Just how important are the spaces where we work?
From the color temperature of your office’s lighting to the technology you use every day, the physical environments that you and your team work in can have massive effects on your employees’ productivity, engagement and overall wellbeing as they put in their 40 hours.
As the person responsible for the performance and happiness of your marketing team, it’s your job to design a workplace where your team can thrive—in other words, a space that balances structure and flexibility. For businesses that want to modernize their approach to getting work done, this has meant allowing remote work benefits.
Compared to a shared office workspace or an isolated cubicle, working from a home office or local coffee spot empowers your employees to apply themselves in an environment where they feel most comfortable, resulting in a 35 to 40% spike in productivity levels. For leaders and managers, however, off-site work environments do come with a considerable drawback: you might find it harder than ever to unify your teams, encourage collaboration and build strong professional, and personal relationships.
If you’re looking to revamp the remote digital workspaces that your company uses to connect your out-of-office workers, here are a few key productivity tips and tools to keep in mind:
Regardless of the leadership position you are in, a key aspect of your job is enabling others to perform their own positions more proficiently. Remote work, especially in full-time arrangements, makes it incredibly challenging or even impossible to touch base in-person with those you oversee. Your employees may already be sensitive or nervous to have performance conversations with their managers, and remote communications can make you seem impersonal and distanced if executed incorrectly.
That’s why people management workspaces have become a valuable tool for leaders who want to gauge engagement and performance. These tools help you accomplish your team’s projects and deliverables while keeping your people happy along the way. In many ways, they substitute the features of a physical meeting space to give you a virtual space for scheduling performance reviews, holding one-on-one conversations and shouting out individuals who go above and beyond on your team.
Pivotal to any great remote work culture is a business’ ability to share information quickly and widely with all relevant parties. Without a proper infrastructure for disseminating new information, you’ll find it difficult to develop a cohesive company strategy or scale your business. And for remote workers especially, proper information-sharing is their lifeline to your organization.
Consider designating a digital workspace, such as a company-wide intranet, as a centralized information hub that is as easy to access from home as it is on-site. Intranets provide a single space to store important documentation—everything from project updates and document templates to new benefits packages and policy changes. Important URLs, tools and work-related applications are only a click away for remote workers, and you’ll be able to avoid sifting through old emails and messages to find the documents you’re looking for.
Count on your fingers how many different ways you communicate with your remote team. Compared to even a few years ago, managers have more tools and devices on-hand to touch base with their virtual teams, including smartphones, laptops, tablets and your work computer in the office. Because each communication channel—web conferencing, chat message, phone calls, etc.—serves a unique purpose, you should make sure that your communication tools are compatible across all of the platforms you use.
Designed to integrate with a number of different devices, both portable and wired, unified communications applications have become a solution for businesses seeking greater compatibility and simplicity in their remote conversations. This technology creates a single, digitized space to house everything from your office phone to your team messaging service. For leaders, the benefit of an online-based solution is a greater range of accessibility, both in the office and on the go. You’ll be able to chat, call or video conference with your teams no matter where you are or what device you have on you at the moment.
2020 will see the continued disappearance of the traditional office front desk, and this shift can be attributed to two major factors. First is the continued reliance on virtual offices and workspaces as business wholly migrate to remote work solutions, completely eradicating the need for a front desk attendant. Secondly, and equally important, is the trend toward globalization—the advent of online commerce has enabled even small businesses to branch out to a worldwide audience of global consumers. It makes sense, then, that many leaders are finding solutions to bring the front desk experience to customers, regardless of their physical proximity.
Whether you’re looking to take your administrative team off-site or want to better connect with your global audience, you can enlist the aid of a virtual assistant service. Similar to an executive assistant or office administrator, virtual assistants help you tackle a number of daily projects, giving you more time to be a leader for your team. This ranges from simple assignments, like checking your inbox daily, to more complex tasks, like handling customer inquiries and tracking late invoices. There’s a good chance that a majority, if not all, of the work you do utilizes the internet, which makes the transition to virtual services a smooth one.
Guest article written by Becca Thomlinson.
Becca Thomlinson is an online writer and blogger within a number of business-related communities. Although she writes on a number of topics, her primary areas of interest include digital transformation, workplace motivation and tech-driven leadership.