pandemic era is essential. Commute time stressors have been significantly lessened over the past two years and have allowed individuals to fill this time frame with better-serving, healthier alternatives such as short walks, invigorating morning routines and irreplaceable time with family. Some make full use of the flexibility this working style offers by aligning their heaviest workload with their most productive hours. Furthermore, it's no longer a secret that some people are more efficient at night, when distractions present themselves less.

Employees who feel valued enough to be offered work-from-home options tend to be incentivized to stay with their employers longer. One of the main motivators of this growing lifestyle is greater work/life balance. This deliberate change has allowed for more location independence and the allure of a customizable office, whether that be coworking spaces or simply working from coffee shops. Programs run by companies like Remote Year, a novel, fully-distributed team, show just how hungry the new generation of workforce individuals are for change. Others adopting this changed way of working are companies such as Zapier, Shopify and Trello. People are eager to have the chance to choose to work in a way that makes sense for their lifestyle. Whether they decide to pursue other ventures such as tertiary education opportunities with their free time, is up to them.

In addition, employers can expect to see a changed workforce with the ability to choose healthier alternatives when it comes to nutrition and mental health issues, higher morale and less absenteeism when considering the benefits of this working style.

In the current narrative, one of the clearer benefits is for the environment, with CO2 emissions significantly lessened due to the increase in remote work. With fewer people traveling far distances, to and from office locations, pollution and energy consumption have also seemingly been reduced.

Troubleshooting for common remote work issues

Here are some tips for problems that can arise in well-known areas:

Communication

Remote work and its benefits don’t have to come at the cost of interpersonal connection. A common misconception is that because employees are not physically present, they miss out on smaller, more fleeting communication that can be compared to small talk around the water cooler. This type of engagement is vital for the life of a company and provides the necessary connectivity upon which a foundation of trust is built. To help bridge the gap, communication tools of the digital age are available at your disposal. Regular video calls are a great way to bring everyone up to speed on projects and decision-making. Other forms of staying in contact are: Yac or Loom, both are video messaging tools. While email is efficient, the time lag allows for greater disparity in productivity, especially when considering factors like time zones. Staying in communication, not over-committing to projects and being honest about your workload and capacity can avoid productivity drains.

Productivity

Focusing on the creation and maintenance of an effective workspace are essential considerations for mobile workers. Online distractions are ever-present and familial obligations can become challenging. Setting specific constraints on your working area is a must. You could hang a curtain to section off a workable area if an office room isn’t available to you. When it comes to communicating that you are entering a period of deep work, signals like hanging something on a door-handle, or simply agreeing beforehand that if your headphones are on, you are not to be disturbed can be essential. These methods are particularly helpful for those with small children who have yet to understand boundaries. If working from home is too distracting, finding a quiet coffee shop or working from one of the many available coworking spaces is a good option.

Mostly, the idea of ramping on and ramping your workday off is a good idea. When you set certain routines in place, like simply making your coffee and setting it down on your desk, this allows you to get into the mindset of work. Similarly, knowing when to ramp off, and pull yourself away from work is important in maintaining a good work/life balance. If this proves difficult, perhaps setting yourself a task outside your work area, like going for a short walk can get your mind out of this box. It is vital to this end, to remember that intentionality, no matter who the task serves, requires being mindful, intentional and present. Taking physical and mental health breaks regularly can be the difference between burnout and breakthrough. Giving from an empty cup, as the saying goes, is a moot point.

Reluctant adaptation

While distributed teams are a growing factor of consideration among generations such as Gen Z or Millennials, who by 2025 will make up 70% of the workforce, other generations can benefit from this adapted working style as well. It can be misconstrued that this way of work is exclusive to newer professionals with a higher level of technological ability. Remote work can negate the physical constraints for people who are much more experienced and have essential knowledge to share. People close to retiring can be encouraged to impart life skills and business acumen without the stressors and taxings of a daily commute. A multi-generational workforce can be a more powerful and resilient one.

10 best practices for managing distributed teams

1. Communication

Maintaining communication between colleagues while staying in is important when considering a lack of presence as a barrier. Choosing to block off certain time slots of the day designated for group exchanges and one-on-ones allows for efficiency. Remote or hybrid workers can all have access to a calendar and plan accordingly, setting aside time for project management, goal completion, deep work and focus. Virtual connection tools keep things flexible and continuous feedback should be integral. Establishing rules during video conferencing such as who speaks when can help minimize confusion.

