Remote & Async Work 10 min

Post-pandemic remote strategy: What every company should know

July 10, 2024
Preston Wickersham


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As remote work becomes more and more common, businesses can no longer simply offer it as an option and be done with it.

Remote’s 2023 Global Workforce Revolution Report discovered that despite the widespread adoption of remote and hybrid models, many companies struggle with maintaining high employee engagement and lack interpersonal interaction.

Generational differences complicate things, too. About 44% to 52% of Gen Z state that the ability to live and work anywhere is a major benefit they’d like in a job, but only 32% of Baby Boomers say the same. In fact, 21% of Boomers say remote work offers no benefits, whereas only 3–5% of Gen Z say so.

None of this is to put you off adapting to remote work. The benefits of a global talent pool and enhanced employee productivity are available if you have a good strategy for managing a fully or partially remote work environment.

This article offers some tips for crafting such a strategy and discusses some tools you need to make it happen.

As longtime experts in remote work, we have deep experience in what works and what doesn’t. Whether your team is fully remote or you just have a few remote workers, these tips can help you ensure your entire team feels supported while reaching their potential.

How much remote work is right for your organization?

Just because traditional, in-office work is becoming less and less dominant doesn’t mean a full remote setting suits every company.

Many teams may find a hybrid solution works well, particularly if a number of employees live near the main office. After all, some things are best done in person. These hybrid workers can come into the office for these tasks a few days a week and work from home the rest of the time.

Here are some factors you can use to determine the right mix of remote and in-person work for your organization:

  • The kind of work your company does: Tasks and projects that involve more independent work are often viable for remote employees. Some projects that require teamwork and collaboration can happen remotely, although in-person meetings and work might be best for others.

  • Workforce size: Bigger organizations often need a hybrid model to access strong talent that lives outside their immediate area while drawing in-office employees from nearby.

  • Workforce experience: New employees often do well with some in-office experience to establish relationships with their fellow team members, learn the culture, and get in the habit of a work schedule. More experienced employees could move right into remote work.

  • Current company overhead costs: If you’re looking to trim expenses, such as office space or supplies costs, remote work can help. Even if you provide home office stipends to remote employees, you can save on rent or mortgage, utilities, and property taxes.

  • Employee preferences: Employees should have a say, as well. If they live close, some people prefer spending at least some time in the office for various reasons, such as if they enjoy the office environment.

A remote employee next to an in-office employee

5 tips for implementing a solid remote work strategy

Creating a good remote work strategy is as simple as letting employees work from home and providing them with remote login instructions.

Below, we’ll cover critical considerations for creating an effective, efficient, and engaging remote work environment for employees.

1. Get comfortable working across multiple time zones

Not everyone wants to live in the same place forever. In fact, our Remote 2023 Global Workforce Revolution Report showed that 80% of Gen Z want to work in a different country from their employer at some point.

If your best engineers, marketers, salespeople, recruiters, and customer success agents want to move, will you really let distance get between you and your top people?

Time zone differences do not have to end an employment relationship. By learning to work asynchronously, you can keep your best people no matter where they want to live.

Beyond making it easy to work across time zones, asynchronous practices can also help improve productivity within co-located teams. When workers can complete tasks and move on to the next without waiting for someone else to act, everything feels more streamlined.

The trick to doing async well is ensuring the entire organization follows the same principles. That can be difficult at first for co-located teams, but when everyone gets used to documenting their work, creating video updates, hosting remote-friendly meetings, and engaging in other asynchronous communications, everyone benefits.

2. Create accountability without micromanaging

Many managers express concern about ensuring workers will stay productive while working remotely.

In his appearance on Remote Talks, however, Zapier CEO Wade Foster provided a different perspective:

“I think folks think that remote workers are gonna watch Netflix all day,” said Foster. “I think it's the exact opposite. If you hire right, their motivation to do well is so high that they will risk burning themselves out to prove that they are working.”

Don’t let fear of the unknown lead you into micromanaging people who are genuinely working to do their best.

Measure your team's performance, not whether they’re available on Slack. Assume the best of your team members and their intentions. Remember, almost no one goes to work hoping to do a poor job.

3. Establish a standardized compensation strategy

How much do you pay remote workers in different places? The strategy that makes sense for your business depends on your goals and available resources.

Most companies with remote experience use a formula to calculate compensation. Start by setting the salary range for the role and adjust by experience, responsibilities, and cost of living in the location where the person works.

Some companies pay everyone the same amount and do not consider location. Those companies typically either have the funding to pay Bay Area salaries to every worker (guaranteeing a top group of applicants for every role) or a lower amount (losing opportunities to attract top talent in expensive cities).

