Embracing remote working culture is a compelling option for employers looking to give team members more flexibility, as well as to account for unpredictable disruption which might make office-based operations unfeasible for a particular period.
Of course it is important to prepare properly for the shift to remote working, so here are a few points to consider and oft-overlooked elements to keep in mind as you take the plunge.
Working hours become more malleable
When employees are obliged to visit the office to work, keeping a rigid schedule in terms of working hours is relatively easy. When working remotely, the opposite is true, and the need to be responsive to the unique requirements of individuals is important.
Employers need to be prepared to accommodate the work-life balance of employees in this context, and also enable them to have a greater degree of autonomy in terms of when they work.
This can create complexities in terms of scheduling as well as payroll, which is why it is important to implement employee time tracking through software that can keep tabs on when team members are active. So long as you are transparent about your use of such solutions, this should simplify things from a managerial perspective, and also give staff that aforementioned autonomy, so that work can mould to fit their personal responsibilities, and not the other way around.
Communication is key
Feelings of isolation and irrelevance can develop in those who are working remotely, because it is tougher to keep connected to the wider workforce and if hours or even days go by without interaction, this will only be amplified.
As such, managers need to be on the ball when it comes to communicating with team members, checking in to ensure that the sense of community is maintained, and being attuned to any changes or dips in morale so that action can be taken to address this.
Most importantly, it is not enough to host frequent team meetings via virtual platforms, as these tend to favor certain individuals over others. You also need to have one-to-one catch ups to touch base on the state of each employee and demonstrate that you are offering bespoke support to their remote working endeavors.
This is especially relevant in the case that only some team members are working remotely, while others are in the office, as this might otherwise foster a division between the two groups that will hamper productivity.
Data accessibility should be taken seriously
In terms of both operational efficiency and security, the way you provide access to mission-critical data in a remote working scenario has to be optimal.
Perhaps most importantly, you should do all you can to ensure that your data management policies and platforms are as unified as you can make them, rather than leaving information fragmented across different software and hardware ecosystems.
In addition, you should aim to keep a tight grip on access itself, so that data is not universally available to anyone with basic credentials, but instead is as protected as possible while still keeping the right parties in the loop on projects that are relevant to their roles in the organization.
Feedback is helpful
Finally, being prepared to listen to employee feedback and make changes based on the comments you receive can really assist you as you adopt remote working practices.
Not every tool or strategy will work for every business, so by opening the floor to feedback you will quickly know whether or not there is room for improvement, and have the impetus to improve employee satisfaction as a result.