Far apart and yet a team – for successful cooperation with remote workers

Presented by Sennheiser

#industry-insights

Working at home, in a café, in a co-working space or even on the beach – since remote work has taken hold in many companies, this scenario is no longer seen as a utopia.

Does this sound familiar? Getting up early, getting ready while having a quick cup of coffee and leaving for work much too late. Wretchedly long traffic jams or overcrowded buses are inevitable – and this every morning. You have finally arrived at work and want to carry out a task which requires a lot of calm and concentration, but the bustle and the noise level of the open plan office gets in your way.

How about a more flexible working day instead? You do not embark on a stressful commute to work but choose a location from which you want to work and organize your working day according to your own wishes and needs. The result: Work-life balance and well-being will be at an all-time high.

Both sides benefit

But what are the advantages for companies which offer their employees the possibility of remote work? Imagine you are a recruiter in a creative company in Munich who is currently and actively searching for a new staff member with very specific knowledge in the field of Visual Enterprise Design. Since it is difficult to find a suitable candidate for this position and as you have already been looking for months, you have hired a headhunter to assist you. After a few weeks he tells you that he has found the ideal candidate. You are delighted – until it becomes clear that the candidate lives in Berlin and cannot move to Munich for various reasons. Commuting is also not an option.

You now have two possibilities: You either continue your search hoping that you will find still another candidate with similar excellent qualifications or you try to find a solution that gives the candidate found by the headhunter the chance to take up the position. Since it is not mandatory for the advertised vacancy to work from inside the Munich office, you and your managers decide to offer a remote workplace to the candidate from Berlin.

The example shows: Remote work has a distinct advantage for companies: You are able to attract potential candidates who cannot or do not want to move. At the same time, you save the costs of a workstation. It has been proven that remote workers are more productive. This is verified by a study of Stanford Professor Nicholas Bloom who did research on home-based work, a precursor of remote work.

Requirements for a remote worker

It is, however, important to consider the following aspects: Does the potential candidate possess the necessary characteristics to work remotely? These include, among others, discipline, a sense of duty and responsibility as well as the appropriate motivation. Otherwise, it is highly probable that the employee does all kinds of things during working hours - but not his work.

Optimizing cooperation

Now, if you have taken on an employee as a remote worker, the next challenges are already waiting for you. It must be ensured that he has access to all necessary work materials, equipment, IT-programmes and files. In addition, the remote worker and the rest of the team must have the opportunity to interact apart from email or telephone, for example through internal chat systems. In order for the remote worker not to feel excluded and to be able to build a relationship with the other team members, there should be regular team events and face-to-face meetings in which all team members should participate.

Since the colleagues on location continue to gather for team meetings in a room on site and will include the remote worker, an appropriate video conferencing software should be used for that purpose. For the meeting to be effective, it must be ensured that what is spoken in the room will also be perfectly intelligible for the remote worker. For this aim, ceiling microphones such as the Sennheiser TeamConnect Ceiling 2 can be used.

The integrated beamforming technology makes sure that the microphone automatically adapts to the person currently speaking in the room. Thereby, an optimal speech intelligibility for remote participants is guaranteed and at the same time the people in the room are provided with a mobility of 100 %. Thus, in combination with the corresponding video conferencing software both sides will feel as if they were together in a meeting room.

Conclusion: Remote work opens up advantages for companies and employees alike. These benefits optimally come into effect through suitable structures and tools.

More intelligent solutions to include remote workers in meetings in the best way possible are available here: