Making Remote Work Work

working remotely
No boundaries, just execution. From plantronicsgermany’s Flickr photostream.

Today, talent is wherever you find it when it comes to knowledge work. Many professionals are working remotely with people around the globe. Whether it’s IBM Global Services with thousands of team members working virtually together or a small business delivering website projects, the work can get done efficiently.

There are a lot of advantages of building remote work processes:

  • There is less frivolity and office politics
  • You can invest in the work more than the overhead
  • The focus is on data and results
  • You can change things up with much more ease

But building the right team, systems and processes have to still be part of the design. Yes, your team can simply use their iPhones and laptops to move goals. But there are still indispensable aspects that have to be injected:

Strong leadership. Someone has to own the success and failure of projects. The team can be highly collaborative and much flatter in nature and hierarchy, but you still need an owner to care for the loose ends and the big picture.

Frictionless systems. Your technology and workflow need to have few points of resistance. Team members should be able to get in and out of tools to access data, input information and see progress.

Clear goals. It can get ambiguous quickly when working in the trenches. There has to be a clear definition around success and a daily reporting on progress towards that goal. This keeps everyone’s mind around the context of their work towards the consolidated goal.

Collaboration. When you see team members cross-communicating, the problems are getting solved. The ball is moving. If there are silos, then your leadership has to drive collaboration. Opening people up helps keep a pulse on what is happening.

Getting work done can become extremely fun, focused and empowering if you can rely more on systems than heroics.

If you take a look at how you get results and deliver, consider where you can gain efficiency by creating remote work and building around talent rather than emphasizing perfect attendance in a physical locale. It may feel bold, but simply look around. Plenty of organizations have already proven the model.

What processes could you make more efficient with remote setups?