Today’s modern world has completely changed our daily life. EVERYTHING can be done virtually: we can go shopping, have an online doctor’s appointment or enjoy a nice chat with old friends. There isn’t even the need to go to the office every day. Instead we can work remotely from the comfort of our home or actually anywhere in the world, as long as we have internet connection. This sounds like heaven on earth, right? But if you lead a remote team who expects the best results for the company, this question suddenly pops into your head: how do I follow my remote team’s work, while ensuring their productivity and keeping them engaged in the company’s mission? The answer is simple: Smart Working.
Smart Working is key to the employee engagement strategy for companies to survive in the new remote work era. This methodology gives autonomy, liberty and flexibility to work teams. As a result, employees are happier and more engaged with the company’s mission, reaching incredible results!
After reading this introduction, for sure now you’ll be curious about what exactly is smart working? Which changes in a company culture does smart working require? Are there any tools that will help setting up this new way of working? In this article you’ll find the answers to all these questions and will let you know about all the benefits smart working brings to the table!
What is Smart Working?
Some people describe Smart Working as a type of remote work, but the truth is that it requires so much more. Smart working is a new way of working, in which you give your employees the liberty to choose their work space and schedule, in the way that suits their daily routine. And what is the catch? They must comply with their objectives.
This liberty that smart working brings to the table, helps achieving a work life balance, moving from “your life should turn around to work” to “make your work turn around to your life”.
Smart Working requires you to set a goal achieving work method by using technology as a big ally to ease the day to day. As a result, the internal processes would be more efficient and the company would have better revenues.
Sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, if you are the company’s CEO or the HR Director and you take a moment to really think about it, more questions start to emerge: how would it be possible to organize team meetings if everyone has a different work schedule? or how can I follow up my team’s work? and more importantly how will we be a united team trying to pursue the same goal?… Yes, it is normal for this to cause a little anxiety attack. But don’t worry, it is only a matter of adapting the company culture to smart working!
How to adapt your company culture to smart working?
As we have mentioned before, smart working comes along with a lot of huge changes for your company. This is why adapting your company culture is key to keep your team motivated, satisfied and united under the same mission.
Some of the changes you may have to carry on, require you to set up agile working models, prepare the company for remote or hybrid work, fix goals, and never forget about team work… even if you are miles apart.
Agile working methods
Agile working methods are an innovative way of working, by organizing workflows and dividing the project in phases, solving each of them in short periods of time and leaving the space to iterate and make changes on the go. These working models focus more on the client’s needs.
One of the twelve principles of the Agile Manifesto mentions that “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams”. In other words, teams with more flexibility and liberty, leave more room for creativity and innovation, staying more motivated, generating even more value to the customer.
This shows why agile methods are the perfect match for smart working. They help you following up your remote team and get better results by:
- Agile work: continuous deliveries are established for each team on specific dates, making work more fluid and efficient.
- Increase employee motivation and satisfaction: having more autonomy and flexibility, brings more room for creativity and innovation. This translates into higher employee motivation, satisfaction and engagement, increasing productivity as well.
- Encourage teamwork: in order to be successful at smart working and in establishing an agile methodology, every team member needs to be on board. This commitment will help you keep everyone working together toward the same goal.
- Reduce risks and mistakes: by having project phases and constant deliveries, reviews and missteps detections gets easier. It lets you iterate and react properly, avoiding unnecessary costs.
Some of the most known agile working methods are Extreme Programming XP, Scrum, Kanban and Agile Inception. The right methodology for your company will depend on your goals.
Remote or Hybrid work
“Work hard, from anywhere” is the smart working philosophy. The autonomy you give your employees to work on the schedule that better suits them better, trusting that they will reach their goals, is the smart working’s secret ingredient, and the key to keep your team’s engagement.
According to a Gallup research on the future of hybrid work, about 53% of respondents expect a hybrid arrangement, and 24% expect to work exclusively remotely. So, how should my company culture be to offer this possibility to my employees?
