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5 simple ways to optimize remote work for your employees

A Stanford Business School study found remote work companies see an increase of $2,000 in profit per remote worker per year.

Employees love remote work

In a professional environment where over 4.7 million employees work remotely in the United States alone, new rules and social standards are being developed at an unprecedented pace. Despite the pace of change, several key factors are the pillars of effectively and ethically managing a remote workforce.

According to Buffer, 99% of employees would choose to work remotely for the rest of their life, even if it was part-time - whether it be to avoid cumbersome commutes, stay cozy in pajamas, or even focus better away from colleagues. As employees trend toward this professional desired outcome, many management teams are playing catch up (or entirely ignoring the issue) when it comes to preparing strategies to remain productive in a world of remote work. Throughout this article, we will discuss the methods by which we can reframe our thinking and the way we conduct remote work.

Highway traffic jam during rush hour commute
Employees prefer working from home to avoid the rush hour commute

1. Change the way you measure productivity

Without the clearly defined parameters of the traditional workplace, many employees are able to find creative solutions and workflows that best suit their personalities and skills. This advantage shouldn’t be squandered by placing a greater premium on activity than outcomes. Encourage and guide the flow of your employee’s unique work style, don’t swim against it.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, “42% of supervisors say they sometimes forget about remote workers when assigning tasks”. As a manager, it is imperative that you re-evaluate the way you see remote work (and remote workers). Remote teams should no longer be seen as auxiliary - they are rapidly becoming core or critical components of countless organizations.

2. Set different goals for remote workers

Reimagine team goals from the perspective of the advantages of remote work. The remote environment allows for real-time collaboration that can be as open or as siloed as each task or strategy requires. Create goals (and the steps to achieve those goals) with the virtual space in mind - instead of creating conventional strategies that are shoehorned into the digital space.

In order to facilitate a working environment that capitalizes on the benefits of the digital space, managers should invest in remote collaboration tools that help teams get the most out of the advantages of remote work. We recommend Vocal for its ease of use and similarity to an in-person working environment.

3. Intentionally combat manager/employee isolation

The virtual environment is an inherently isolating landscape. Combat the effects of alienation by allowing your employees to collaboratively create agendas for meetings and discussions whenever possible. When appropriate, redefine your role in meetings and become more of a facilitator than a lecturer. 

The digital space requires a different style and type of understanding from managers. Now may be the time to reevaluate the frequency and nature of your employee reviews and touch bases. Manage pace, direct ideas toward their logical conclusion, and usher contentious discussions toward asynchronous communication tools. Conduct the orchestra.

4. Be comfortable with new norms and tools

The workplace (like any social environment) is a space defined by rituals and customs. Social interaction between colleagues serves an important connective function and allows employees to properly pace, inform, and emotionally orient themselves.

It is the responsibility of remote-work managers to support and facilitate the creation of “remote water coolers” that allow these customs to continue within the virtual domain. Managers should also encourage communal breaks and decompression time - allowing employees to bond and share ideas.

5. Stay open and supportive to your remote employees

An environment often overlooked by the managers of remote-work teams is the most important environment of all… the employee’s workspace. Although it is important to avoid invading the privacy of employees, managers should offer guidance, support, and resources to help employees build out and optimize their work environments. The remote workspace is also an environment where managers can show employees that they genuinely care about their well-being. Offer gifts and amenities to your employees that improve the quality of their workspace as an enduring symbol of your commitment to their success and peace of mind.  Organization, ease of utilization, and comfort are all critical components of employee success. The support of the employer shouldn’t end at the edge of the screen.

Special attention to these factors and a clean-slate approach to defining the rules and roles within the new remote-work environment are essential to remote teams' cohesiveness and the organization's success as a whole.


A 2017 Stanford Business School study revealed that “companies that allow remote work see an average increase of $2,000 in profit per year, per remote worker.” In order to capitalize on that opportunity, you need the best instruments to engineer a productive collaborative landscape. Vocal is a transformative tool, allowing you to create a “virtual office space” designed to retain all the most important benefits of the physical workspace and blend them with the unique capabilities of the digital environment.
Satisfy your curiosity and build an incredible experience for your virtual workers by getting started for free, or requesting a demo today.   

Hassan Moore