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A guide to remote working

What is Remote Working?

Remote working is a working style that allows employees to work outside of the traditional office environment. Built on the notion that work or tasks done, do not need to be in a set location to be executed successfully.

For example: instead of commuting to and from an office each day to work from an assigned desk. Remote staff can carry out their projects and exceed their goals wherever they are.

How do people work remotely?

When employees can work remotely, staff get the ability to choose to work in a way that makes the most sense for their lives and or makes the dynamics of set working standards very flexible.

For instance, some employees get the opportunity to work remotely for most of the working week but must commute to a face-to-face client or internal meetings at the office once a week. On a normal day, these remote staff work from their homes, public libraries or hubs and can work from their organization’s office when necessary.

Other staff depend on coworking spaces to be the venues where they can get their jobs done. Co-working spaces act as centers of work efficiency, community, and technology, offering excellent network connectivity and chances to meet other employees who work in a multitude of industries.

Can Every Business Adopt Remote Working?

This model does not work for every organization. For instance, location-dependent businesses have limitations to remote work alternatives. Think about it – would you expect your Starbucks or Java House barista to deliver your cup of coffee through your computer. Many service-oriented processes would still require staff work on-site.

Remote work is for fields like IT, Marketing, Accounting/ Finance, Customer Service, Web Development, Social Media Marketing and SEO among others.

However, there are specific service-oriented tasks that may benefit from working remotely. For example, coffee shop owners, conducting virtual meetings and training. Tasks such as social media management and payroll.

Managers should be aware that transitioning the business to remote working may be taxing for both the employer and employee. For many staff, these challenges may call for clear-cut individual accountability adjustments like getting used to new deadlines, the fusion of progress benchmarks, and regular team meetings.

Before introducing any remote work in your company, you must first decide which teams will work remotely, to begin with. To successfully do this, an individual or an organisation must:

Once you’ve assessed your options, your path towards remote work, if that is, in fact, the most appropriate path for your business, becomes clearer.

The history of remote working

While the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a massive migration away from the traditional workplace, the evolution of remote work began long before.

Thanks to advancement in communication technology and internet access, teleworking has become an accepted practice in many offices globally.

In recent years, employees have had a lot of options for remote working. Ranging from staff turning up in trendy coffee shops or co-working spaces and even travelling the world while achieving their professional commitments.

Nevertheless, many employers have shied away from this work trend for several reasons. Majority of employers fear lack of or reduced productivity in their employees, while others just haven’t invested in appropriate technology to support these efforts.

Many other corporates have tested the waters in the remote workforce. By developing a work-from-home strategy for a day or two in a week, or as an exception for a few key staff.

Today, the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced organizations to embrace remote working as they grapple to sustain their business operations in compliance with the social distance regulations demanded by the health authorities the world over.

Embracing a remote working strategy can save firms money by cutting the high costs of expensive corporate office space. All while allowing employees the privilege of creating their timetables and work from wherever they are. It can be a profitable situation for both the employer and employee.

Benefits of Remote Working
  1. Higher productivity

One of the most praised arguments for remote work is the rise in employee productivity that comes with its flexibility.

  1. Cost savings

This is great for a company’s bottom line. If a team is fully distributed, organizations can see reduced overhead from money saved on costs like rent and office furniture.

  1. Improved health and wellness

Remote employees are less stressed and have higher enthusiasm than their in-office counterparts. Many employees feel more stressed because of their daily commute to and from work. By removing that commute, and letting staff work in an environment that they’re comfortable in, companies are nurturing less stressed-out employees.

  1. Renewed employee interest in their job

Employees tend to do their best work outside of the office. They are more motivated by their surroundings and can filter off surrounding distractions as they see fit.

Managing Remote Working Teams for Optimal Performance
  1. Set clear expectations

Staff working from home and their managers find it hard to align expectations of roles, duties, goals, and assignments. Managers should aim to set clear expectations and targets from the onset.

Managers and supervisors should communicate the individual’s role and responsibilities as well as establish where the staff fits into the team.

Call attention to the individual’s day-to-day duties and provide relevant details regarding one’s responsibilities. As well as team allocations at the beginning of the work-from-home plan.

Employees are more likely to have oblique team visions and the tendency to feel isolated or excluded from the team. Therefore, managers should establish well-defined and measurable performance expectations. As well as clarify everyone’s objectives and how they connect to the team’s and organization’s objectives.

  1. Establish strong performance tracking structures

Managers grapple to understand employees’ work plans given that they cannot directly observe their daily activities. In the end, they must evaluate employees through outcomes only.

Staff and managers need to discuss when and how they will provide formal feedback to tie-up responsibilities to the team’s mission and values.

For instance, you could request that teams have a virtual meeting every morning at a pre-agreed time to confirm daily individual deliverables. Ensure remote working teams share with their line managers daily deliverables achieved at the end of every working day.

Managers must make a deliberate effort to maintain visibility into work plans. Online platforms such as Teams are a good medium through which to encourage collaboration.

Constant formal communication allows managers to track the engagement level and work progress of employees working from home. Employees do not have the same insight into what is going on within the organization as on-scene staff do.

Managers should also acknowledge when their employees perform well to keep them motivated as the shift in structures may be hard to adjust to.

  1. Discipline

Managers ought to help employees understand the burden of being self-management. They will have to evolve into coaches and spend time reinforcing the need for staff to remain disciplined. Consequently resulting in consistent and optimal output delivery.

Discipline is the ability to focus and to motivate yourself even though you may not want to and there are many distractions to keep you from doing what you should be doing. Working hard, and the benefits of doing the work are often the result of discipline.

Discipline also means to stay focused and not get distracted by what might seem as appealing shortcuts to avoid hard work (e.g. diet pills vs. eating healthy and exercising)and often also means you are methodical in what you do.

Experienced aeroplane pilots are disciplined about going completely through their written pre-flight checklists. Even though they have years of experience, know what to look for and could probably do the list in their sleep, they have the discipline to know that little things get missed and mistakes get made if you don’t use the list. It’s more work, but it saves lives hence discipline should be encouraged, monitored and reinforced.

Here are a few things that employees working remotely could consider.

  • Establish designated working areas.
  • Dress for the job.
  • Engage in different mediums of communication.
  • Set hours and stick to them.
  • Specify tasks for each day.
  • Take breaks.
  • Avoid interactions with Family or friends

 Conclusion.

The benefits of remote working outweigh the drawbacks and today is a good time to embrace this working trend that is predicted to become the new normal.

It is time for leadership and Managers to quickly build adaptability muscles, shift gears and assume the role of coaches. They need to guide their teams to navigate the future that is now more unpredictable than ever before.

 

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