Guest Post by Meetfox

The time is gone when only the freelancers worked remotely. After COVID-19 brought a halt to the fast-paced, many companies changed their way of working rather than ceasing to work. Even before the nationwide lockdowns were announced in different countries, a majority of companies had started working remotely as a preventive measure against the spread of the virus.

As easy as it sounds to recruit remote workers with all the remote work tools available, it is a daunting task to get remote teams using new technologies. From providing them with the essentials to introducing them to the latest applications and technologies, syncing a remote team is not an easy task. In this article, we discuss the state of remote work, the benefits of working remotely, the challenges associated with new technologies and work from home tools, and how to make your remote team onboard new technology.

The State of Remote Work

While some companies were already offering remote work, after the coronavirus outbreak, working from home became the new normal.

Pre-pandemic, according to Hubspot, 4.7 million employees in the US—which is nearly 3.4% of the workforce work from home at least half the week. 44% of employees have recruited a part of the team that works full-remote. Even before remote work was forced on business, many people were more willing to work remotely. According to another survey, 99% of people would like to work remotely for at least some time in their careers.

Post-pandemic, companies like Twitter have permitted their employees to work remotely indefinitely, irrespective of the duration of the pandemic. Mark Zuckerberg claimed that within a decade or so, they could get to about half of the company working remotely permanently. 

Source: Buffer 

What makes working remotely such a feasible option among companies? Let’s look at some advantages of working remotely:

  • The employees can work from any place at any time. It saves them the commute and provides them with their own private workspace.
  • Work from home witnessed an increase in productivity despite the employers being afraid of the possibility of seeing a decline in productivity.
  • The remote work culture allows companies to employ ‘the best of the best’. Geography no longer restricts the talent pool.
  • Working from home saves the environment. Lesser traffic, lesser pollution, and fewer disposables help Mother Nature.

These are just a few benefits of working remotely. The advantages of working from home benefit not just the employees but the employers as well. It saves companies overhead costs like office rent, equipment (as most workers already have their own laptops and other equipment), etc. 

Remote workers should use office management software like Trello, Todoist, etc for improving productivity. I recommend they make use of a time management matrix better manage their time.

Working Around New Technologies While Working Remotely

Switching from on-site working to working remotely, the reliability of technology has increased tremendously. Technology is not only connecting teams, but it gets their work done from any part of the world.

Several tools and applications make working remotely a piece of cake. There are numerous tools prevailing these days to help teams manage their work efficiently, some of which include Slack, Evernote, Google Drive, Live Agent, and the list goes on.

Hundreds of new tools are launched each day, and it’s difficult to not only find the right tools for your business but also introduce new technology to your team in a way that makes it stick. 

Even though the technology is a part of our everyday life, the advancements in technology have made it hard for remote workers to get a hold of every other new tool that comes out and harder to get every team member onboard technology. Here are a few examples of why teams struggle to adopt new technology into their workflow:

  • Lack of documentation or tutorials for the tools
  • Difficult to make remote workers learn how to use the tools 
  • Not all remote workers are tech-savvy
  • Lack of equipment besides phone/laptop that a tool needs to work flawlessly
  • Not every team member trusts the prescribed tool (security concerns)
  • Lack of synchronization between team members

How to train/onboard your remote team on a new tool

Sure, it’s hard to understand technology but once you understand it, you will start teaching your co-workers how to use it. It took us time to learn the Math tables, but the lessons learned during that time have remained in our memory since then. Technology is hard at first, a cakewalk once you learn how to play around with technology.

Follow these steps to successfully onboard new technology to your team:

  • Create a document that will outline the purpose of the tool, where to access it, the prerequisites, links to help docs, and links to tutorial videos, if any. 
  • Create a step-by-step plan where each step stands for an action to be taken by the remote workers.
  • The team leader/trainer may record a video encompassing steps 1 to n. They could use screen recording tools like Camtasia, Loomly, etc.
  • Create a checklist (spreadsheet) to keep a track of the progress (in terms of onboarding), something like:
Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
Remote Worker 1 Success Success Failure <Mention the problem>
Remote Worker 2 Success Success Success Success
Remote Worker 3 Failure <Mention the problem>
  • If the majority of remote workers get stuck at a particular step, try hosting a video conferencing session where screen sharing can be used to walk through the issue
  • If only a particular individual faces a problem, the trainer could use remote desktop connection apps (like Teamviewer) to control their system remotely and get them through the obstacle.
  • For problems that have been solved by other co-workers, encourage co-workers to solve problems of other co-workers. It would save time and build the team-work spirit among the workers.

Conclusion

The shift to entirely remote work came on quickly and unexpectedly. One way to navigate the changes is to properly leverage the abundance of technology available to make the transition easier. Knowing how to onboard new technology in a way that it will be adopted quickly is a skill set that will aid remote businesses in this time of uncertainty. 

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