4. Recognize the need for real human connections

Remote work shouldn’t be isolating. It’s supposed to be empowering. Most people don’t need to go to the office five days a week, but companies and individuals do better when team members can gather in real life on occasion.

Fully remote companies should try to have at least one annual all-hands retreat somewhere in the world. Doing so can be expensive, but it’s also a critical part of attracting top talent and making sure remote and hybrid team members feel a sense of community. These individuals may even feel less abstract after getting to know the people they work with and their impact while doing their jobs.

Meeting in person also allows you to strengthen the company culture. You can reinforce company norms and values while working or doing team-building activities. All of this improves job satisfaction and increases productivity.

A remote team at a retreat working and doing other activities

Zoom calls serve a purpose, but when it comes to camaraderie, they fall short.

Where to hold a retreat depends on the location of most of the workforce. If 80% of the people work in one office, it makes sense to keep the retreat nearby, if not completely local.

If people are spread around the world, the calculations get harder. Generally, large companies are limited to resort-style areas that cater to such gatherings. Some companies opt to gather in large metropolitan areas instead.

5. Illustrate a commitment to work-life balance

The lines between work and personal life can blur for remote workers. For example, working from a home office offers little to no physical separation between work and home.

Their smartphones may also have work apps on them, making Slack or work emails just a click away. This means employees can start to feel like they’re always “on,” even if they have set work hours.

Set clear expectations in your remote work policies about when employees are expected to work as a start. Then, put extra effort into making it known that logging off on evenings and weekends is okay if the job allows it. This can help these employees feel like they don’t have to be on the lookout for work emergencies during their off hours.

But don’t just say it. Show it. Avoid contacting your remote employees about work matters outside of work hours; otherwise, reassurances about logging off will ring hollow.

Regularly acknowledging each employee’s hard work can go a long way here. It shows them you pay attention to their efforts and makes them feel fine about putting their work away without you having to tell them to.

Holding regular check-ins is a good way to do this, as is making sure remote employees are generally having a good experience in their roles.

Furthermore, encourage remote workers to take regular breaks. Offering flexible schedules can help here since employees can fit in their breaks according to their work style and energy rather than conform to more regimented break times.

3 tools to optimize your remote work strategy

These digital tools can help your remote team perform at their best while mitigating remote work downsides:

1. Communications platform

Every remote or hybrid company needs the right communications platforms to stay productive and efficient. That includes video conferencing and instant messaging software.

Video conferencing tools let you hold virtual team meetings, regular check-ins with employees, and so on. They could include solutions like:

  • Google Meet

  • Microsoft Teams

  • Zoom

Meanwhile, instant messaging solutions include options like:

  • Slack

  • Microsoft Teams

Teams use instant messaging for effective collaboration and for facilitating casual, non-work conversations to mimic the “watercooler” chats in a traditional office. Non-work channels like a happy hour channel or watercooler channel can help foster positive remote work relationships among team members.

2. Collaboration tools

Cloud-based collaboration tools help employees work on projects simultaneously from anywhere while ensuring that communications about work remain effective.

Google Drive is a common example of such a tool. Users can store folders, word documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, and other files, as well as set access controls.

Whiteboarding tools like Canva and Miro fall under another category of collaboration software that is particularly helpful for brainstorming and meetings. For example, remote workers can take collective notes during meetings. Everyone can contribute their thoughts and takeaways to these notes, and those who miss parts or all of the meeting still get the information they need.

3. Project management tools

You likely already use these, but ensuring workflows are as clear and efficient as possible is crucial. 

Any points of confusion or bottlenecks can cause miscommunications and result in tasks getting lost or stuck since it’s harder to speak to team members about these matters.

Task management tools include the following:

  • Asana

  • ClickUp

  • SmartSuite

  • Trello

As mentioned, it’s important to avoid micromanaging employees. Instead, time-tracking tools can supplement your project management by helping employees track their work hours. 

Time management and tracking tools include the following:

  • Clockify

  • Toggle

Analyzing tracked time can help you find ways to make workflows more efficient and allocate tasks to team members based on their skills.

Solidify your remote work strategy

The remote work model the pandemic introduced to the world is not the remote work model of the years before, nor is it the model of the future. Remote work is an empowering and effective tool to help companies of all sizes work with great people and achieve big goals.

Companies with forward-thinking remote work strategies will find themselves at a major advantage in recruiting, productivity, and work-life balance for their in-office and remote employees.

An employer of record like Remote makes this a lot easier by handling the payroll and HR compliance complications of juggling remote or hybrid teams. Book a demo today to learn how.

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