By Michelle Gyimah, HR Consultant, Equality Pays
Remote working is becoming a popular working option for many people. With most of our work involving computers and access to the internet, it is not surprising that within the next 10 years around 60% of office based employees will be working from home.
Here are my top 10 tips on getting remote working right:
1. Establish working hours –You don’t have to stick to 9am-you’re your employees could do 7am-3pm or 8am-4pm. Or something completely different, as long as it fits in the business needs. Try to find something that fits both you and your employee.
2. Communication- There are numerous ways to communicate long distance e.g. telephone, e-mail and skype. The key here is to decide which format works best. Do you prefer the phone? Are meetings better with Skype? Or is e-mail contact enough?
3. Plan the working day – Remote working relies on trust and openness, so encourage your employees to plan out their working day in their electronic diary. That way you know what they are doing and you can see that at a glance.
Work out a system, you may wish to have access to their calendar, or want a 30 minute call at the beginning and end of the day. Work together to find out how you want to proceed.
4. Dedicated space – Make sure that your employee has a quiet corner or room where they will not be disturbed. Now, you cannot go spying, but ask them what arrangements they have out in place. Is their ‘office’ the spare room, garage, shed? It doesn’t matter what it is fit for purpose.
5. Connectivity – You and your employee must have good internet service. If it is isn’t get it fixed or upgraded. You need to have reliable equipment that works. Without it, remote working will not work.
6. Invest in software – There is software designed to allow people to share their work wherever they are. Dropbox, One Drive and Sugarsync are good for storing documents for multi user access, Trello and Basecamp helps you map out a project responsibilities. Get researching to find what would work for you.
7. IT Support –Get to know your IT department. Have their number on speed dial in case of any emergencies. If you will be taking part in conference telephone meetings and skype meetings learn how to set these up/dial in. Things do inevitably go wrong, but knowing who to contact when they do makes all the difference.
8. Encourage face to face time – Make sure that there are regular meet-ups to avoid isolation from other work colleagues and office events. Establish a minimum e.g. 1 day a week or attend all fortnightly team meetings, bi-monthly personal appraisal/development chats etc. Decide what works for you and your employee.
9. Insist on regular breaks – Make sure your employee factors in regular breaks throughout the day. It can be very easy to just sit at the desk all day, but everyone needs a break from time to time!
10. Enjoy it! – Remote working can make such a difference to people’s lives as it opens up more possibilities in their personal lives. It is of great benefit to employers too as happier employees means more productivity and better retention rates.