How to Build a Productive Remote Working Environment

Since Coronavirus, the landscape of the modern workforce has changed. The number of remote workers has shot up from 4.7% in 2019 (pre-covid) to around 14% in 2024.

Whilst that doesn’t sound like a monumental jump, Coronavirus certainly introduced a large portion of the modern workforce to what life could be like working remotely.

With 78% of remote workers (in May 2022) stating that working from home has given them a better work life balance, it’s crucial to see why the option to work from home is highly sought after.

On the flip side, an independent report done by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research shows remote working can lead to a 10-20% drop in productivity.

So by now you’re probably wondering… “How do I build a productive remote working environment?”

In this blog, we’ll be walking through the Dos and Don’ts of a remote working environment to ensure you get the best out of your team.

Contents of this blog...

Tip 1 - Encourage Creativity & Collaboration.

Promoting collaboration and creativity in a remote working environment is essential for maintaining productivity, fostering innovation, and ensuring team cohesion.

Due to the isolated nature of most remote working environments, some employees may experience feelings of disconnection and general demotivation, leading to a decline in general productivity levels and employee welfare.

A study by the Royal Society of Public Health found that 67% of remote workers reported a disconnect between themselves and their colleagues.

67% of remote workers reported a disconnect between themselves and their colleagues

In order to combat this, you should be actively encouraging team members to come together, given the opportunity.

Whether it’s to engage in brainstorming sessions, share ideas or collaborate on a project.

Make sure you’re doing this where possible and you’ll quickly see the benefits, as a collaborative environment can often bring forward fresh perspectives and solutions to particularly challenging problems.

Tip 2 - Create Accountability

Giving your team accountability in a remote setting is crucial because it helps maintain productivity and trust.
 

When team members know they are responsible for their tasks and outcomes, they are more likely to stay focused and deliver quality work. Accountability encourages them to take ownership of their roles, leading to better time management and efficiency. 

It also helps prevent misunderstandings and ensures everyone is clear about their responsibilities, which is essential when you can’t just walk over to someone’s desk to clarify things.

Additionally, accountability fosters a sense of trust and autonomy among team members. When leaders show that they trust their team to handle their duties independently, it boosts morale and motivation. Team members feel valued and empowered, which can enhance their overall job satisfaction and commitment to the team.

Tip 3 - Trust Your Team

On the topic of trust, it’s essential to have faith in your team when working in a remote setting because it forms the foundation of a healthy working environment.

Trust allows team members to feel confident in their abilities and decisions, leading to increased independence and innovation.

When leaders trust their team, it reduces the need for constant supervision and micromanagement, which can be both time-consuming and demotivating. This trust also promotes a positive work environment where employees feel respected and valued.

An easy way to achieve this is to set deadlines for projects and let your team get on with it. 

This moves us onto our next topic, micromanagement.

Tip 4 - Avoid Micromanagement

Probably one of the biggest destroying factors of a healthy remote workforce is micromanagement.

Typically, micromanagement is found where a foundational trust isn’t, and truth be told, nobody wants their direct supervisor clock watching or monitoring everything they do. 

Micromanaging your employees can be a clear indicator of distrust, with 71% of employees say micromanagement interferes with their job performance and 85% saying that being micromanaged affects their morale.

A dissatisfied and disengaged workforce will never deliver the same quality of work that their respective opposites would, which is why we can’t stress the importance of avoiding micromanagement when your team is fully remote.

71% of employees say that being micromanaged impacts their job performance.

How do I avoid micromanaging my team?

To avoid micromanaging your team, you need to know when to step back and let your employees do the jobs they were hired to do. Instead of hovering over their every move, set clear deadlines and expectations to projects and focus on the delivered outcome, not how they get there. 
 
Offering support and guidance is fine when needed, just make sure you’re not shutting down or being critical of your employees free thinking and instead promoting initiative and creativity. This approach helps build team confidence & morale and foundationally creates a micromanagement-free workplace.
 
Also, make sure you set clear expectations during the onboarding process so your team know what is required of them. This way, you’ll avoid any misconceptions. If you haven’t got a defined onboarding process, we’ve written a blog on how to build one.

Tip 5 - Hire the Right People

 

One of the biggest benefits of hiring remote candidates is that you can attract talent from all over the country, not just locally. While it’s easier to find candidates when hiring remotely, not all will be a good fit for your team.

Since the role is remote, you need someone who’s self-motivated, can work well both independently and collaboratively, and is responsible. If you’re not confident in handling this yourself, or prefer to leave it to experts, consider hiring through Caroo.

We’re a finance, tech, marketing, and sales recruitment agency that can help you find top talent quickly. 

With our years of experience, we know the right questions to ask and can identify the best fit for your business.

Get the ball rolling with us today by clicking the button below.

Top tip: When trying to attract the right applicants to a job advert, you’ll need to make sure your job description is masterfully crafted to avoid confusion. We’ve written a blog on how to write the best job description. Go give it a read!
 

Tip 6 - Invest in Communication Channels

 

One of the most important tips in this blog is addressing the lack of social interaction for remote workers. Many remote workers miss the buzzing office environment and human interaction (which we as humans naturally rely on!)

In May 2022, 19% of remote workers reported a decrease in wellbeing due to remote work. This is why investing in communication tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack is crucial. If you want to create a productive remote workforce, you need to create an environment where people can come together and reproduce that lively office atmosphere in their own way.

Encourage small talk, create channels in your communication medium for discussing hot topics or weekend activities, and come together to celebrate small wins whenever possible.

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