Remote Working Archives | Page 2 of 76 | Blog Wrike
Please enter your email
Server error. We're really sorry. Wait a few minutes and try again.

Remote Working

Please enter your email
Server error. We're really sorry. Wait a few minutes and try again.
How to Know Which Way of Working is Right For You (Infographic)
Remote Working 3 min read

How to Know Which Way of Working is Right For You (Infographic)

The Covid-19 pandemic forced a record number of offices to send their employees into remote working, but as the number of people vaccinated is increasing, offices are reopening and many employees are now faced with a difficult choice. Should they continue to work remotely, return to the office a few days each week, or return to the office full-time?  If your employer has given you the option to choose, here’s how to know which way to work is right for you. 

How to Organize a Team for Long-Term Remote Working
Remote Working 10 min read

How to Organize a Team for Long-Term Remote Working

Remote work isn’t a passing fad — managers need to think strategically about how to organize a team for long-term remote working. Here are some tips on how.

Building Flexible Workplaces: A Definitive Guide to Hybrid Work

Building Flexible Workplaces: A Definitive Guide to Hybrid Work

Get free eBook
How to Ask Your Employer to Work Remotely Post-Pandemic
Remote Working 7 min read

How to Ask Your Employer to Work Remotely Post-Pandemic

It’s difficult to believe that remote work has become a household name in just a matter of two years. Pre-pandemic, only 17% of employees took advantage of remote working, but COVID-19 caused that number to jump to 44% as 16 million knowledge workers packed up their desks in a hurry in March of 2020. Now that vaccinations are on the rise across the United States, offices around the country are reopening. While the return to normal office life might appeal to some employees, others are eyeing the future of remote working and wondering how to ask employers to work remotely post-pandemic.  Requesting to work remotely pre-pandemic used to involve in-depth research into how that could work. Employees used to have to convince employers to take a significant risk in letting them work remotely because remote work was largely uncharted territory. Now, it’s more appealing to a larger swathe of workers and more trusted by employers as a reasonable way to work.  Not all employees want to continue to work remotely. Some found remote work challenges untenable, like social isolation, juggling children engaged in at-home learning, or sharing a space with roommates. However, for many, the advantages of remote work far outstripped the drawbacks, causing them to pursue a future of remote working. Prerequisites for successful remote working If you’re currently wondering how to ask your employer to work remotely post-pandemic, this set of tips will help direct your steps toward full-time remote work.  There are several prerequisites you should consider before asking your employer to stay remote post-pandemic:  Asking your employer to work remotely typically requires that you’re an employee in good standing, as working remotely necessitates a higher level of trust than those working in an office setting.  If you were able to perform your duties well while working from home during the pandemic, you’ll have a greater chance of a positive response.  You’re committed to working remotely in the future. If your employer gives you the opportunity to work remotely, you might not have a desk to return to should you change your mind later.  You have a suitable remote working set-up, whether at home or a co-working space. Remote working requires a space that’s suitable for completing your work each day, including a reliable internet connection and a quiet space for making phone calls or engaging in deep work.  Your job doesn’t require daily in-person interaction, such as a retail or service role. If your duties require you to be physically in your place of work, your employer likely won’t be able to accommodate a remote work request.  If you believe you and your workplace satisfy these prerequisites, you’re ready to request remote working post-pandemic.  How to ask your boss to work remotely in the future These recommendations should help you determine a plan for requesting remote work from your employer:  Request a meeting with your boss: Changes to the way you do your job shouldn’t be undertaken via email or internal instant messaging like Slack. Instead, ask your boss if it’s possible to schedule a meeting to discuss potential ways to improve the way you work. Come prepared to actively request remote work and make your case. Prepare information beforehand: Preparation is your best offense in this situation. You’ll want to outline the reasons you believe remote work will suit you and your ability to do your role. You can either send this information to your boss beforehand or discuss it with them during the meeting — sending it ahead of time might give your boss more time to digest it rather than receiving it on the spot. Start with the following: Highlight how you working remotely will benefit the company Outline your job functions and how they can be better performed remotely List ways remote work will increase productivity for your particular situation, including the possibility of undertaking deep work without distraction Address any potential concerns your employer might have and offer solutions Be ready to address certain objections: If you can, prepare for your boss to raise objections. The following are worth considering before you meet with your boss: If your boss is concerned that you won’t be reachable when needed, you can outline your specific working hours and digital communication tools that can help you stay reachable during work hours. If they feel that your job can’t be done remotely, highlight each function of your role and explain how they can be done from home. If they fear you will be less productive when working remotely, you can bring up previous productivity during the pandemic. Propose plans for keeping your employer apprised of your progress at regular intervals.  Propose a hybrid work compromise or remote work trial  If your employer isn’t completely sold on the idea of you continuing to work remotely, you can propose a hybrid work schedule that meshes with your team work methods. If you know that your team meets monthly at a certain day or time, proposing a specific schedule that allows you to join your team and contribute in person might be more amenable to your boss.  Likewise, suggesting a trial run of working remotely for a period of a few weeks or a month can be a good way to determine whether this set-up will work for both employee and employer. A trial run can also be helpful as employers try to allocate office space moving forward with the future of remote work in mind. It’s important to remember that if you choose to work remotely, there may not be a desk waiting for you if you change your mind.  Use Wrike to keep remote work on track Wrike offers remote working solutions to keep employees connected and collaborating, wherever they’re based. Thanks to instant @mentions and real-time commenting, employers and employees can keep in touch and monitor progress. Automated requests cut out constant check-in emails, while custom reports enable employers to track their team’s progress anytime. Try Wrike for free today, and let our collaborative work management software drive you into the future of remote work.

