NextMapping Future of Work Blog

Cheryl Cran

Welcome to the Future of Work blog – this is where you will find posts on all things related to the future of work.

We have guest bloggers that include CIO’s, Behavioral Scientists, CEO’s, Data Scientists including posts by our founder Cheryl Cran.

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Best Practices Of Remote Workers

February 17, 2021

We have conducted numerous surveys of remote workers and have compiled the best practices of remote workers.

In many ways there was a general consensus that when 2020 was over there would be a sense of getting back to ‘normal’. Whatever normal is by today’s standards it is evident that there is a new normal that has emerged.

We surveyed over 1000 remote workers and asked: “Do you want to return to the workplace full time when the pandemic is under control?”

Over 90% of respondents said that they did not want to return to a pre Covid workplace.

The survey responses were not a surprise to us at NextMapping – we have been focused on social trends and worker mindsets impact on the future of work for the past decade.

When we share the above statistic with leaders they confirm that their own internal surveys of their employees indicates a similar response. If workers want to continue working primarily remotely it means that many companies need to re-look at their systems and resources to support a remote work workplace of the future.

Some company leaders are fighting the desire for workers to work remotely and are mandating a ‘return to office’ approach. This approach will not work well in the long run. The genie has been let out of the bottle and workers have been able to prove during Covid that working from home CAN work and work well.

Our research shows that the return to work process for many companies will include a formal remote work policy. In addition there will be a hybrid model of remote work and in office work.

Remote work is very effective for many workers and we have noted that there are common patterns among successful remote workers.

The best practices of remote workers include:

  • Clearly set expectation between leader and worker around deliverables – what work is to be done, guidelines around time frames to get it done and how work being done is tracked.
  • Constant and consistent communication through ALL communication avenues – successful remote workers leverage chat through MS teams or their online portal, reach out by IM to team members to share something of interest to the group, efficient use of email and knowing when to either pick up the phone or to request a virtual meet up.
  • Focus on work boundaries to avoid burnout – successful remote workers recognize the value of stepping away from work to reset and recharge
  • The ability to self resource by exercising, going for a walk, listening to music, meditating and asking for support or help.
  • When working on team projects using a project management approach to ensure everyone stays connected and that information is shared openly including timelines and deliverables.
  • Successful remote leaders are intentional about weekly check ins with each of their team members specifically to ask ‘how are you doing?’ and to provide support and coaching.
  • Planning for priorities in advance of each week – focusing on 3 top priorities a day – setting achievable goals for deliverables.
  • Scheduling whitespace between virtual meetings – setting a buffer of 15 to 30 minutes between meetings allows for a stretch, a walk and to refresh away from screens.
  • Debriefing each day by doing a quick check of what was accomplished, what went well and what could they do better the next day (focused on continuous improvement).

We cannot underestimate the ‘worker mindset’ and how it impacts the future of the workplace. We are in a ‘workers market’ which means that workers are willing to seek work elsewhere if their employer cannot provide them with remote work.

If we focus on the best practices of a remote worker we can leverage the effectiveness of how work is done remotely.