Leading In The Age Of Remote Work: Key Factors For Corporate Success

woman enjoying her remote work job at the beach

As part of a remote-first IT staff augmentation company with physical offices across different countries in the Americas, remote work with a touch of a hybrid approach has long been part of our daily structure. Our teams and our clients are spread across the entire continent!

With this unique working model, we’ve reaped the benefits of continued growth and numerous achievements and awards. This article is an overview of flexible remote work considerations for corporate success in 2023.

Where Remote Work Stands This Year

2023’s latest remote work statistics confirm that 98% of workers wish to work remotely while only 16% of companies and less than 13% of full-time employees currently do. According to these trends, 22% of the workforce will access a coveted remote ability by 2025, and approximately 57% of people are willing to leave a job if remote work is removed. IT is also top of the list in industries capable of remote work, mainly thanks to its digital nature.

On the other hand, a CEOWorld Magazine article citing a Harris Poll confirms that “a flexible schedule is now more important to job seekers than employer retirement contributions and unlimited PTO.” People want freedom and flexibility at work right now.

Yet, there’s a big difference between being flexible and the true autonomy people crave. “It is this ability to respond in real time to both unexpected life developments and personal schedule preferences that truly determines whether an employee experiences flexibility,” wrote author Joe Mull.

Results-Oriented Work Environment (ROWE) is, furthermore, a must as it “gives employees the flexibility and choice they want.” Securing work-life balance means letting people address their lives as much as their roles.

Key Benefits Making Remote Work So Popular

Working from any location with an internet connection is a mainstream virtual team benefit. Most seize operations across time zones for wider coverage with reduced environmental impact, a lower carbon footprint and energy consumption. Yet, remote work has also proven to increase productivity and enhance people’s lives.

This year, the London School of Economics Business Review added talent retention and reduced absenteeism to remote work benefits while reminding us of Covid’s lingering effects of burnout, anxiety and stress.

Improved Talent Satisfaction

2023’s remote work statistics cited earlier confirm that remote workers make an average of $19,000 more than those in the office. People working from home can have shorter commuting times, spend more time with family and friends and enjoy the overall flexibility that comes with self-organization and being able to work out of anywhere.

A Wider Talent Pool

A remote-first business can operate with people located in any part of the world. You should hire based on skills and experience rather than fixed locations. In our case, this model has allowed us to considerably speed up our time-to-market.

Prior to remote work, it could take around three months to find an engineer with the precise skills we needed. Now, we’ve been able to decrease this time to an average of around eight days to locate a senior candidate. That’s about an 80-day advantage. Niche industries can especially profit from this.

Workforce diversity is another big plus as employees with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives come on board—a great foundation for innovation and creativity.

man working on his computer remotely on the balcony

How To Grant Teams Autonomy Through Remote Work

Start with a basis of trust and transparency. Don’t survey keystrokes or a worker’s precise in and out times. Instead, support people who are at their best to do what they know best.

In our case, we’ve been streamlining our recruitment process for the past five years and have developed in-house knowledge of the precise skills we need and how to best vet candidates. We work with the savviest talent throughout the entire region, ensuring they have what’s needed to do their job right and trusting them to deliver. Doing so has given us incredible results.

You should run a people-centered organization that’s focused on development and growth, including having steady follow-up sessions with your teams through various points of contact.

Related read: Working in PJs: Why Remote Work Is Here to Stay for the Better

Optional Office Presence And Talent Engagement

Optional office spaces can help the remote-first model in diverse ways. At my company, office attendance is fully optional. We hold targeted initiatives in them to add value for our talent, which further support our talent engagement, benefits, team building, affinity groups and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). As we work out of smaller office spaces for reduced utility and other service costs, this also cuts back on usual office overhead charges.

Consider whether your company can implement something similar.

What To Do If Your Business Isn’t Working Well Remotely

Structure and manage work by being clear about expectations. Check if your team is missing out on key equipment and resources. Do they clearly understand business needs and expected individual and collective performance?

Streamlining workflows has been key for many of our teams, each deciding how they group and structure internal processes based on collective and unit-specific KPIs. We’ve also found great success in having frequent in-person gatherings to meet each other and spend quality time together. Relationships change forever out of those encounters.

Guiding Remote Work With Empathy And Care

Empathic leadership can help build a great sense of inclusion at work. According to the Human Resources Director, “Workers feel that mutual empathy between company leaders and employees leads to increased efficiency (88%), creativity (87%), job satisfaction (87%), idea sharing (86%), innovation (85%) and even company revenue (83%).”

In the end, people just want to be at their best, most productive and secure. For many, that might be at home, on the go, coming into the office sometimes or a mix of all. Let’s give them what they need to succeed.

This article was originally published on Forbes.com