What Is Hybrid Remote Working?
Remote Working 10 min read

What Is Hybrid Remote Working?

Hybrid remote working bridges the gap between remote work and office work. It offers employees the opportunity to work in an environment that suits them and has a substantial impact on both overall performance and productivity. Despite the weather-related small talk, many people still want to be with their co-workers. And if companies aren’t too eager to return to full-time hours on site for all employees again, there is a solution that is less black and white.  In this article, we’ll provide an overview of how hybrid remote working functions and why it could benefit the companies that employ it.  What is a hybrid remote working model? A hybrid work environment includes both in-office and remote employees. This arrangement allows employees to work from home while still maintaining a physical office. Combining the two work models has major benefits for a number of vulnerable groups, including women, people who have disabilities, parents of young children, millennials, and Generation Z employees.  If that’s not enough to pique your interest, the hybrid remote working model also seems to be a more productive and cost-effective strategy for everyone. There are plenty of companies still pushing the envelope when it comes to working conditions. But many are starting to realize that they need to care more about how their employees are getting things done and where they have to be to do it.  This results-oriented mindset is the driving force behind many decisions to switch to a hybrid remote working model.  When it comes to the day-to-day practicalities of this approach, it can vary widely. In general, hybrid workplaces need conference rooms, at least one large general use space, and a robust online tool for a successful transition. This can save companies real estate space and office expenses which are only a couple examples of the many benefits of hybrid remote working.  What are the benefits of hybrid remote working? After working remotely during the pandemic, many employees are eager to return to their desks. But despite the enthusiasm for shared workspaces, many companies are still reluctant to return to the traditional office setting. That’s where hybrid remote working comes in.  Easier planning Companies can work together with employees to create schedules that everyone will champion. For example, instead of working from home on the same days every week, an employee or team member will come to the office at agreed-upon times instead. This eliminates the need for an office manager to plan meetings and events for in-office hours. Smarter resource management A manager can then customize their work schedule to suit a specific company project. For example, all members of the same team can work from the same office then alternate with another team the following week. More flexibility  Alternatively, companies can choose to give employees the freedom to go into the office whenever they want with the caveat that they do it a minimum number of times per week. An entirely flexible schedule allows employees to customize their work schedules to fit their personal needs. This concept is ideal for people who work from home for disability-related reasons or are on a tight deadline. Happier employees Many of us know from experience now that flexible work can boost employee satisfaction. It’s also a great way to reduce turnover and can be a major selling point for recruitment.  What are the challenges of hybrid remote working? The traditional workday is no longer a requirement for many workers. Instead, they expect more from themselves and are more focused on results-oriented tasks. In fact, studies have shown that there is a link between feeling content with work and being productive. For employees, this expectation presents various challenges that employers have to consider.  These challenges include but are not limited to:  Management Company culture Miscommunication Micromanagement is one of the biggest challenges of both remote working and hybrid remote working. This can be counterproductive and may even lead to resentment amongst employees if taken to an extreme. For example, having to check in constantly or always be online while working from home (even after hours) may lead to a big enough decrease in morale that employees choose to quit.  On the other hand, creating a culture of autonomy can help employees feel secure and accountable. Tip: Strong remote work management training and a great project management platform can help executives monitor teams in more productive ways.  One of the other biggest challenges of hybrid remote working is finding ways to connect people part-time. Simply put, you can't force team culture. Instead of assuming teams will come together socially on their own, managers should try creating a space both online and in-person where everyone feels welcome. This can create a more intimate environment where people can connect and discuss their concerns. Another key issue is communication. Employees need to be able to communicate with each other wherever they are without having to travel to a physical office. By creating an online communication plan, you can easily integrate apps and messaging platforms into your existing systems. Considerations for going hybrid remote For some businesses, switching to a hybrid remote working model may be an impractical or impossible choice. While it is a great alternative to an entirely remote team, it does require more effort and an investment of time to implement. This is especially true when you consider how switching work models affects your company holistically.  When it comes to going hybrid remote, team bonding is more important than ever. Just because you're not in the same location doesn't mean you can't do team bonding activities. Create remote team activities that are both fun and professional. From holiday parties to corporate announcements, there are endless possibilities.  The goal is to show your employees that they're valued and treated the same regardless of where they work. It'll also help them feel included in the team even if they are in an entirely different timezone.  You should also consider taking a temperature check (no pun intended) of your post-COVID company culture. At-home employees are typically more productive, less likely to quit, and generally happier than their in-office counterparts. After many months of telecommuting, you may find that your specific group is better suited to one model over another.  Another important point of consideration is your management team’s style. When managers are used to being around their employees, they may not know how to manage a remote team, much less a part in-person, part remote team. There may be learning curves over time.  One of the other important factors that companies should consider is the number of days employees can work in-office. Again, flexibility is key. Companies should not make strict rules around a minimum number of in-office days unless those rules are directly tied to goals and projects.  Tips for managing a hybrid remote team Set expectations. First, get in touch with your employees to find out their preferences. Then, make sure they're prepared to measure their results no matter where they’re working from. After, discuss the hybrid office options with your senior executives before making the transition.  Make a plan. Create a clear and flexible office schedule for the first couple of weeks back. This transition period can be used to document the various changes that will affect the office environment. Your return-to-work plan should also outline the procedures for the IT department. Develop meeting types. These may serve different purposes or function in new ways compared to the types of meetings you currently host. Make sure to divide up one-on-ones and status meetings so that each remote individual receives some personal attention. Have fun. Fun should be part of all in-office and remote work cultures. Online multiplayer games, virtual happy hours, trivia, and even hybrid karaoke can bring together remote and in-person teams no matter how far apart they are.  Build a foundation. Before the project begins, provide all the details and requirements in advance. This will help avoid misunderstandings and confusion later. Another good step is keeping important documents and communication centralized. Take it slow. Transitioning to a hybrid remote working model doesn’t have to happen all at once. Small changes can be made each month or quarter so that no one gets overwhelmed. This also gives teams time to assess progress and reevaluate their model as they go.  Implement meeting policies. Unscheduled meetings can be disruptive to hybrid remote teams, which is why companies may want to formally schedule them within their project management software or calendar tool. If you do have informal meetings, leaders should document the takeaways within project files and individual tasks as needed. Keep things fair. Leaders should carefully consider the perks of the office and extend them to those who are outside the office. For example, if a team member is remote but still needs to access an onsite gym and daycare, this could be difficult to accommodate. How to support hybrid remote teams with Wrike When remote work is no longer required, what happens when employees choose to work from home? For many companies, this is their first step into a hybrid working model. They need to prepare for this transition to implement it successfully. Here’s how Wrike can help.  Wrike is a hybrid remote working software that lets you work seamlessly across time zones, spaces, and teams.  Wrike helps streamline your collaboration by allowing everyone on the team to save, edit, and share project-related documents in real-time. Having a centralized storage space makes it easier to review, approve, and print documents too.  Wrike also puts micromanagement concerns to rest through visual task management tools. With a clear view of your team's tasks, you can see who's working what, who's available, who’s not, and what the status is of every active project component. Building trust within your team in this way is an absolute necessity to keeping things running smoothly.  In that same vein, Wrike’s dashboards give your management team ample support before, during, and after the transition to hybrid remote working. Essentially, they provide a bird's eye view of projects and the ability to dig deeper when necessary.  With custom dashboards, you can see the status of all your team members' work, as well as the individual's workload. Our collaboration tool makes it incredibly simple to keep track of all your meetings and status updates. Also, it lets you outline the agenda and record notes in the same file. Using Wrike will help both your remote and in-person teams to time too. At-a-glance tools like these prevent employees from having to send or receive status updates to the entire team via email or messenger throughout the day.   And by making project plans and task assignments visible to everyone within Wrike, team members will better understand the roles and responsibilities of others. Not only does it increase their visibility, but it also serves as a constant reminder of what they are working toward. It can even help them feel accountable to themselves and the team.  Wrike can even help simplify and streamline the hybrid remote model scheduling process. The custom calendar feature is a great way to keep track of flexible and remote work arrangements all in one place. The promise of a future where hybrid remote working is the norm is exciting. With Wrike’s help, your team can easily experience the many benefits of the hybrid remote working model for themselves. Start your free trial today.