2. Stay informed on possible challenges

Remembering that transitioning to remote work is not simply copying a traditional environment and pasting it onto a remote location. Challenges for remote workers can include internet connection problems beyond their control, or factors such as employee isolation, that could be affecting their performance. Keeping information accessible and keeping workers feeling recognized and appreciated is vital.

3. Set clear expectations

When divvying up roles, be clear about what responsibilities and expectations you have. Also, try to be sensitive about the strengths of your team members and what their roles require of them. A bulging workload can decrease overall productivity, the opposite of the result you want! Set definite time-frames, monitor KPIs and milestones for certain tasks to reap optimal results. Set up guidelines such as time frames in which emails must be answered. Factor in and expect technological issues, such as unreliable tools and connections. Fallibility is a certainty.

4. Create sustainable structures

With a well-integrated onboarding process, remote workers come out feeling capable and informed, empowering their contributions to a company. Things like a secure but dynamic company culture, an inclusive hiring process, set guidelines for security equipment and definitive remote working policies are the lifeblood of a well-oiled machine. Offering career development opportunities in tertiary education is especially impactful on generating and retaining talent in its cycle of continuity.

5. Results are what matters

The absence of physicality does not directly relate to poor results, just as clocking in and out of a traditional office does not guarantee greater performance. It is important to remember that remote work already successfully exists in the sphere of the working world. A skeptical response of mistrust and micromanagement can do more harm than good in this regard. Rather, aim to monitor activity with project management tools like Wrike, where expectations and current output share a platform. Setting achievable goals can give workers a line of focus. Simultaneously, being flexible about what your expectations are can help employees feel seen on a more humane level.

6. Provide accessible tools

Making the right tools available to fit the requirements of each individual is definitely a skill. Try to keep contact with what you can provide vs. the demands of a job. These obviously differ from in-house specifications, but tools like Asana and Microsoft Teams exist to serve and amplify the professional user experience.  

7. Include and integrate

Engaging and integrating colleagues creates a sustainable work culture of recognition and repertoire that could fall through the cracks if left unattended. Things like sharing a company chat can help social isolation be tempered. Polls and workshops aid in continuous feedback and can make a world of positive difference.

8. Initiate in-person meetings

When allowed and applicable, in-person meetings can aid interpersonal bonds, foster trust and association and allow for team-building opportunities. Managing remote teams is itself managing people, and people means connection. Being intentional with time and its management is respectful and validating.

9. Provide emotional support

Supporting remote workers can come in the form of understanding, making you appear more open and approachable. Informing yourself on the emotional temperament of your employees can be beneficial to knowing how best to serve them in understanding and building a network of trust. Avoid blurring the boundaries of work/life balance and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

10. Trust as an incubator

Ask questions, take notes and actively listen. It costs nothing to take the time for the people working around you. The magnitude of small acts such as this creates a ripple effect for a culture of trust and honesty, the basis of a well-functioning network of professionals dedicated to putting forth their best, because their best is seen and valued. Support networks are tiny microcosms designed to assist the very specific needs of individuals. Some examples could be groups for people of color, as a shared background of experience naturally brings people together.

What does the future of remote work look like?

A brave new world

With NWOW, connection and connectivity function as the baseline in successful ventures. Adapting management styles to flow with remote work, adjusting routine to mold to the needs of employee schedules and locations whilst communicating transparently are key factors to take into account in transitioning to the new normal way of work, successfully.

With technological advancements like Zoom and other remote connectivity tools that have exploded onto the scene as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can expect a rise in preference for remote or hybrid work in the future. Upwork predicts that around 22% of the total American workforce will be remote by the year 2025, while 30% of respondents to the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Survey state they were more engaged and productive working from home; with current data based on findings, we can anticipate that remote and hybrid work is here to stay.

The benefits of telecommuting (a recently outdated term), are not limited to personal experience only. Employers see a reduction in overhead costs such as electricity bills and office space costs. Naturally, not all workers have jobs allowing them the freedom or customization that remote work offers. Doctors, manual laborers and those who simply prefer in-person social constructs will always have jobs that require them to be present and interact with others. Workplace flexibility is gradually becoming a recommended practice and changing protocols to fit flexible lifestyles is becoming more desirable, and in essence, preferred by professionals who can be put off by stale structures that are too rigid.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Digital nomads are the way of the future, so what is remote work and hybrid work exactly and how can you adapt to it? Read the article to find our tips and tricks for remote work.

What’s a Rich Text element?What’s a Rich Text element?What’s a Rich Text element?What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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