While it disrupted normal work patterns and lost much of the social interaction of the normal workplace, it also revealed positives like being able to work productively during what would normally be commuting times, having fewer distractions and a sense of everyone taking more responsibility for their own work. More businesses are now offering employees the choice of remote work for some or all of the working week and this blog gives you a general guide on how best to make that work, for everyone’s benefit.
Flexi Time on Return to Office or WFH? Talk to Employees:
If employees want to work from home, talk to them first discuss the best and most productive way to do this, for you and for them. That may mean working from home on certain days of the week, or more flexible working hours. If you’re an employee, initiate that conversation as early as you can. Once the parameters are agreed, everyone can feel comfortable with the new arrangements and seize the benefits of working from home.
Having the Best Work From Home Equipment:
If people are working from home, make sure the equipment and technology they are using is as good as it is in work, so that they can truly seize the benefits of remote working. That may mean taking home equipment – if this is the case, check that the equipment is full insured outside of the business premises.
The strength and reliability of internet connections is important for conference calls and for emailing work, so this may need to be reviewed or improved. We all occasionally experience poor connections, but on an ongoing basis this is not acceptable so put in place changes need to be made. Some people will need to access sensitive information like HR or Finance, so safe access to these resources need to be set up, and you will need to provide access to IT Support for anyone who is working from home.
Push for Connected Teams:
When people are together in an office, they connect quickly and easily, in person, by phone or by internal email. Working remotely, you’ll need to make this kind of everyday connection as simple as possible, for calendars, calls and sharing documents. Talk to your IT advisor and decide on what system you are using for calls, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google, so everyone is using the same platform. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) gives people a secure connection to your company system from any outside location.
Keep Company Culture Alive:
When people work remotely, the culture of your business can change, simply because colleagues are connecting less on a one-one-one or on a social basis. It’s important that while working remotely, nobody feels ‘remote’ but instead, feels very much part of the wider team, so take any measures needed to reinforce that. This can include nominating days in the office when specific teams can meet or by setting up social group calls. It’s good too to set a timetable for reviewing the new system, to make sure it works and that it suits everybody.
There are many advantages of working from home, and it can increase productivity, but like any change in business practice, it needs to be planned and managed to be successful.