Working Remotely and In-Office? Here’s How To Plan Your Week
Remote Working 5 min read

Working Remotely and In-Office? Here’s How To Plan Your Week

Worrying about how to adjust to a flexible work schedule? Check out Wrike’s guide to working remotely and in-office to help you plan your week accordingly.

Top Tips on How To Manage a Hybrid Team (Infographic)
Remote Working 3 min read

Top Tips on How To Manage a Hybrid Team (Infographic)

Flexible working is the new standard for businesses worldwide, leading managers to wonder how to manage a hybrid team. Here’s how to lead them to success.

12 Low-Cost Ideas to Boost Employee Morale

12 Low-Cost Ideas to Boost Employee Morale

Get free infographic
Working Across Borders: How COVID-19 Shattered The Confines of Physical Locations and Work
Remote Working 5 min read

Working Across Borders: How COVID-19 Shattered The Confines of Physical Locations and Work

For many global employees, work has traditionally been a physical location upheld by norms around attendance, communication, and collaboration. Over the course of the COVID-19 crisis, as swathes of global office workers transitioned from physical to remote work attendance, many attitudes around work have evolved.    From reigning in an out of control “always on” culture to prioritizing workplace flexibility, employees are exploring new ways of managing work. As organizations pay special attention to hybrid and remote-first hiring, it has become clear that our collective understanding of where work can take place is changing, too.  Distributed work before the pandemic  Though COVID-19 significantly increased the number of people working from home on a regular basis, remote work has been on the rise for years.  Improved infrastructure and work management innovations have enabled digital nomads to travel while working or connecting with teams from decentralized office locations.  Remote-first organizations are hardly a COVID-era phenomenon, either. Companies like Hubstaff, Doist, and Zapier have been remote-first pioneers for years, highlighting the cost and talent acquisition benefits of distributed hiring.   “We can hire people wherever we want to. We don't have to compete for Bay Area talent, and instead, we get to hire the best people all over the world,” wrote Zapier co-founder Wade Foster back in 2020. “Not only does it increase the size of the applicant pool, but it adds a layer of diversity into the company.” The steady rise in remote work has also made the modern workplace more accessible overall, allowing workers with varying needs and backgrounds to access opportunities they might otherwise have missed out on just a few years ago. The structures that make distributed work possible have been a long time coming. However, if 2020 taught businesses and their employees anything, it’s that “making it work” could also mean “making it work remotely.” [caption id="attachment_466235" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash[/caption] Reconsidering work and where it happens  “Effectiveness can’t be measured by the number of hours people spend in an office,” Spotify wrote in an announcement for their distributed-first work policy, Work From Anywhere. “Instead, giving people the freedom to choose where they work will boost effectiveness.” In February 2021, Spotify outlined their decision to allow employees to choose “whether they’d prefer to work mostly at home or in the office — as well as their geographic location.” Spotify’s WFA policy is by no means the “norm” for enterprise or even the company’s industry peers. Still, it does underscore the idea that work potential and effectiveness are not tied to a physical location. Employees know this, too. Many have spent the last year doing jobs they were previously told could only be done in an office. Now that tools like Slack, Zoom, and Wrike have empowered digital workspaces, organizations are adapting their approach to hiring in an environment where workplace flexibility (geographic and otherwise) is a top priority for jobseekers.  Distributed hiring LinkedIn data offers additional insight into how organizations are approaching remote and distributed hiring.  As of May 2021, the career networking site said that the percentage of paid “remote work” job listings on their platform was up by 457% from the previous year. The industries that saw the greatest percentage of remote work growth, according to their data, include media and communications, IT, and corporate services. Presumably, these jobs won’t just disappear once the pandemic is over, signalling a shift in how companies are thinking about talent acquisition over the next few years. In one survey of US-based HR professionals, one-quarter of respondents said they’d be willing to hire fully remote workers anywhere in the country (up from 3% pre-pandemic), with 7% saying they’d even hire globally for open roles (up from 2% pre-pandemic).  Even as global vaccine rollouts see more and more office workers returning to in-person and hybrid attendance, the last year has certainly tested the strict geographical limitations of the pre-pandemic office. Looking beyond local  As with any complex conversation about the ever-evolving workplace, there’s much to consider beyond changing attitudes. COVID-19 may have impacted the way we think about where work gets done, but experts warn about the tax implications of an increasingly remote workforce. Even Zapier’s Wade Foster calls this the “compliance and regulatory elephants in the room,” noting that hiring, payroll, and taxes for teams in multiple jurisdictions can be a huge undertaking.    Still, we are witnessing a real-time evolution in how organizations and employees view work and where it happens. Gradually, many are moving away from the idea that you have to travel each day to a physical location to achieve work goals or connect with colleagues.  By revisiting ideas about strict in-office attendance and creating more remote opportunities, organizations can access a wider talent pool of workers and increase opportunities for diverse and more inclusive hiring.  Building the workplace of the future with collaborative work management The tools we use to meet objectives, collaborate with co-workers, and manage tasks are more important than ever.  Wrike’s collaborative work management features empower an increasingly hybrid and dispersed workforce to manage tasks, collaborate in a flexible environment, and build systems and workflows that reflect how they achieve their goals. Learn more about how Wrike helps teams adapt to the evolution of work by creating digital hubs for innovation and enabling work management from anywhere. Try a free two-week trial and discover why 20,000+ teams trust Wrike.

