Remote work is a growing phenomenon. According to Gallup, the number of remote employees grew from 39% to 43% between 2012 to 2016.
Looking into the types of roles adopting remote work, today 79% of knowledge workers—think software engineers, designers, and marketers—work from home.
Digging further, the number of programmers who work remotely full time has been growing at an average rate of 11.5% per year.
With this rate of growth, remote work is transforming from a luxury to an expectation. Are you supporting your remote engineers and designers, or are you sticking with the status quo?
Companies need to adapt so all employees—no matter where they are—are effective and have the largest possible impact. This is a topic that InVision’s VP of Enterprise Marketing, Jessica Meher, will be digging into in her upcoming talk, How to Support Remote Work and Decide What’s Right for Your Team.
Here are 4 tips to support your remote designers and developers so your entire team can be successful.
Prioritize remote social time
Remote workers often list missing social time as a top pain point. It makes sense. In the office, proximity and timing often drive social interactions. A person is likely to strike up a conversation with whoever else is walking out the door for lunch. For remote folks, social time needs to be engineered.“Make it a habit to Slack your teammates just to say hi.”
So what should companies do? It’s a no-brainer to include a video dial-in to your team meeting. Why not also have a weekly lunch or team check-in on video chat to give the whole team the chance to connect and catch up?
Emulate the drive-by conversation with chat
Have you ever drummed up a random conversation in the hallway and walked away with an awesome idea? It’s amazing when that happens! You don’t need to wait until you see someone in person to trigger an off-the-cuff conversation. You can send a drive-by hello via chat as well.
If you’re a manager, Slack your teammates every so often just to say hello. If you’re remote, chime in on your different channels or send a message to someone you haven’t talked to in while. Make it a habit and a priority.
Focus your meeting time to the minute
We’ve all been to meetings with unorganized agendas or no agenda at all. It’s painful and an unfortunate waste of time no matter where you’re sitting.
However, the loss for the remote person is even greater. For example, meetings and standups can be the best opportunity to use facetime to expedite the completion of a project. If that time isn’t organized, it’s a big loss for the remote employee.“Every meeting should have an agenda.”
For him or her, the conversation can’t continue on the walk back to your desk. Do the work upfront to focus the agenda, send it in advance, and assign pre work ahead of time so the time you have together is focused.
Make your meetings as much like face-to-face as possible
Let’s be real. Video conferencing, especially in group settings, more often than not is terrible. One of the most common conference room setups is a camera mounted on the wall above that TV, with a remote employee seeing from the perspective of literarily a fly on the wall. This can be extremely alienating, and worse is an experience that makes it nearly impossible to chime in and contribute.
To fix this, start thinking about camera placement and whether the view it provides actually gives the remote person the experience necessary to collaborate. For example, there are all-in one video conferencing cameras that almost feel like face-to-face, and that’s much better for collaboration.
As remote work grows and technology continues to advance, we’ll learn and invent new ways to support our employees and improve our teams. At the end of the day, make supporting remote work a priority and we’ll all be able to provide the right conditions for success.
To continue the discussion about how to support remote work, save your seat for our virtual discussion with InVision, MIT, and Wayfair as they share and debate their preferred remote work strategies.