A great team is what makes a company successful. With the right people behind your business, who believe in what you do and want to see you succeed, the sky really is the limit. But the way that teams operate has shifted over the past few years. Since the pandemic hit and businesses were forced to lockdown, remote work has skyrocketed. People have realised that they don’t need to be bound to an office desk – they can work from wherever they are in the world and still be productive and efficient in the tasks that they accomplish.
As businesses, we need to look at the way that remote work is shaping what we do, who we hire, and how they work. Because the fact is that there are different types of remote workers, who work in different ways. By embracing this and finding ways to manage a variety of different work styles, you can see your business thriving and embracing remote, or hybrid, work environments.
What Are The Types Of Remote Workers?
No two people work in the same way. What makes one person work more productively may slow another person down. But there are some broad categories of remote workers out there, and understanding the differences between can help you to accommodate their unique needs.
1. Full-Time Remote Workers
Full-time employees likely make up the vast majority of your workforce. And when your humans are working full-time from their home office, they have unique challenges that you may not always be aware of.
Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of benefits to working from home day in and day out. The fact that they don’t need to commute is a huge one, that they can work from anywhere in the world is another, and that they end up being more productive thanks to fewer distractions is probably one of the biggest. But some of the challenges that they face include struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance, since their computer is just a few steps away at all times, and a sense of separation.
When you work in an office with other people around you, there is always chatter, always small talk, always someone to turn to if you need help. Working from your home office full time can be a lonely prospect. Some remote workers can go days without seeing another face, particularly if they don’t have a family or loved one living with them. This makes it all the more important for your company to make them feel connected to the team members that they work with on a daily basis, and to find ways of helping them embrace your company culture and feel less alone in the work that they do.
2. Part-Time Remote Workers
I’m not talking here about employees who work for you on a part-time basis – that’s going to come up a bit later. When I talk about part-time remote workers, I mean those humans who spend some of their time working remotely, and some of it in an office environment. You’ve probably heard me speak about the benefits of hybrid working before, and any company that embraces hybrid working will have part-time remote workers.
The great thing about hybrid work environments is that they help to curb a bit of the loneliness that full-time remote workers experience. Not only that, but having your teams come into your office on a regular basis, while still working half of the week or more from home, will see a balance between productivity and connectedness. Your team members probably won’t be as productive and efficient on the days that they come into the office, simply because they will be surrounded by other people to catch up with, chat to, and connect with. That connection does take away a little bit from work getting done in most cases. But the result is a happier and more productive team over all – a workforce that embraces your company culture and wants to see you succeed, rather than one that is simply whiling away the hours at a keyboard.
Finding the perfect balance is a challenge all of its own, and since you don’t want the days spent in the office to be all about connection without any work getting done, you’ll need to find ways of managing your teams’ in-office time as well as their workload when they’re working from home.
3. Digital Nomads
You may think of Digital Nomads as just another full-time remote worker, but there are some unique challenges that you will face if your teams are travelling around the world, as nomads are wont to do.
A Digital Nomad is someone who travels around the world, working as they go. With the rise of remote working, this has become ever more popular, as people realise that they don’t need to stay in one place in order to work productively. They can move from country to country and still manage their workload – the only thing that they really need is a good laptop and a reliable internet connection.
One of the biggest challenges of having Digital Nomads as part of your workforce is that their hours are prone to change from time to time, especially if they are moving from one country to another on a regular basis. For some roles, this won’t present too much of a problem. Not every role needs to be an 8-5, and one of the advantages of remote work is the flexibility that it allows for your employees. But you’ll still need to know when your team members are online, and having some of them in different time zones to the others can be difficult to coordinate without the right tools at your disposal.
When you think of part-time employees (rather than part-time remote employees), freelancers should be the positions that come to mind. Freelancers are individuals who work on specific projects or for certain hours without necessarily working for your business full-time.