Lessons from Remote Working We Shouldn’t Forget
Remote Working 7 min read

Lessons from Remote Working We Shouldn’t Forget

It’s been almost 15 months since the WHO declared COVID-19 as a pandemic, the US borders closed to much of the rest of the world, and around 42% of 157 million US workers (almost 66 million) switched to working remotely full-time. While some experts argue that this has led to an unhealthy always-on culture and the rise of Zoom fatigue, we have learned a few very important lessons from remote working that we need to keep in mind as some of us choose to return to work in an office setting. As a result of the flexible remote work policies that have remained for many post-pandemic, many workers are moving to more affordable parts of their metro areas. In the cities of New York and San Francisco specifically, they are leaving the city completely, ditching high living costs for more affordable locations. But it hasn’t been the only major change the remote work revolution has brought. Even before the pandemic, achieving work-life balance had become the second most important factor for US workers in relation to choosing a company after compensation. And the blurred lines that a year of remote work (along with closed schools) brought have forced that further into focus. As Forbes shares, the increased acceptance of working from home may help our workforce to finally gain a better work-life balance. It’s no doubt that a year of remote work has changed both our lifestyles and our priorities greatly. So, what have we learned from the advantages of remote working? And what impact will that have on our decision of whether we want to be working from home or the office? A flexible remote work policy is a must for employers An interesting trend emerged when younger generations entered the workforce – they weren’t afraid to prioritize work-life balance. But what is even more important is that older employees are just as likely to want flexible working — they are just less likely to ask for it, according to The New York Times.  In a report by Harvard Business School, the vast majority of the 11,000 workers and 6,500 business leaders surveyed listed expectations for flexible, autonomous work, better work/life balance, and remote work as the development most urgently affecting their businesses. Only 30% cited that they were prepared for these. And according to The Times, 50% of employees would quit if denied a flexible remote work policy, so it’s a shift that employers will need to pay serious attention to. Teams need the right tools working from home or the office Leaning into a year of remote work made it blisteringly obvious that not all employees had access to the right software. According to a report by Deloitte, employees who worked in a culture that encouraged innovation and had access to collaboration tools were 34% happier than those who did not. And although a third had requested better collaboration tools, only a third of these received a positive response to the request. Interestingly, when employees used the tools they were familiar with at home in the office, they reported increased productivity, higher engagement, and improved morale.  [caption id="attachment_466139" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash[/caption] Achieving work-life balance is more important than ever When many employers initially feared that a move to working from home would lead to lower levels of productivity, study after study has found the opposite – employees get more done but only because they work longer hours. In fact, US workers are working on average three hours extra a day. The long-term result of this? Higher levels of burnout and decreased productivity. And in the short-term? Half of us (54%) are checking our devices more outside of work hours, feel more alone (24%), have gained weight (22%), and feel a decrease in our mental health (21%). The impact of these worrying trends from remote work has revealed that achieving a work-life balance is absolutely paramount for our health and happiness. It is vital that employers need to do what they can to encourage and promote this for their employees. Remote working has proved not every meeting is necessary Like it has done for achieving work-life balance, remote work has made it glaringly obvious that we need to use our time at work wisely. And often, that means clearing our calendar of unnecessary meetings. Recently, investment bank Citigroup announced a ‘Zoom-free’ Friday to ease the video call fatigue associated with our new ways of working.  A large-scale study by Microsoft found that in about 30% of video meetings, employees interacted with their emails, while in 25% of meetings, they worked on other files such as documents. This was especially true for longer meetings and meetings held early in the day. Possibly the most important finding was that attendees of meetings that lasted 80 minutes or more were six times more likely to multi-task than those who were in meetings that lasted 20 minutes or less. Whether we are working from home or office, we need to be selective about how long our meetings need to be (or indeed, if the discussion requires a meeting at all).  Employees need the choice of working from home or office It will come as no surprise that sharing a workspace with your children, pets, or spouse (sometimes in very small spaces) is not for everyone. The Society for Human Resources Management reminds that some employees are uncomfortable with the isolation of remote work. They share the example of The New York Times’ newspaper unit who prefer working from the office as it is what they are used to.  According to The Wall Street Journal, around 25% of work time will be from home (versus 5% pre-pandemic). Meanwhile, Forbes shares a lengthy list of employers that are offering indefinite remote work. The main takeaway is that employees will inevitably have different preferences – the most important thing is that they are given a choice. We need to rethink how we use office space As a result of this choice and the reality that fewer employees will be in the office, organizations will no doubt need to rethink how they use their office space. And let’s face it, it’s a massive expense for employers – it can cost up to $595 per square foot. Even pre-pandemic, it’s estimated that around 30-40% of desks were typically unoccupied anyway.  A study by WeWork found that post-COVID, most employees will want to split their time between the office, home, and other locations such as co-working spaces, libraries, or cafés. ComputerWeekly shares that a quarter of employers are planning to reduce their office space, while almost three-fifths say they planned to change meeting room layouts to make it easier for remote staff to participate in discussions, while 55% would add video-conference rooms.  The biggest lesson from remote work whether we are working from home or office? This year of remote work has been the catalyst to readjust our relationship to work and how we work. In the next normal, employers will need to give employees the opportunity to decide where and how they work, prioritize work-life balance, and get the flexibility they need to do their best work.

How to Increase Project Motivation When Working From Home
Remote Working 7 min read

How to Increase Project Motivation When Working From Home

Boost motivation in project management with these workplace culture tips and tricks. Help your employees regain motivation at work, even during stressful times.

Tips for Agile Team Management When Working Remotely
Remote Working 7 min read

Tips for Agile Team Management When Working Remotely

Agile team management can make remote teams more productive, less isolated, and more dynamic. Learn more with these remote team management tips.

Does Working From Home Increase Productivity?
Remote Working 5 min read

Does Working From Home Increase Productivity?

Does working from home increase productivity? Millions have begun working remotely, many on a permanent basis. But is this good or bad for productivity?

The Ultimate Return-to-Work Checklist for IT (Infographic)
Remote Working 3 min read

The Ultimate Return-to-Work Checklist for IT (Infographic)

Your organization’s IT department has a key role to play in the return to work following the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only do they have to ensure that the office is properly equipped for returning workers, but they also need to provide support for employees adopting a flexible working model.  There’s a lot to consider — so what are the most important tasks to be addressed before going back to the office? We’ve created a handy checklist for IT teams to consult in the run-up to reopening.

