Mastering Work-From-Anywhere: 7 Tips & Tricks

Man working outside

Change is inevitable in the working world, and yet it’s looking more and more like work-from-anywhere (WFA) is here to stay. After all, anyone thinking the remote work shift over the past two years would be a passing fad may want to reassess their priorities. Surveys show that 81% of employees now want the flexibility of work-from-anywhere in their careers, demonstrating the importance of new policies for recruitment and retention. 

Employers have taken note. Forrester predicts 70% of companies will pivot to a work-from-anywhere model, creating new hybrid and virtual office models to accommodate this much-desired shift. While each organization’s WFA model will function differently depending on the needs of their teams, the fact is that time-tested strategies for improving remote work already exist.  

As a leader in TEM and MMS, we’ve seen the market shift and helped hundreds of customers evolve their technology to this WFA model. That’s why we created seven top suggestions for building a WFA model that can thrive for future growth and better competitive success. 

1. Prioritize Communication 

When you can’t tap a team mate on the shoulder to get their thoughts on a project or idea, where do you go? Is it an email dashed off from an iPad, a Slack message sent from a company laptop, a quick Zoom call over a mobile device, or one of many other communication options available to the modern worker? 

Everyone has their preferred communication platform that may change based on the nature of the dialogue. After all, a videocall can be good for a weekly one-to-one, but an instant message works better for a quick check-in or resolution of small issues. 

With that in mind, offer your team members all the collaboration channels they need by implementing a cloud-based communication infrastructure. UCaaS, or Unified Communications as a Service, not only offers this functionality at scale, but does so in a way that’s more affordable than on-premises technologies.  

2. Readjust Your KPIs 

Worker productivity throughout the remote work shift has remained the same or improved for 90% of employees. Yet Nearly half of employees have admitted to being fearful of being passed up for promotions or new opportunities due to working remotely. Employers run the risk of overlooking top talent simply because their worker assessment model is built for the office.  

A full review of your organization’s standards for evaluating employee productivity and potential is crucial. Instead of assessing who’s coming into the office and who’s staying late, build a model that focuses on project completion and team collaboration that centers less on the environment and more on the results. Look for opportunities to give praise, and when productivity stumbles, be proactive about seeking feedback, and consider where improvements can be made to overall infrastructure for better growth in the future. 

3. The Virtual Water Cooler 

Just because staff are working across time zones doesn’t mean they don’twant to connect. Opportunities to chat about topics unrelated to work give employees a chance to destress and learn more about the people they collaborate with every day. 

We’ve seen organizations adopt a virtual water cooler, opening a virtual hangout for employees to drop in when they’re free and spend time with whomever else is in the room. Many have spearheaded friendly competitions and personal sharing across departments in channels on Microsoft Teams, Slack, and other messaging services. These non-essentials become a means of fostering deeper levels of connection among staff that are crucial to long-term retention and job satisfaction. 

4. Sync or Async? 

We’ve written about asynchronous work before, and the opportunities created by letting staff get their tasks done on a 24/7 model. Not everything can be left to async; sometimes, a real-time collaboration or conversation is needed to move ahead more effectively. 

Deciding what must be done synchronously and what can be shifted to async is an ongoing conversation all team members need to have. You may be missing a chance to remove bottlenecks by keeping staff members dependent on each other’s work, even when they’re located in different time zones. Watch for these improvements during daily work, and when changes can be made, let them! There’s no need to default to tradition in the new world of WFA. 

5. Don’t Forget Devices! 

Digital infrastructure is the beating heart of successful WFA deployments, replacing a physical office with connected apps and services that keep an organization running. Yet these services are only as good as the devices that run them.  

With 5G adoption accelerating and an increasing need to ensure no weak links are left in your security apparatus, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) models are increasingly giving way to more managed services. DaaS, or Device-as-a-Service, is quickly becoming the model by which organizations ensure all the above and more at an affordable, consistent cost. 

Tangoe’s DaaS solution is a complete lifecycle management service for organizations seeking a flexible, subscription-based model for their WFA teams. Gain insight into where and how workers are using their devices with granular insights into your inventory. Outdated devices can be replaced easily via a worker portal, ensuring your tech is kept up-to-date and secure no matter where employees are. 

6. Appoint a Remote Work Czar 

The responsibility for managing and building a stellar remote team doesn’t necessarily fall on HR. Understanding the specific needs of individual departments and the company is a huge, ongoing task all on its own. You may need a single chief executive to take on this responsibility—that is, you may need a remote work czar. 

One executive search firm listed this position as one of the top ten most sought after, as companies begin to set their remote work policies. New executive titles are nothing new, but the possibility of improving your overall remote work experience through better guidance and support certainly makes this one worth a look. 

7. Listen 

Remote work experiences vary from employee to employee, company to company, and industry to industry. Some people thrive in the solitude of working from their kitchen tables; others need a coworking space to recreate the bustle of an office environment.  

It’s easy to fall into confirmation biases in the virtual office. Getting a wide range of feedback on how staff are adapting to this new remote world is critical. Check in at regular intervals and plan to implement new ideas for improvements and changes. There’s no set blueprint for what a perfect virtual office must look like, and while that can be intimidating, it also represents a new opportunity for your teams to do their best work yet, from anywhere, and for the long-term.   

The communication and device procurement challenges of WFA don’t have to be a burden on your organization. Learn more about how Tangoe helps enable better dispersed teams by getting in touch today.