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How to get your leadership team on board with remote first working

Published 12 Feb 2021
5 min read
How to get your leadership team on board with remote first working

Over the last year, many of us have become very familiar with remote working. However, as we begin to return to normality, you’re probably wondering – what now? Is everything going to go back to the way it was pre-pandemic, or are we going to use this experience to change the way we work for good? It’s a decision that your leadership team needs to make together and back 100%. Looking ahead, you might find yourself questioning what approach is best for you and your team. Did your team reap all the benefits associated with remote working, or did the impact of everyone missing their co-workers outweigh the benefits of working from home? Whether your team enjoys working from the comfort of their own home, or you’re getting feedback that everyone is missing the workplace buzz, one thing is for sure – many elements of remote working are here to stay. And that’s where the remote first approach to work comes into play. Before we dive into how to get your leadership team on board with a remote-first approach to work, let’s go back to basics.

What is remote first working?

A remote first approach to working provides your employees with the flexibility they need to work when and where works best for them and their current situation. It involves remote working being your primary preference for your employees. Your entire team can complete their roles’ remotely with the needs of those working from home prioritised first. It’s a work model that encourages flexibility. At Employment Hero, our remote first approach revolves around two elements:

  1. Work remotely
  2. Socialise locally

Getting your leadership team on board with remote first working

As you navigate remote first working, it’s important your leadership team is onboard with the idea 100%. You want them to live and breathe remote first working. This is to set an example and benchmark the expectations for the wider business. Your goal is to create a purpose driven culture where everyone feels empowered to do the best they can in their roles. It’s all about leading by example. How can you do this? Set rules and expectations that help everyone work collectively together. With buy-in from your leadership, these rules build trust, understanding and support – a winning combination for remote first working. You should also encourage workday structure, ensure differences are embraced and put effective communication at the top of your priority list.  

Back up the transition with some cold hard facts

To get your leadership team on board, you want to sell the idea of it to them, backed up by some hard facts. This is where they’ll begin to see all of the positives associated with remote working, and where you can get them over the line. What facts can you use? In 2020, we surveyed 1,200 workers between 7 May 2020 and 14 May 2020 to gain insights on remote working in Australia, and it revealed some very interesting truths… The findings?

  • The majority of respondents enjoy working from home (84%) and would continue to work from home regularly if given the opportunity (92%).
  • Introducing flexible work policies allows businesses to improve their desirability, increase retention rates and create a healthier (and thus more productive) work culture.
  • According to the HILDA Survey, long-distance commuters (two hours or more a day) are less likely than short-distance commuters (less than one hour) to be satisfied with their working hours, work-life balance and even pay.
  • Employers who fail to meet this demand could lose top talent to businesses who take a more flexible approach to their workforce management.
  • Research conducted by Gallup revealed that employees who work remotely are 5% more productive than those who work in the office, meaning that they create the greatest gains for businesses.

👉 You can view the full remote working survey report here. 👈

Encourage and ensure structure for remote first working

Providing structure is essential when it comes to successfully transitioning to a remote first workplace. When you were in the office, structure was based on commuting to work, having dedicated breaks and leaving at a specific time. However, with remote first working, you’re more likely to see an increase of work-life integration, where the lines between work and home life become blurred. This concept could be what your leadership team is struggling to come to terms with – they want to see their employees at their desks because that’s where they believe they are the most productive. But fear not. With some structure and ground rules in place, your team will experience all of the benefits that come from greater flexibility and work-life balance. To do this, you need to set out how this will be managed remotely. You could ensure that all important information and policies are stored securely and accessible to everyone. This also applies for meetings and important decisions, too. You should also ensure that notes are taken during meetings and video meetings are recorded. What about teams? There are a few ways you can create structure for your team such as:

  • Establishing a process, structure, and agenda around meetings and updates so everyone can follow along, no matter their location. Put it in the calendar and ensure everyone attends with their video cameras on.
  • Assigning a meeting lead and scribe to ensure key decisions and discussion are documented through a shared document such as Google Docs.
  • Sticking to a regular cadence for daily and weekly meetings.

💡 Did you know that Employment Hero can securely store information in our cloud-based platform? Whether that’s important employee files, policies or contracts, we can help your transition to a remote first business a smooth and seamless one. Remember: focusing on output over hours can build trust and allow your team to feel empowered in their roles.  

Communication is vital

Communication is key when adopting remote first working. It’s not just the tools that you use to communicate, but also the way in which you communicate. If your leadership team isn’t confident that communication will be up to par and important information will go unmissed, you need to set ground rules. You could suggest holding a session for the entire team on effective communication in a remote environment and investing in communication tools.  

Using the right communication tools

Effective communication is essential for remote working. You need to invest in the tools that will help everyone stay in touch. Pitch and demonstrate tools to your leadership team across a variety of areas including:

💡 Looking for a full list of remote working tools? We’ve rounded up our favourite here.   RemoteWorkTemplate_desktop (1)  

An example of overcoming communication barriers

To avoid miscommunication over virtual messages, you should begin your communication with your context. This will help prevent any misinterpretation of messages. How do you do this, I hear you ask? Let your team know when you are in a video meeting, are having dedicated quiet time to a project or that you can’t respond right now. How do you do this?

  • Have your Google calendar updated at all times, not just when you’re in a meeting but if you are working on a project and unable to respond. Time blocking in your calendar is your remote first best friend!
  • Log-off slack if you are unable to respond or update your slack status to say ‘Do Not Disturb’, ‘Working on XYZ’ or ‘In a meeting’

The wrap up

With these few tips, you’ll feel more confident getting your leadership team onboard with the remote first approach to work. From sharing the cold hard facts and encouraging effective remote working tools, you’ll be on your way to making your leadership team advocates of remote working in no time at all!  

Want more?

If you want to learn more about how a remote first approach to work can help supercharge your team, take a look at our whitepaper. In here, you’ll find everything you need to get and running in no time at all! leadership remote first - remote first workplace playbook

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