The Post-Covid Work Habits to Make (and Break) as an Employer
Remote Working 10 min read

The Post-Covid Work Habits to Make (and Break) as an Employer

Have you ever had a habit that you wish you could break? Biting your nails, scrolling on your phone at night, procrastinating — we all have our vices. Having our lives flipped upside down by the pandemic over the last year (and spending a lot more time cooped up) has forced us to reckon with the bad habits we’ve accumulated over the years, as well as the better habits we’d like to create for ourselves.  But while many of us have done a great job of taking up yoga, cooking meals from scratch, or learning a new skill over lockdown, our work habits are still an area that may need some improvement. Working from home over the past year has allowed us to take stock of our life in employment — how our working style works (or doesn’t work) for us, and what we may want to change when things return to ‘normal.’ And now, as our ‘new normal’ begins to take shape and teams around the world begin to migrate back to the office, it’s a perfect time to make and break some work habits. Why good work habits are important to managing your team As an employer, you have a lot of responsibilities to your team. How you work every day sets an example to those around you — that’s why it’s vital for you always to be actively learning and trying to improve the careers of everyone on your team. The habits you invest in at work show your teammates what is expected of them and how you would like your team to operate. If you create good work habits, your team will be motivated to follow your lead and invest in their own positive habit-building. Now more than ever, it’s essential to motivate your team for success, as we all prepare for returning to work after COVID. Important factors in your return-to-work program To figure out which habits are most important for you to build as we return to the office, it’s essential to understand your employees’ mindsets. After working at home for over a year, many of us have reevaluated our work priorities and what we want from employers in the future. In a 2020 survey, the Adecco Group questioned 8000 workers across eight countries about what would be important to them in working post-COVID, with some interesting insights. A strong case was put forward for employer flexibility and favoring results over clocked hours, with 69% of employees suggesting that their contracts should be based on meeting the needs of the business rather than the hours they work.  74% of employees said they wanted their managers to demonstrate an empathetic and supportive leadership style post-pandemic, with 70% citing support for their mental wellbeing as an important factor in returning to the office.  But while employees are stating emotionally available management as a top priority, employers need some help in that arena. More than half (54%) of the leaders surveyed said they need “support to be able to navigate these new expectations,” with just 12% “excelling” in holistic support of their employees during lockdown.  So how can employers begin to support their teams in returning to the office post-pandemic? As with all great businesses, the example should come from the top. As a leader, the habits you invest in every day, both for your own working style and your employees’, set the example for how you want your business to succeed. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of essential habits to form as you prepare for RTO, as well as some to leave behind.  The work habits you should make when returning to work after COVID Open communication The way you communicate with your employees has a direct correlation to your business’s success. Organizations with effective change and communication programs are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers. According to McKinsey, productivity can increase by up to 25% in organizations where employees are connected. As an employer, strive to create an environment of open communication and transparency. Employees appreciate being kept in the loop about important updates and changes, especially when much about the workplace is so uncertain. Practice regular updates and feedback sessions with your team, engaging with them on a personal level as well as on a corporate one. Use remote tools to your advantage and create a stream of consistent communication with your team, no matter where they're based. Your team should know that you are available to listen to their concerns and will communicate with them openly wherever possible. Active feedback Whether it’s to address an issue with their work or praise them for a job well done, it’s vital that your organization practices active and regular feedback for your employees. According to Officevibe, “four out of 10 workers are actively disengaged when they get little or no feedback”, with 43% of highly engaged employees receiving feedback at least once a week. Liaise with your team leads and ensure that a feedback policy is put in place for your organization. Celebrate your employees’ wins, both big and small, and advocate for them when their work is not up to par — ensure that they feel supported and work with them, not against them, to find a solution. Mentorship A 2016 Gallup engagement poll showed that 82% of managers and executives are seen as lacking in leadership skills by their employees. Team leaders have many responsibilities, but being a reliable and consistent mentor to their employees is perhaps the most important. As an employer, investigate implementing a mentoring program in your organization. Pair new hires with more experienced executives and encourage open conversations around career advice and development in the office. As an individual leader, make it a habit to check in with your team individually