Working from home, working remotely, alternative work locations are all great descriptions of the new work lifestyle. Corporations are beginning to provide alternative work locations for staff based on their work behavior. I personally love to work outside of the office. There are less distractions, opens my mind to creative thinking, and reduces my stress levels.
Here’s the thing, trust is a large part of allowing team members to work remotely. There are some managers that do not trust their staff and become micro-managers and always checking in to ensure that everyone is actually working. This is counter productive. As a manager I worked with new team members and informed them that they had to wait 90 days before signing up for an alternative work station. Then based on their work ethics and responsibilities, staff were allowed to work remotely on scheduled days (my organization was not fully vested in the idea but I don’t want to digress).
Moving all programs to a cloud based system is key to having remote staff. For instance using tools like Box for file sharing or making sure your CRM is cloud based. This allows team members to share their work easily and helps with collaboration. Just a few business processes and naming conventions and you are good to go.
Co-meeting spaces are helpful as well. If you find that your team is more productive outside of the office, host meetings at a coffee shop or a co-meeting space to assist with remote team members feeling disconnected. Co-meeting spaces a becoming a huge part of working remotely. It sort of feels like a field trip but you are still working on a specific project and/or goal.
To be clear, not all positions are fit for remote work. It is beneficial to allow people to use their best judgement on their personalities and job responsibilities to come up with a solution (alternative VS office). For instance, if you are not a self starter working from home may not be a good idea. Or if you have small children who don’t understand that you are working and potentially unavailable.
Some people worry about losing face time with senior leaders if they have an alternative work space. To fix this concern, have your team dedicate days in the office. When senior leaders schedule meetings, inform your team that it is an in-person meeting. This is also good practice if you are not a manager. Whenever you have a meeting with a leader of your organization, take the time to drive to the office.
In the end, it is a new age people. Open your mind and think about the individual instead of the team as a whole. What works for one team member may not work for the rest. I mean don’t get me started on high walls versus low walls or stand up desks versus regular desks. Times are a changing.