Remote Workers Get Out of Their Pajamas
Upwork released a 2018 report on the future workforce and it is no surprise that there is a large favor toward remote workers. In today’s workplace, “63 percent of departments have someone on their team who works a significant portion of the time remotely.” Considering the future, 38% of hiring managers predict employees working predominately remote in the next 10 years.
With several offices and team members across the globe, Emerge has harnessed a productive and engaged culture of remote workers. Glenn Alves, Vice President of Enterprise Alliances, had the opportunity to be one of the first senior employees to move into remote work through his former employer. Today, Glenn has 16 years of remote work at a senior level under his belt.
From overcoming common disadvantages of remote work to managing a team of remote workers, Glenn has developed two principles that provide optimal support to clients and the company.
Working in his “own private Idaho” (Glenn resides in Boise, Idaho) Glenn finds working remote rewarding as he feels more productive and there are less distractions. Being able to work in a comfortable environment that you control provides you the ability to concentrate without interference.
Whether they work in a coffee shop or a formal office space in their home, it is up to the remote worker to find what fits their work style. As easy as it may be to roll out of bed and open the laptop with pajamas still on, Glenn believes there needs to be a strong discipline to maintain professionalism behind the keyboard.
“You need to have the discipline to project a professional business experience on screen or off screen.” Although, you may not be sitting in an office environment with your colleagues, remote workers should operate and function as if they are in a traditional setting. Glenn is able to turn his “work mode” on by getting dressed in professional attire every morning. Through various video calls- clients or company- Glenn feels he displays professionalism and credibility.
By simply putting on a button-down shirt, Glenn can separate himself from the same environment in which he relaxes with family. A study on Social Psychological and Personality Science revealed “wearing formal business attire increased abstract thinking—an important aspect of creativity and long-term strategizing.” Not only do people perceive you as more credible, but instinctively, the remote worker feels more powerful and productive.
Having the flexibility to work from a controlled environment has its perks. But when a remote worker is in a management position or in a position that is team-centric, accessibility to resources and communication within a team can falter.
According to the latest statistics on managing a remote workforce, there are 25% fewer career growth conversations between remote workers and their managers. Glenn has adopted the principle of cadence to bridge concrete communication among his reports and team.
Glenn has two versions of instant messenger, video call, email, phone, and smartwatch nearby at all times in order to be accessible and present for everyone on his team. Mindful of the numerous time zones he has team members in, Glenn holds reflective one-on-ones and task-oriented group meetings to preserve team communication and rapport. “I offset the impersonal [virtual] piece by overlaying a heightened level of responsiveness.”
Another obstacle Glenn has experienced is the common fear of being out of sight, out of mind. As a remote worker, there is no more passing team members in the hallway or being physically present for all client meetings.
State of Remote Work 2017, Owl Labs
Emerge is mindful and inclusive when incorporating remote workers into large corporate events and weekly meetings. Rather than create a disconnect by having the entire office in a conference room and few remote workers video call in; all meeting attendees join virtually to create an all-inclusive culture.
Glenn activates his cadence for all company and client interactions by responding quickly to messages and having the proper tools in his communication platform. Maintaining a virtual relationship can be difficult when there is poor connection through streaming or applications need updating. Ensure the quality of your work is equal to the quality of your communication platform.
Glenn provided three main pieces of advice for workers interested in remote work, or transitioning into remote work for the first time.
This is key to adopt early on. Ask yourself what does that mean to you? What does this do for you? Will this provide me the quality of work I want to showcase? Commit as if you’re meeting your client in person at any time.
“Understand that resource alignment is critical to being productive when you work remote. Having access to the right people, when you need it, and when they’re available is a key consideration”.
Establish a Workspace:
No matter your role or where you feel most inspired, find a workspace that will make you feel productive. Set boundaries on distractions (children, pets, family, etc.) and create an environment where people respect when you’re in work mode.
“Working remotely, people don’t always see you.