on how their career goals are developing at your organization. What can you do to lead and encourage them? Embracing hybrid working It’s no secret that COVID-19 has completely changed the game in terms of remote and hybrid working. The pandemic has accelerated the burgeoning trend of hybrid working worldwide, and, according to countless reports, the method is here to stay. While it can be difficult to pivot your leadership style to mesh with a hybrid working model, endeavor to make it a priority for you and your team. Ensure your remote workers are supported, both holistically and technically, with the right equipment and software to collaborate seamlessly. Investing in technology Over the past 18 months, innovations in technology have made it possible for teams to collaborate and communicate in unprecedented conditions. As we transition back to ‘normal,’ adopting a technologically forward mindset is just as important. Technology can be utilized in myriad ways at your organization — whether that’s in work management software to streamline projects, scaling AI to prevent failures and defects in your products, or creating a safe, post-COVID environment for your employees.  While building your new work habits, remember that some of your well-practiced habits may not be serving you like they used to. Here are some that you should consider leaving at home as you return to the workplace. The work habits you should break in your post-COVID office Overdrawnpointless meetings We’ve all thought to ourselves, “couldn’t this have been an email?” in a Zoom meeting at some point this past year. As we return to the office, employees are less likely to politely accept unnecessary time-wasting. While regular meetings and updates are necessary for smooth project management, it’s worth keeping them to a tight schedule and only herding everyone into the boardroom when completely necessary. Make use of your newfound technology innovations and explore more efficient ways to communicate with your team.  Multitasking You may pride yourself on being a fantastic multitasker, but is this skill beneficial to your work? Studies have shown that when our brain tries to switch back and forth between two tasks, especially if those tasks are complex and require active attention to complete, we become less efficient. Similarly, if you work on your tasks with your email or chat software constantly pinging you about other tasks, it’s difficult to complete anything to a good standard. When you return to the office, cut your multitasking, focus on one task at a time, and encourage your team to do the same. You may start to notice a marked improvement in productivity.   Favoring time over output As your employees have gotten used to more flexible working hours, you should reevaluate how you measure their performance as they return to the office. Are you more interested in them staying late every evening or turning in a fantastic finished product? As we return to ‘normal,’ your employees will be just as motivated to do their jobs well, but time spent online should not be a marker for success. As a leader, set an example of not micromanaging your teams’ schedules, especially outside working hours. Research has shown that an ‘always on’ culture can be harmful to productivity and employees’ mental wellbeing. Scrap clockwatching and see how your team can get creative with their workloads.  Disorganization A 2017 Staples survey of small business owners saw 1 in 3 say that workplace disorganization leads to less productivity. What’s more, 75% of struggling or failing business owners believed that workplace disorganization had contributed to their lack of success. Workplace disorganization means lost opportunities, lost productivity, and lost revenue for your workplace. As an employer, it’s imperative that you are organized and coordinated in your day-to-day work. Workers rely on you for guidance and assistance, and if you’re scrambling to locate a certain file, contact, or project deliverable, this can eat away at their confidence in your leadership. Invest in organizational tools, such as a flexible all-in-one work management system like Wrike that can keep everything in one place and give you more time to lead. Ignoring work-life balance According to Gartner’s 2020 ReimagineHR Employee Survey, employers that support employees with their life experience see a 23% increase in the number of employees reporting better mental health. This is of a huge benefit to employers, who see a 21% increase in the number of high performers compared to organizations that don’t provide the same degree of support to their employees. Over the pandemic, workers have experienced higher stress levels than ever before. As we transition back to the workplace, you must invest in their mental wellbeing, which starts with encouraging a healthy work-life balance. How Wrike can help your team form better work habits as you return to the office Using a work management system like Wrike can encourage your teams to do their best work. Here are just some of the ways that using Wrike can help to build positive work habits: Collaboration-focused software, including chat and email integrations and real-time feedback and editing, will allow your team to work together from anywhere and communicate seamlessly, cutting back on wasted time waiting on emails or bad connections. Resource management tools will take the stress out of organizing your return to work program. Create tasks and subtasks for all your RTO needs, and organize deliverables seamlessly. Our all-in-one software means that your hybrid and remote workers don’t have to worry about technology troubles or lack of access. Everything is right at your fingertips with Wrike. Interested in how we can help your teams to thrive post-pandemic? Try Wrike with a two-week free trial.