Remote work environments have made it a lot easier to bring on freelancers to work on particular projects. Because most businesses have at least some experience of managing remote workers, it makes the prospect of managing someone remotely for a short amount of time far less daunting than it used to be. With the right tools at your disposal, and a good project manager to boot, managing freelance workers can be a simple process with fewer challenges than full-time remote employees would face, since freelancers would not need to engage as strongly with your company culture.
5. Remote Teams
It’s one matter managing a remote worker here or there, but when entire teams are based remotely, which is often the case in this post-pandemic world, coordination, task management and time management become priorities that cannot be overlooked.
Working with remote teams can be especially challenging when they’re made up of a combination of different types of remote workers, since you need to address the challenges for each of them, and need to do so seamlessly. While you may be able to address loneliness and company culture difficulties by having some of your workforce become part-time remote workers, those who are based too far away from your offices will still have those challenges, and you will need to find other ways to make them feel included and help them to embrace your culture, for example.
6. Remote Managers
Managing a team can be a complex and stressful role for anyone to play. But managing a remote team when you are remote yourself is an order of magnitude more complicated. Suddenly time management, task assignment, measuring productivity and efficiency and keeping your team both happy and working effectively becomes significantly more challenging, as it can be difficult to keep track of who is busy with which tasks, when they should be completed by, and what the next steps in the process will be. This is all one matter when you are in the same office as the humans you’re managing – you can keep a close eye on who is doing what, when and how. But when your teams are working remotely, and you are facing the challenges of remote work yourself, the tools that you use for project and task management become critical to your teams’ (and your company’s) success.
How Can You Support Them?
Now that you have a better idea of the different remote working roles that your team members may be filling, and the unique challenges that each of them face, you may be wondering what you can do to address these difficulties and make remote and hybrid work environments successful ways of doing business.
The good news is that Microsoft’s Modern Workplace gives you plenty of tools in your arsenal to address remote working challenges, bring your teams together, and see productivity, efficiency, and work satisfaction rising. Just some of the tools included in Microsoft 365 are:
When you’re talking about connection, Microsoft Teams is at the hub of keeping your teams connected to each other. From conducting virtual meetings, to having video calls with your team members one on one, to keeping track of task management thanks to integrations with SharePoint, Planner, To Do and so many more Microsoft platforms, Microsoft Teams is an all-encompassing tool for keeping your remote workers engaged while at the same time helping them to work more efficiently.
When your workforce is based around the city, country or world, it’s critical that they still have access to the files and documents that they need to work efficiently, no matter where they are and no matter what device they may be using. Microsoft SharePoint’s cloud-based file management system does just that and allows your teams to collaborate on documents simultaneously, while keeping your data securely accessible.
One of the biggest challenges of remote working is maintaining a sense of work-life balance. You want to be as productive and efficient as possible, but you don’t want that to compromise your home life, or leave you feeling burned out. Microsoft’s Viva Insights (which used to be known as MyAnalytics) is a great tool for helping you to focus on the work that matters, collaborate with your team mates, and form better work and personal habits that will see your work satisfaction soaring, and separating office from home in more meaningful ways.
While Viva Insights (formerly MyAnalytics) is all about individuals forming better work habits, Delve helps teams to work more efficiently together. It makes it easy to see which documents your team mates are working on, making file management and access a breeze. But it also offers insights into the way that your teams work and collaborate together, where improvements can be made, and where efficiency can be boosted.
Work With A Microsoft Gold Partner To Make Remote Working A Success
For the past two decades, we have been helping businesses to embrace Microsoft Modern Workplace solutions. But, more importantly, since the pandemic hit back in March 2020, Microsoft solutions have seen us transforming our business, and our clients’ companies, into remote working environments that do more than just succeed – they thrive. We have experienced first-hand the challenges of managing remote workers of all different types, and have seen the huge impact that Microsoft solutions have had in addressing those challenges and overcoming them.
If you are ready to take remote working to the next level for your business, and are ready to see the difference that Microsoft Modern Workplace can make for your company, then book a consult with me, and let’s start your remote working journey together.