10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Remote Working
Technology in the 21st Century is creating lifestyles that were unimaginable 20 years ago. Working from home was once considered code for slacking off.
Telecommuting, however, is becoming increasingly more common. Allowing employees to work from home provides profound advantages for both companies and employees.
Thanks to advances in business technologies, employees no longer have to be stationed in the office to “get the job done.”
The flexibility of working from home enables employees to keep their own hours. Parents can work from home and spend more time with their children, and employees that are not early risers can enjoy a lie-in.
Company bosses often consider telecommuting privileges will be abused and employees will slack off. However, when executed correctly, that is not the case.
On the contrary, remote working increases productivity levels whilst allowing employees to create a work-life balance. Removing the commute to the office gives more time back to workers.
How remote working can help both businesses and employees
Remote working has been touted as a major organisational shift. However, some companies have been reluctant to embrace telecommuting as they fear it will disrupt relationships amongst co-workers, have a negative effect on work ethic and reduce productivity.
However, companies that have implemented remote working policies have reported that telecommuting has delivered more plus points than negatives. The benefits include:
- Greater productivity
- Employee satisfaction
- Reduce business overheads
- Less absenteeism
- Create larger talent pool
- Broader insight into other markets
Choosing the right technology is key
Remote working would not be possible without technology so it is important for companies to install the right software and provide employees with the hardware they need to perform their jobs effectively.
Software tools are constantly being upgraded, so it is important to install an agile system that will adapt to the evolution of technology. Take advantage of trialling potential products and services and partner with an IT company that can provide solutions remotely.
I’ve put together this helpful list of 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Remote Working:
1. Connect with colleagues
Some employees feel isolated and lonely when working from home. Without the office banter, energy levels can also drop. Companies that encourage co-workers to utilise chat rooms help to galvanize telecommuters and keep teams connected.
2. Educate staff
Working from home is a new experience for your staff too and they will need some time to adapt. Before they start working remotely, brief your team and offer tips that will help them adjust to working from home so they can maintain productivity levels and meet their goals. The key issue will be how they cope with distractions. For more ideas check out this article.
3. Set goals and reward staff
Team managers can expect most of their colleagues to be motivated and industrious. However, it is pertinent to set expectations and deadlines to ensure your staff is hitting the targets you demand.
4. Get the right setup
Make it easy for employees to access everything they need to work effectively from home, by making sure they have the hardware they need and access to work files and software. Cloud access is extremely beneficial in this area, as minimal setup is required to get staff working effectively from home.
One thing to consider is the security aspect of employees potentially accessing sensitive business data on personal devices. Most cloud technologies are secure by design, but it’s important to understand the risks and educate your employees accordingly.
Read our article on how smartphones can pose a risk to data security.
5. Provide regular feedback by video chat
Studies indicate that some workers feel left out when working at home. This is a basic human need for interaction and engagement. Employees crave regular feedback on their progress.
However, using digital channels to communicate can sometimes feel distant and the message you are trying to convey loses context. Constructive feedback in an email or chatroom can be taken the wrong way. Team managers have to consider people’s feelings. Therefore, conduct feedback sessions using video chat tools such as Zoom.
6. Organise team meet-ups
Whilst it is true that telecommuting can be disruptive to the camaraderie of a team, organising team meet-ups in a social setting enables co-workers to maintain relationships and catch up on the gossip.
7. Don’t forget about your company values
Make sure your values don’t get lost as a result of your team being spread out. Your company culture and values are interlinked, make sure everyone knows what your values are, and how they can best embody them. You all have a common goal to work towards and this can help remote workers feel part of their wider network. At Netstar our mission is Helping People Succeed Through Technology, this is something we constantly remind ourselves.
8. Utilise “deep work” signals
People operate more efficiently at various times of the day. Some employees will have a productive drive in the morning once the kids are packed off to school, whilst others will perform better after lunch.
Given home workers have targets to meet, encourage your employees to best utilise the times of day when they are most driven and free from distraction. During these times they should also indicate they do not want to be disturbed by colleagues. Creating a “deep work” signal provides an ideal solution. This could be as simple as an automatic response detailing the set hours you process your inbox. You can read more about Deep Work here.
9. Establish rules of communication
When you’re working in a team it is necessary to communicate with colleagues. However, digital chatting can be a distraction, and, as mentioned above, do not disturb signals should be observed.
There will be times however, when member of a remote team needs information quickly in order to make progress with their task. There will also be times when messages are time sensitive or important updates need announcing.
Creating a communication protocol that includes polite approaches to co-workers should be established. Nudging somebody with a brief message saying, “have you got a sec for a quick chat/call” indicates you are contacting for business purposes, not chit-chat.
10. Consider monitoring software
Keeping track of remote workers can be a thorny topic. Monitoring software can be regarded as a surveillance tool, but can be used to provide benefits to staff. For example, if you offer overtime on certain projects, recording how much time remote workers spend on certain tasks and the activities they perform can help to calculate wages accurately and address any potential training issues.
As more companies warm to the idea of telecommuting, the technologies which enable and enhance the remote working experience continue to improve. Without the right technologies creating flexible working protocols is simply not possible, so before you decide to implement a telecommuting policy, make sure you have a system in place that supports your team and your business.
Get in touch with us to find out more about how you can get the most out of remote working for your business. Or read our article on how choosing the right software can save you money.