How to Stay Focused While Working From Home as a Creative Employee
Remote Working 7 min read

How to Stay Focused While Working From Home as a Creative Employee

WFH productivity can be hard with at-home distractions. Learn how to stay on task and how to stay focused when working from home even if you’re new to it.

Wrike's Top Remote Project Management Tips
Remote Working 7 min read

Wrike's Top Remote Project Management Tips

Many are getting used to the reality of remote project management. Coordinate project components and stay on track with these remote project management tips.

Common Challenges of Working From Home for Business Operations Managers
Remote Working 5 min read

Common Challenges of Working From Home for Business Operations Managers

Remote work is more common than ever and the challenges of working from home are undeniable. Learn more about common operations management challenges.

Top Tips for Hiring Remote Employees in Marketing
Remote Working 7 min read

Top Tips for Hiring Remote Employees in Marketing

Develop the right techniques for hiring remote employees. Craft interview questions for remote workers and learn how to hire employees effectively with Wrike.

The Post-COVID Work Habits You Should Make (and Break) as an Employee
Remote Working 7 min read

The Post-COVID Work Habits You Should Make (and Break) as an Employee

What work habits should you take with you on returning to work after COVID-19, and which should you break? Learn more about good work habits with Wrike.

How to Show Leadership in Project Management During Times of Crisis
Remote Working 5 min read

How to Show Leadership in Project Management During Times of Crisis

The importance of leadership in project management cannot be overstated. Learn more about what it takes to lead during times of crisis with Wrike.

How to Plan Your Work Week When Working From Home
Remote Working 7 min read

How to Plan Your Work Week When Working From Home

Learning how to plan your work week will help you stay focused when working from home. Use Wrike to create an effective weekly work plan that boosts productivity.