It is not only about offering a flexible work schedule and space. You must adapt your company culture around this change. By avoiding it, your employees’ motivation and performance may be affected due to the distance.
If you want to successfully adapt your company culture to smart working and set up a remote or hybrid work environment, you should:
- Make sure that employees working from home have good internet connection and the right work space. There are some tools that can help you create a “remote office” which will be mentioned further in this article.
- Communication must be simple and clear. You can use communication tools that will ease team interaction. We will get deeper on these tools later on as well.
- Encourage giving and receiving feedback. It will help you identify blind spots and make your company culture healthier and more productive.
- Set up an agile working method, as the ones just explained. This will help you have a more organized, efficient and productive team.
- Align this new methodology with a goal achieving work strategy. You can encourage your team to reach these objectives, and keep them motivated and engaged!
OKRs and KPIs
As smart working is based on a goal reaching method, its success depends on the clear definition of those objectives.
Setting up OKRs and KPIs is the “ace in the hole” needed for a successful objectives reaching strategy! Knowing how they work and setting them up, will help you ensure smart working actually works in your company.
OKRs, as indicated by its initial “Objectives and Key Results”, refers to a methodology used to set objectives directly related to the company’s mission.
To set an OKR you must define:
- O, the Objective you wish to reach, for example: increase work satisfaction on my remote team.
- KR, the Key Result which refers to how you are willing to achieve that objective.
Regarding the KPIs, Key Performance Indicators, they are metrics used to measure the performance of and specific action. Furthermore, they help compare results on different time frames, easing the identification of factors of success or improvement areas. Some KPIs used in HR are: eNPS, turnover rate, absenteeism rate, among many more.
We can refer to KPIs as the dashboard to measure Key Results. The election of the best KPIs to your team, depends on the OKRs you set for a specific time frame. This is why you don’t need to measure all the KPIs in the world. The perfect amount of these two ingredients, for setting and measuring objectives, will help you have the best recipe of smart working on your team without a doubt.
During remote working it is possible for your employees to feel a bit lonely, leaving the interaction with their teammates only for specific situations, making teamwork harder.
You need to be sure that your team feels united under the same purpose. Let them know that even by being miles away from each other, we are all just at a message, email or call from your teammates and leaders.
To have a united front, you can organize team building activities as:
- Monthly All Hands to keep your employees posted on the company’s performance. It is also a great space to let them reach you and express any concern.
- Coffee breaks, gaming sessions, yoga classes, or any virtual activity you may think about. Just try to organize spaces where your team can relax, share and get to know each other. The only rule is not talking about work!
- Create Slack channels (or the communication tool you use) intended to talk about random topics. No work allowed! By doing it, you give your team a space to socialize, and replace the “small talk” that tends to disappear with remote working.
Smart Working benefits
Besides helping your company achieve better results, smart working brings tons of benefits to the table for your employees as well! Do you imagine how much your employee experience would improve thanks to smart working?
Creativity and innovation are the result of the autonomy and flexibility offered by smart working. Under this model your employees won’t turn out to be “chair warmers” just to comply with an 8 hour working day. The opposite situation will happen. By working under an objective reaching method, your employees will feel a lot more motivated to fulfill expectations. Also, thanks to the smart workings’ liberty, your team will have an extra reason to prove how much they can offer, and will be even more motivated to propose new ideas and innovate.
Boost employee productivity
Smart working also improves your teams’ productivity. According to an experiment led by Stanford to 16,000 workers during 9 months, they discovered that working from home increased productivity by 13%.
This happens thanks to:
- By working remotely, there is no time wasted in traffic or public transportation, leaving more time for really important tasks.
- According to a millennial survey made by Deloitte on 2020, seven out of ten millennials said that working from home and avoiding daily trips to the office relieves stress, letting them be more productive.
