If there is a silver lining in the Coronavirus pandemic, it is how so many U.S. companies discovered the benefits of employing a remote staff.
Statistically, work from home staff members are happier, more productive and even work an average of 1.4 MORE days per month by nixing the commute. Staff that work from home are idle for less time and, according to a 2015 survey, are more willing to work longer hours.
Further, companies that embrace remote work require smaller office spaces, shoulder much less day-to-day overhead (like heating and cooling big office spaces) and need less expensive infrastructure to maintain their workforce.
Working from home has clear benefits, but that does not mean the transition will always be easy. Many newer remote employees, as well as companies that previously used a more traditional in-office structure, struggle with the drastically different work environment.
Here is how companies build the best split office workspaces.
How to successfully build a split office environment
A split office is a professional working environment where a portion of staff work from home and the other work from a company office.
The most successful split offices are built around a sophisticated communication network that allows remote employees to work seamlessly with their in-office counterparts.
Usually, these communication networks use software to bridge the physical gap.
For example, Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams are popular choices used by many businesses to enable face-to-face communication between team members. And, many also use instant messaging capabilities that keep team members in close contact.
“Intranets” are popular options that allow employees who are connected to the company network to access shared resources, like sales documents, proposals and other business assets that team members need to do their jobs. For remote employees, connecting to a company Intranet will usually require a VPN, or Virtual Private Network,.
Software applications like Microsoft SharePoint and Jira are common business solutions that enable communication through a portal-like environment. They allow staff to post messages, track task progress and build a secure and private place to disseminate important information.
In addition, managing expectations for remote staff is a crucial part of a split office environment.
Use resources like an Intranet to maintain project schedules and goals. Also, remote employees must clearly understand work schedules and when they are expected to be available. Keep in mind that the working schedule of remote employees needs to closely match those of in-office staff to enable the best real-time communication during the day.
In other words, remote employees should work at the same time as in-office staff.
Video-based meetings are common, and most companies require daily or weekly status reports, generally sent via email, from their remote staff. Though, requiring too many status reports may decrease productivity and damage morale, so care should be taken to strike the right balance.
Though working from home is new for a lot of people, it’s rapidly becoming the go-to working structure. By using remote staff, companies can reduce and streamline their physical business infrastructure, significantly lowering the overhead required to run the business.
Split office environments are the wave of the future.