Perhaps you envision, lounging in a hammock at a campsite, or sticking your toes in the sand while you recline in your beach chair with your laptop at the ready and the Jet pack all fired up. You’re ready to work. While that may be your ideal situation, that is not always the case. An 8 hour work day may become a 10 hour day because you are spending time chasing bars of data, or wondering if you’ve maybe overstayed your welcome at the local coffee shop. Working as a digital nomad requires thoughtful preparation to make you successful.
Planning for a trip that you intend to extend by including time in the office while you are away requires you to be mindful and fair to your employer. The worst thing you can do is not be mentally and physically prepared to do your job. Before going on a trip, be sure to check for cellular coverage in and around the location you will be working from. Plus, have a backup plan just in case you get to your location and the coverage is not as expected. From experience, restaurants and coffee shops are the preferred locations, but public libraries and hotels have allowed remote workers to come in, pull up a seat and quietly sit in a corner for hours to get work done.
If you are an employee, here are some tips for being a successful digital nomad with your manager and your employer:
- When you are working, be present and available, just like you would if you were in the office
- If you need to video conference or take phone calls, be professional and make sure to have a distraction free zone in your background or a quiet space to take the call
- Communicate your plan with your boss
If you are a manager or an employer and you are looking to implement a remote environment there are some things to consider.
As many employers utilized a remote work environment during the pandemic, they should consider a path for the future of work within their organization. Perhaps they want to maintain this model of work as it is a benefit to the business as it lowers overhead, and aids in employee retention. In the grand scheme of things, it could be a hybrid model. No matter where you end up, make sure you consider all options carefully. If you are not open to hearing your employees’ feedback, you may risk losing them to an organization that is. If you decide to sustain a remote or hybrid work model, consider implementing a policy that will outline the expectations and transparency for the employees’ flexibility while clearly communicating the work expectations and considerations of the organization.
As an employer, you require the work to get done but many times you do not need to dictate where the employee sits to do it. You do need to be clear with expectations, timelines as well as availability for calls and meetings and then let the employee do the work. You had confidence when you hired this person and should allow a level of trust to do what you hired them to do unless they give you reason or performance indicates not to.
If an employer is not seeing the work output or deadlines are being missed by the employee, they need to address this performance issue just like someone that is sitting in the office. Make sure you are responding according to their job type. For example, you cannot typically document a salaried employee for attendance. If an employee does not show up to a virtual meeting, that is a performance issue if it is a meeting appointment they accepted. When a situation arises where an employee is not performing, have a conversation and address the issue or performance right away to assess the problem. If needed, documentation can be done to start a timeline and see if a pattern is established where the manager and employer have a conversation about the misalignment of deliverables. The quicker this is addressed, the quicker it can be resolved. You also need to consider that there could be something outside of work that is affecting the employee’s performance that needs to be considered prior to documentation. Are they going through some personal issues? Is there a medical concern? Or are they taking advantage of the flexibility offered?
When you are in the process of building your team or growing as a company and want to recruit, are you prepared to have remote employees? Can your business productively work within different time zones? Can you allow work to be remote but need to have regional employees that are in the same time zone? While there are different things to consider, opening up remote workers can allow an increased talent pool and this can be beneficial in a tight labor market.
By building a dynamic remote workforce with a dedicated and highly motivated team the business will retain those successful employees who are engaged and happy with the opportunity to have a flexible work schedule. Thus, saving the business money by reducing the constant churn of hiring and onboarding new employees. Plus, happy employees will perform their best. It may take a little leap of faith for the business to adopt this new way of thinking about how people can work, but the rewards for both the employee and the employer a far greater.
If your business has been operating in a virtual work capacity or you are interested in learning more about how to recruit and create a remote workforce or have additional questions in how to institute a remote work policy our human resource consultants can help you navigate, communicate, and build a successful team. Contact Us and let’s discuss your concerns and ideas for how you would like to incorporate remote work into your business. Give us a call at (800) 317-1378 x14.