Is the 9-5 Job Dead? The Rise of Flexible Working in the Post-Pandemic Office
Remote Working 7 min read

Is the 9-5 Job Dead? The Rise of Flexible Working in the Post-Pandemic Office

In February 2021, just two months before all US adults were to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine, Brent Heyder, the president of Salesforce, declared, “the 9-5 is dead." Even if it soon becomes safe for office-based employees to return to work in their droves, some companies are not entirely sure that the traditional 9 to 5 job is worth returning to.  Instead, companies like Salesforce are giving employees the choice between:  Flexible working (1-3 days in-office for collaboration, meetings, and presentations) Fully remote (for roles that do not require the office or those who live too far from one)  Office-based (for roles that cannot be done from home)  The company argues that ditching regular work week hours will improve employee connection, work-life balance, and equality, ultimately leading to increased innovation and better business outcomes. So, is the 9 to 5 job really dead? There is no doubt that flexible working looks likely to become a standard offering for many employers. With improvements to technology, we have seen trends such as the rise of digital nomadism flourish. Around 70% of employees expect flexible work schedules post-pandemic, and 50% say they would leave a job if it were not offered. However, the idea that “the 9-5 is dead” may be an oversimplification.  According to a report by Inc., regular work week hours have always been a "modern-day illusion," and clocked time has never been a good indicator of progress or productivity. It argues that, by giving employees task ownership instead, they can complete these more efficiently with respect for both their own time and their teammates’. Inc argues that the 9-5 job is not dead because it did not really exist in the first place — most workers struggled to get their work done within the allocated time, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. By allowing flexible working and shifting our focus to outcomes and the benefits of remote working, workers can avoid burnout by using their time more wisely and setting appropriate, achievable timelines for their goals. Why working 9 to 5 hours may not suit younger employees Enabling flexible working will not only future-proof your organization to accommodate employees’ expectations, but it will also be an important move for retaining younger employees. For example, nearly one in two (45%) of millennials will choose flexibility over pay. And when the vast majority of businesses report that it costs $15,000 - $25,000 to replace a millennial employee, it could be an expensive mistake not to hear this preference.  The New York Times echoes this, saying, “it’s not about jumping up titles, but moving into better work environments.” Companies such as Apple and Walmart have also begun to discuss the need to shift the focus from prioritizing shareholders to taking care of employees. An increase in flexible work schedules may also help gender equality. As more fathers and non-parents request it, there is less space for "the flexibility stigma" mothers experience to remain. A survey by Werk also found that older generations are just as likely to want flexible working — they’re just less likely to ask for it. How to move away from regular work week hours So, if flexible working is inevitable, then what is the best way to implement it? A report by Inc. advises to keep these three golden rules: Debunk the 40-hour myth. What was first introduced by Henry Ford in the early 1900s to attract autoworkers who were used to 12-hour shifts has become obsolete. In fact, having fewer hours to complete a task tends to sharpen focus. Adapt to peak-performance styles. Some people thrive by replacing their fifth working day with four 10-hour shifts, while some find that impossible. Offer your employees the opportunity to decide when and how they work best. Offer solutions to the challenges of working from home, including home office setup ideas and appropriate technology. Synchronize schedules. Ensure that teams who do need regular meetings have at least some overlap during their flexible working hours. This may not need to be every day but assess how often your team will need it. Different flexible working options Inc. outlines some of the options available for organizations hoping to move on from the concept of the 9 to 5 job below: Flexitime: Employees can choose from a range of available hours Compressed work week: The work week is compressed into fewer than five days (usually by creating four 10-hour days) Flexiplace: Employees can work virtually from home or any non-office location Job sharing: Two people voluntarily share the duties and responsibilities of one full-time position, with the salary divided according to this share Work sharing: Usually used to avoid layoffs, this introduces reduced hours and salaries for a portion of their workforce in order to maintain all employees Expanded leave: Employees can request extended periods of time away from work without losing their rights as employees – this can be paid or unpaid Phased retirement: Under this arrangement, the employer and employee agree to a schedule of gradual reduction of work commitments over a period of months or years Partial retirement: Employees can continue working on a part-time basis, with no established end date Work and family programs: Employers provide some degree of assistance to employees who have childcare or elder-care responsibilities Benefits of flexible work schedules According to job advertisement site Flexjobs, some of the benefits of leaving a 9 to 5 job behind for employees include: Improved retention: Even pre-pandemic, 80% of workers would choose a job that offered a flexible schedule over those that did not, with 80% saying they would be more loyal to their employer if afforded flexible working. Increased talent: By offering what is known to be one of the most attractive perks, offering flexible work schedules can help your organization recruit top-tier talent. Improved diversity: Not only has inclusion and equality become a non-negotiable for younger workers, building a more diverse workforce creates higher-performing teams, so it’s also smart business. Increased productivity: Even before the pandemic, remote workers worked more hours on average than in-office employees. But more importantly, shifting to a results-oriented culture enables teams to focus on getting the results they want. Improved employee engagement: One of the best ways to drive engagement is to show workers they are respected enough to be trusted with flexible working Decreased costs and environmental impact: Unsurprisingly, fewer overheads and less commuting (or at least less rush-hour traffic) have a hugely beneficial impact on cutting costs and helping climate change. How Wrike helps teams succeed with flexible working Now that the world’s workforce is starting to ditch the 9 to 5 job, we need the right software to keep up. Wrike enables teams who opt for flexible work schedules to gain 360° visibility on progress and productivity with shared dashboards, one-click Gantt charts, and advanced, automated reporting. Get started for free. 

Remote Work Security Survey Results: Is Remote Work Really Secure?
Remote Working 7 min read

Remote Work Security Survey Results: Is Remote Work Really Secure?

Wrike conducted an online survey with 1,000+ respondents employed full-time by organizations in the U.S. Read our findings to see whether employees are taking cybersecurity seriously and why or why not.