The Remote Work Playbook
2020 has been quite a year, having caused interruptions to many people's working life due to COVID-19 which has impacted the lives of people globally. Through these troubling times working staff have been separated from their beloved desk and chair, working their 9-5 job week in week out to being enclosed to the confined to their own home as quarantine measures have been instilled globally. The new term "Work from Home" has been coined and would be a term that resonates, as it has suggested for a new lifestyle for many, by eliminating the need for commuting, allowing for a flexible working schedule and even a formal dress code.
Remote work has become increasingly popular due to the flexibility and the increased productivity from replacing the standard routine of having to work in a physical office. More of the benefits of remote work can be read from our blog. Especially with the global pandemic, COVID-19, this further fueled the need to work remotely as countries are restricting local’s movement. Therefore, the purpose of this playbook is to equip you and your company with the right knowledge and tools to be prepared for embarking on adopting a remote work culture. For employers, working from home can boost productivity, lower organizational overheads, reduce turnover and allow employees to enjoy perks like flexibility and lack of commuting which can boost morale. To ensure that working from home is effective, it is imperative that there is a schedule you can stick to, a form of connection with others, and adequate technology. It has been noted that computer and IT is one of the top fields for remote work.
Recruitment How HubbedIn Source Talents At HubbedIn, we pride ourselves in finding the right talent for companies. As a start, we have two streams of methods to source talents. Firstly, our sales team proactively outreach to potential talents. Second, we have aspiring talents approaching us through advertisements and word of mouth. We are deeply focused on ensuring potential candidates have the requisite skills and knowledge through pre-emptive background screenings and reviewing of previous projects.
How to Keep New Employees Connected and Engaged?
After potential candidates are selected and welcomed into HubbedIn, there are many concerns about connecting with talents and ensuring they are connected and engaged despite the remote culture. To officiate them into the HubbedIn family, we will first welcome them with an onboarding package to ease their assimilation while at the same time spurring them to hone their skills.
To keep employees bonded we forge people from similar groups to connect talents despite the nature of remote culture where there is unintentional individualism. Alongside that, we aspire to pair new talents with our senior talents. This is to ensure that help is readily available and rendered when required. To supplement that, we have our very own IT team ready 24/7 to support our talents whenever they face any issues or challenges to ensure that our talents receive the required support to ensure smoothness despite working remotely.
How to Keep Employees Upskilled and Updated? One of the cultures that we aspire to achieve is that our talents constantly upskill themselves and remain attractive to companies. One method we adopted is to come up with occasional programming tests to benchmark our talents in their language proficiency and also chart their progress. Incentives and rewards will be recompensed so as to encourage our talents to continually hone their skills. We have also granted our talents access to several interactive training tools so as to supplement their learning and development. We believe that investment in these tools is crucial to their development as we are determined to grow and nurture our talents. In conjunction, we aim to send our talents on remote upskilling and character development courses so as to not only improve their proficiency but also ensure they are a value-add to your company. Lastly, we connect with our talents through our weekly newsletters where they can find relevant self-development content and updates. These are put in place to ensure that despite adopting a remote work environment, our talents are rooted and provided with a conducive working environment.
Communication How to Ensure Connectivity?
With a remote work culture, the most prominent difficulty we face is ensuring that our talents remain rooted and connected. By being connected, we hope to instil a sense of identity and bridge social connections despite having talents from all over the world. One such way is through our social platform where they can share ideas and communicate freely with any other talents. Through this platform, they get to connect with other like-minded people and develop their organisation identity. Some tools that we promote for remote meetings are Zoom, Google Meet, and BigBlueButton. These tools are user-friendly, efficient in giving out presentations and conveying ideas. More than just for work, they can be used to conduct bonding activities such as playing online games together. More ideas can be read from our blog here. These are all done to ensure that our talents feel a sense of belonging and empowered to display products in their work.
How to Maintain a Work-Life Balance?
This question raises concerns on the employee's productivity and output due to the flexibility in their working conditions. This greater flexibility allows employees to balance their health and mental wellbeing better to potentially increase morale and thus then reflected in their output. With the increased freedom one receives and time saved, they can focus on their health by allowing more time to exercise and mental wellbeing to prevent them from burnout in the long term. We also ensure that we monitor our talent's wellbeing closely to optimise productivity, to provide them with assistance effectively when required.
