So, what is remote working?
As the name suggests, remote working is any kind of work done from outside of the office. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic taking place right now, that mostly means from operating from home. There’s a good chance your company is currently spread across dozens of home offices, dining room tables and comfy sofas.
It sounds like there might be some challenges to remote working
There are. While remote working is certainly necessary at the moment, it can present problems you don’t find in the office.
Firstly, if you haven’t been practicing regular remote working, it’s likely your company isn’t fully prepared for it. From technical equipment to your daily routines and processes, it’s likely that moving to remote working will cause some disruptions at first, such as
- Accessing shared files and remote drives using a VPN
- Joining meetings online for staff members remote working
- Collaborating on and managing projects.
- Processes that rely on face-to-face transactions or physical interactions
You’ll also probably experience some communication problems. We tend to underestimate just how much of our workdays are spent talking to each other – both directly about work and simply making small talk. It’s important to try and replicate this while working remotely, as it adds a sense of normality and can increase your team’s productivity.
Data sharing and privacy is another thing to think about when remote working, especially if you’re frequently handling sensitive information. It’s important to make sure that everybody in your organisation is fully trained and up to date on best practice guidelines and current legislation.
Working remotely can also create challenges within your team. It can be difficult to make sure everyone stays motivated and engaged, particularly if they’re working on solo projects. Collaboration is key, but encouraging your colleagues to reach out isn’t always straightforward.
How can I overcome these barriers?
Thankfully with modern, easy-to-use technology such as video calls, it’s easy to stay in touch. Get everyone together for meetings, briefings or just a catch-up call to end the day. Not only will everyone be able to collaborate more easily, you’ll also be able to recreate some of the atmosphere of the office while working remotely at home.
Alongside these calls, it’s a good idea to give every member of your team clear goals and a structure for the working day. This way your team can stay focused despite the distractions of working remotely. Make sure that everybody either knows how to get in touch with each other during the day, or implement new systems to help everyone reach their objectives.
Make sure that you also include meetings that aren’t just about work. Quizzes, games or just chats before the weekend will help your team keep its culture. It’s easy to feel isolated when working remotely, so fun, interactive sessions will help everybody stay motivated.
With security and protection being major barriers to successful remote working, it’s important to make sure that your team’s devices (such as laptops and mobile phones) are properly covered. Secure VPN connections, email encryption and safe file transfer systems will all allow you to operate from home with confidence that you’re protected.
What are the benefits of remote working?
Remote working gives your team a lot more flexibility in how they plan their days. This will usually lead to colleagues gaining an increased sense of autonomy. By giving them the power to work how they feel most productive, your team will usually work more efficiently.
Working from home also means your team won’t have to commute to the office. Not only will they feel less stressed, they’ll also have more free time to spend. Encourage them to explore activities and hobbies to improve their work/life balance.
By operating outside of the office you’ll also benefit from cost savings. From the small things like kitchen supplies and stationery to major expenses such as bills, remote working gives companies the chance to save real money.
Is remote working becoming “the new normal”?
It’s already been found that remote working can be as productive as working from the office. So, it seems likely that working from home will become just as normal as turning up to the office every morning.
With all of its benefits, including cost savings, better productivity and increased work/life balance, it seems that remote working is definitely here to stay.