As we have continued to move through the Covid-19 Alert Levels, now is the ideal time to consider what options and expectations you have regarding remote working arrangements in the future.
If you hadn’t already been doing so, are you prepared to permanently integrate this way of working into your business?
As I am sure we have all discovered, there are important benefits and drawbacks to remote working. Working from home permanently may not be a realistic (or even desired!) option for some of us. Others will see working from home as a benefit to them and, particularly, to their work/home life balance. That being the case, there are measures that we can take to ensure employees are enjoying this benefit while also ensuring that it’s effective for your business.
No ‘one size fits all’
There will be no ‘one size fits all’ approach across businesses, but, as we move out of lockdown completely in the coming weeks, it is worth considering what can be done to maintain some of the benefits of working from home, and reduce the obstacles presented by remote working if this is to become part of your long-term business strategy.
We suspect that, with many people having been required to work from home under the current lockdown, those employees who have enjoyed this option will seek to have the flexibility to continue to do so, whether for some or all of the time.
What has become apparent with my team is that personality plays a huge part in the desire to work from home. Most would enjoy a split between the two options. They’d like the flexibility to be able to work from home some of the time to complete a particular project or task, and enjoy the perks of not commuting (that was a big factor for most). They also relish the time spent in the office environment working alongside the team, and all of the benefits that work scenario brings.
What to consider?
There is a lot to consider when making the decision about your work options going forward. Below we share some tips for successfully managing your business while your team works remotely.
- Ensure clear communication and an understanding of who wants to work from home and what their drivers are. Seek input from those employees about how they see their role delivering to your business needs.
- Be clear about role expectations and outcomes that are required and whether these can be delivered effectively while working remotely.
- Ensure that the home ‘workstation’ can accommodate the work that is required adequately and without the risk of health issues.
- Set expectations around when people do need to be in the office, whether to foster your team culture, complete team projects or to attend particular meetings such as sales meetings or team training.
- For a small team, plan how you will ensure adequate office-based cover when people are choosing to work from home at times.
- Ensure you have the right technology and systems in place to manage and guide productivity and accountability for results.
- Offer flexibility where possible for people to manage their week according to their own workload and commitments, while ensuring your business objectives are met.
- Morning/daily video conference calls with all team members is great to start the day off positively and help provide some structure to those not in the office.
- Encourage open communication across the team, using technology to support that communication so that everyone can share in the successes of the team, no matter where they are working.
- Have a clear work from home policy document in place for the business.
If you’d like to discuss more about the pros and cons of remote working, and how this can help you attract and retain great people, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.