How to Measure Productivity? Lastly, the most important communication component is the question of measuring productivity. As employers, they are deeply concerned with revenue and productivity. Therefore, we want to ensure that as we pair our talents with companies, they produce quality results. Some tools that we recommend are Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework, Management by Objectives (MBO) framework, and Project Management Systems.
OKR framework is a goal-setting tool used for individuals or teams to track progress, create alignment, and encourage engagement around measurable goals. The templates are easily obtained from the internet and can be easily crafted. The results are easily quantifiable, thus making it a favourable measurement tool for organisations. MBO framework is a strategic management model that aims to improve the performance of an organisation by clearly defining objectives that are agreed to by both management and employees. The effectiveness of this framework is attributed to the collaboration and effort between employers and employees simultaneously. Therefore the results of setting the objectives are realistic and achievable. Project management systems are software that aids in project progression. It helps project managers and teams collaborate and meet goals on time while managing resources and costs. Functions may include task distribution, time tracking, budgeting, resource planning, and team collaboration. This system is popular with employers who prefer tools to be fully-automated.
How to Prevent Data Breach? Security has been the greatest concern when adopting a remote work culture. This is because confidentiality can be easily compromised. Coupled with the complexity of today’s technology, the risk is even greater. Therefore, we have adopted several pre-emptive measures to safeguard our talents and also you and your company.
The safest approach is to issue corporate devices to our talents such that the risk of a data breach is kept minimal. However, this can only be done if our resources permit. As such, we require our talents to safeguard themselves with defensive software such as Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, File Encryption, and Email Encryption. This is to minimise external threats from compromising the information.
In addition, we require our talents to use Virtual Private Network for an encrypted connection to further mitigate the risk. We also advocate the standard protocol of disposing of confidential materials properly, such as shredding physical materials and deleting virtual materials. Lastly, we hope to mitigate the risk by limiting the access the talents have to your company’s confidential information. Due to our talents being from all over the world, it is difficult to ensure complete security and that information will not be compromised. Therefore we implemented these precautions to heightened security. Technical Support Besides safeguarding themselves, we offer technical assistance to talents who require them. This ranges from remote online support to technical helpdesk support. We understand the potential disruption that may arise from remote working and thus set in place these as risk management. Employee’s productivity is at stake as well, thus the pre-emptive measures.
Common Issues/FAQ Trust Issues
The most prominent concern that we foresee when companies engage in remote work is the release of sensitive information. Adding on to the fact that companies will have close to zero physical interaction with their remote employees, the question of how to build trust remains an issue. Therefore, we have provided steps and methods for companies to minimise the potential risk that arises. Similarly, we encourage frequent interactions between our talents and your company so as to establish and develop trust. Trust is the basis of any cooperation and we hope to develop a tightly knitted community with similar values. Miscommunications Working with developers from all over the world remotely, there is bound to be miscommunication and misunderstandings that will surface. Therefore here at HubbedIn, we wish to minimise them by introducing cultural exchange programmes. This is to introduce one another’s culture to develop a culturally sensitive environment. At the same time, we wish to introduce team-bonding activities periodically so as to build up the camaraderie and teamwork between team members. This also contributes to better communication within teams and minimises problems from arising.
Monitoring Employee's Wellbeing Every employee is an asset to the company, and so is their wellbeing. Also, their wellbeing is closely linked to their productivity. As such, their wellbeing is our greatest concern and we wish to maintain it at the highest level. This can be achieved through periodic checking up with them, not just checking up on their progress but also their mental health. To our talents, this proactiveness can be very important to them as we are perceived to be intentional and deeply committed in ensuring their wellbeing. This builds up the organisation pride and is beneficial in the long run. At the same time, we aim to introduce physical gatherings for talents residing in similar locations just to unwind and get to know people from the same field. This is important in ensuring that they are mentally healthy and able to deliver productivity. Also, they can share useful information and seek advice if required.
Building a Culture With employees from all over the world, it is important to set a definitive culture so as to align values. This is because talents from different cultures could approach the same task differently. Therefore, it is important for companies to set a culture that nurtures and is fun at the same time. Enjoyable workplace culture is attractive and crucial in preserving talents. This attributes to better communication within teams and improved employees' wellbeing. Therefore, developing a culture is crucial in attaining all these as to achieve success.