Remote Working – Key Facts
15th December 2017
Remote working, distributed teams, telecommuting. They all speak to a decentralized community of co-workers who rarely see each other, and even more rarely, get to know one another in person.
But in today’s competitive economy, it’s becoming more common and even necessary for companies to embrace telecommuting as a core strategy in hiring and retaining talent.
But a remote workforce doesn’t necessarily mean a dilution of company culture. Indeed, a successful remote working policy can strengthen a company’s productivity and increase its sense of community and culture. But getting to that point requires employers to ensure employees are dialled into its vision and able to carry the torch so far away from the company office.
Here are a few thoughts and considerations about remote working, and some of the challenges that come with it.
Two way trust
The most important! Hiring workers you rarely, if ever, see requires a lot of trust from both the employer and employee’s side. In both situations, trust is critical. Without it, remote working is guaranteed not to work!
Employers need to be really rigorous with their interviewing process, and with the methods by which they measure productivity and engagement. These are both hard to get right, and every company has unique needs.
Regular check-ins and ensuring everyone understands the general guidelines for (online) presence and availability. It’s a lot of work, but it goes a long way, and ultimately builds trust and transparency that will make this succeed.
Face time is still important
An open invitation for employees to make the case for travel to an office is an excellent start. Also, keep a steady hand on culture and the social aspects of a growing company by considering quarterly on-site get-togethers and social events. Just being in the same room for a couple of days every few months goes a real long way.
Local remote working
The most important thing to protect against, is that employees don’t treat remote working as flexi-time. They’re separate policies and must be kept that way.
Remote working is a tool, not an allowance, so employees need to be just as available, accountable, and productive as they would be if they were working in the office.
Security, tools, and workspace
Supporting a remote workforce with good technology is tough. Companies are subject to residential phone lines, consumer Internet connections, and home offices.
To ensure a remote workforce can be just as efficient on a technical level as on-site employees definitely requires some infrastructure.
A fast, secure VPN, for example, will ensure access to company networks is uninhibited from remote locations. Using a well-designed phone system ensures a good communication experience when clients and customers call.
Lastly, companies need a way for IT support to diagnose and resolve technical problems of remote employees.
Achieving A Better Work/Life Balance
While some employers worry that their remote staff are not working productivity, the opposite is often true. Many remote workers find that switching off from work is much more difficult when working from home, often putting in more hours, and feeling that they must always be available. Employers can help their remote staff by trusting them to use their time effectively, and by respecting an agreed working day. While you may be working over the weekend, your remote employee may not be; therefore save those emails as drafts and send them on Monday morning, not at 10pm on a Saturday night.
Communication and presence
In a remote team, you can’t swivel your chair around to talk to a co-worker, technology but some ‘in office’ time can help as part of the policy.
If you require advice in this area or any matter, please get in touch with our expert team on +44 (0)78 9183 9136.