The Future of Work is Here, and it’s Nothing to Fear

the future of work is here, and it's not astronauts on laptops

Chances you are reading this right now in your home. As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the globe, it has ushered in a new era for the workplace: remote work. 

Hate it or love it, remote working is the only option for many at the moment and for the foreseeable future. Remote working use to just for freelancers and a few progressive, technology-centric organizations, but now banks, governments, small and medium businesses are getting their slipper-covered feet wet in the remote working world.

If you are new to this whole experience, worry not! It’s exciting and full of opportunities. This article will help you outline some of those opportunities and provide some guidance during these troubling times.

The Future Is Now

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A lot of people have been asking about the future of work and how things will actually play out. Now obviously, the future is elusive, but distributed teams have been the talk of the town for a little bit of time. For example, this article from 2017 hints at it.

We haven’t hit the AI-led workplace that is also mentioned, which is probably still a ways away, but it does highlight some important points.

Remote work has been on the minds of many in the past few years as video conferencing, and instant messaging tools have become better and widespread. For many companies, internal emailing is a thing of the past. They have started to use either Slack or Microsoft Teams to coordinate with their teammates and have found great success.

In a more recent article, we also predicted changes once the 4th industrial revolution comes in. Now it looks like the beginning of this sweeping change might be underway with the acceleration of gig workers delivering more and work becoming increasingly remote. 

The future — and by extension, change — is coming at us full force. The thing that we must do as managers is to help our people adjust to this change and guide them. By using this change to find new exciting opportunities for our people, we set our teams up or bigger and better success.

Leveraging Change

Change is hard, especially the kind of rapid change we are seeing at this moment. The shift in your workplace doesn’t have to mean you’ll fall behind, though. You and your team can thrive through this change.

Remote work is bursting with opportunities. From giving people more time by not having to commute to allowing them to work wherever they need to to be the most productive, they can be, remote work is a game-changer. The trick is to leverage it so that you can unlock all that potential. 

Make sure to do weekly video check-ins with your team. Not only does this provide a chance for people to see one another and feel less alone, but it also allows people to voice any concerns they have or ask for help. Our team does two every week, but do an amount that feels right to you. Zapier has an excellent article on how best to conduct these remote meetings.

Try to be more understanding with your teammates when it comes to their schedule too. It can be challenging as people adjust to living with their family or friends 24/7. People might need to shuffle between rooms, deal with childcare, waking up much later than usual and a plethora of other potential scenarios that could play out. 

The 9-5 grind isn’t as applicable in this new age of work; instead, people need their schedule to be flexible. Maybe putting in six hours before noon and then four more after 3 o’clock is the best schedule for them. As long as they can complete their assigned work and show up to your weekly check-ins, your co-workers should be trusted with their own agenda.  

The biggest fear about remote work generally is if people will actually do work without their manager or teammates around them, but this is a fundamental flaw in thinking. People want to be productive. People want to be successful and helpful. Plus, if you can’t trust your employees to do their jobs at their homes, then you that reveals something about your company culture that you should take a hard look at.

Building your Team

Once you get past the initial hurdle of remote working, a bigger one comes your way. Hiring and onboarding during this time are challenging, to say the least. You can’t do in-person interviews, can give handshakes or show people around; everything needs to be at a distance. 

There are ways around this, too, though. The future of work includes the future of team building. Video applications — while having their own drawbacks — are used in my organizations today and are becoming more commonplace. If video applications don’t jive with you, then keeping the more traditional application process and using video conferencing for interviews is something you should look into. Sure, you might not see how that person carries themselves, but body language, tone of voice and all the other usual measures are there for you. 

Digital onboarding is possible in this rushed new age of work. The key to onboarding is fostering relationships as soon as possible, so your new hire doesn’t skip out on you. Now nothing beats a nice face-to-face human connection, but you might be surprised what you can do with some video calls. 

Make sure that new hires are introduced to their teams. That means everyone says hello and a brief introduction. Make sure additional check-ins are done to see how your newest team member is progressing. 

Another way of bolstering your connectedness is by using mentors to help them adjust and navigate your organization. Mentors can be super helpful for new employees when they need someone with experience, but don’t want to look bad in front of their manager.

Building up your team while working remotely is challenging, but it’s not impossible. In fact, a lot of companies are doing it and finding a great competitive advantage with doing everything remotely. Take a look at our article on Employer Branding Strategy to see how you can get an edge too.

Onwards and Upwards

The fact of the matter is; eventually, this lockdown will end. Stores will re-open, people will be able to move and meet again, and many aspects of life will regain normalcy. Our workplaces, however, may never return to how they once were. More and more companies will see the benefit of remote working and more people will start seeking remote work. 

This new age of HR needs a new set of tools. Tools that can be customized to help you with remote hiring, onboarding, and working. Because even when everyone is distant, relationships still makes or breaks the experience. At AllOnboard, relationships are at the core of what we do, and as such, you can create employee journeys that fit you perfectly. These completely customizable journeys can be transformed for any scenario, even remote onboarding. Sign up for a free trial now and let us know how we can help you reach your goals.