- Thanks to smart working flexible schedules, employees can adjust their work to their lives. The outcome? Work absenteeism is reduced due to medical appointments, school meetings, etc.
Cost optimization for the company and its employees
Besides making your business performance more efficient, smart working also helps with cost optimization for the company and your employees at the same time.
These are some of the costs you can save or reduce thanks to smart working:
- By working remotely there is no need to pay rent for an office space. If you give it deeper thought, you save in public services y and in the maintenance costs of a physical space.
- In the case of hybrid work, public services are reduced, as you don’t have staff in the office 5 days a week.
- Your employees don’t have transportation expenses. They end up saving time, money… and help the environment too!
- By working from home, your employees don’t incur either in restaurant expenses or they avoid preparing their lunch the night before. They would be able to eat from the comfort of their home. Nothing better than fresh homemade food!
- As there are no business trips, there are no travel expenses.
Work - life balance
In the same survey made to millenials by Deloitte, two thirds of the respondents said that remote work allows them to achieve a better work – life balance. Half of the people in the study said that they are more capable of being themselves at work with home office.
As smart working brings flexibility to your team to organize their work schedule around their lives, it is much easier to find a balance in between. Not having time for your personal life was left in the past.
Work satisfaction increases
All these benefits that smart working carry with it, result in a higher work satisfaction for your team. Hard work brings rewards!
With smart working your employees have more freedom to make their own decisions, flexibility in their work schedule, and they end up saving time and money. Furthermore, they are encouraged thanks to the confidence shot you give them by setting up a goal achieving work model. Thanks to all these benefits your team’s work satisfaction will reach another level!
Smartly tools to set up smart working
So far, we have talked about company culture changes that need to be done to open space for smart working, and all the positive outcomes it brings to your business and team. Now is the time to focus on those tools that will help set smart working in your company and boost your team’s productivity.
Company’s communication channels
There are a lot of tools that can help you have more efficient internal communication. With these apps you can create channels to talk about specific topics. For example, each team can create a channel to tackle topics of their own interest. Another channel to be created could be “Coffee Break”, so if anyone wants to take five, they can ask there if any teammate wants to join and share a nice virtual coffee chat.
Some of the most known communication apps are Microsoft Teams, G Suite from Google, Slack and Confluence. Nailted, an employee engagement software which uses communication and feedback to enhance employee experience, integrates with these first three platforms. Setting it up will facilitate employees’ participation in work satisfaction surveys. It will also help scheduling periodic 1:1 meetings and to follow up your team’s pulse and their objectives.
This way you will have a more open, direct and fluent communication with your employees!
Remote work is one of the main ingredients of smart working. Nevertheless, virtuality may complicate some tasks such as brainstorming, discuss some issues, or work on group projects.
An HR Software is a tool which helps optimize the management of all the aspects related to the employees of a company. These software automate payroll, work schedule, having an employee database, among others. Their main objective is to ease the workload of the HR department.
There are many different types of HR software. It is just a matter of finding the one that adapts better to your business.
Employee Engagement Software
Finally, under a smart working model, you may have employees in different cities, or even countries. This distance can’t be an excuse, but instead it has to be one more reason to take care of your Employee Engagement.
Using an Employee Engagement software will help you manage and take care of your remote team, in order to survive in the smart working era. Here we leave a list of the Best Tools to measure your Employee Engagement in 2022.
Your best ally to set up smart working is a tool that helps you implement all of the initiatives mentioned in this article. We introduce you to Nailted, a solution you can use to adapt your culture to remote and smart working. You could make best decisions based on real time data, thanks to frequent feedback loops sent automatically through the software. It will help you have a clear understanding of your team, by following up to their satisfaction and ensuring smart working really is keeping your team engaged.
Book a demo with one of our experts and get to know more about how Nailted can help adapting your company culture to the smart working era, and keeping your team connected under the same purpose, even if they only see each other through a screen.