In this post, HRLocker’s CEO, Adam Coleman, gives us his insight into Remote Working.
“Douglas Adams wrote the answer to Life the Universe and Everything is 42. But what is the answer to remote working? Is it 28?
I am working from my home office for the past 10 years, where HRLocker has developed and grown. We have talked about how to create a more distributive workforce and an effective remote working policy for years. Now, this decision is the only way forward for a lot of organisations. We ask the question: ‘Can remote working become a viable business solution when this is all over?’
1. It helps the housing crisis when people can choose where to work. Remote working allows employees to log on to systems no matter where they are.
2. Your employees can reduce their carbon footprint – good for the climate!
3. People are less stressed because they have no commuting time stress.
4. Office costs will reduce significantly (We still pay high rates for our small office)
5. Heating and lighting costs are considerably lower.
6. According to many sources such as Forbes, remote working increases productivity (but you need to trust your employees)
7. When you trust your employees and remote working works well, it will lead to better retention rates. This may change if remote working becomes the norm.
8. Scheduled “groove meetings” to catch up. (we got this term from ‘An Everyone Culture’- our bible at HRLocker!)
9. Make sure you have video meetings as an option, (your extrovert employees will need this, while introverts will not be so quick to use video).
10. Establish this as a work practice (if internet bandwidth permits you must turn your video on at meetings, it’s a great exercise to look back on to see who’s participating too much or too little)
11. Make sure each person has a workspace that works for them free of interruption as much as possible. Ideally, give your employees the same work set-up.
12. Make out a small rule of engagement with the other people living in your house so they understand how working from home should work.
13. Maybe establish an online water cooler or coffee breaks that anyone can drop in on.
14. Establishing meetups and social catch-ups. A good idea is a dedicated half-hour social catch-up at lunchtime this should be a social fun time that people can catch up during their lunch break.
15. Real-time performance monitoring. Each employee should be able to schedule a 1:1 with their manager anytime outside of the normal review sessions. Dates and deadlines and keeping to these become more important.
(many of these will be the same with office-based employees)
16. Make sure you include a section on working from home in your interviewing process, not everyone wants to do it and many others don’t know and struggle with expectations. Providing a remote working policy document is a great idea for recruits to get to grips with what is expected.
17. Ensure your technology allows you to operate. The essentials to work from home are a good laptop or PC, broadband that will be sufficient to suit whatever job you are doing, HR or time and attendance systems so that you can log your working hours and applications such as Slack or Microsoft Teams to enable people to message quickly and allow everyone to be responsive.
18. Avoid: Employees thinking they can mind their kids or care for the elderly or infirm at the same time, remember you are still at work!
19. Holidays should be booked in the same way. Employees should always be encouraged to take their holidays as even when you are working from home you still need a break!
20. While working from home creates flexibility it also needs guidelines to work effectively. Take regular breaks, dress appropriately (so that you feel like you are in an office environment) and make sure others who share the same living space understand the rules. In my experience, you shouldn’t make these rules too many or too detailed.
21. Try where at all possible to keep house maintenance and cleaning to after work hours, “I will clean before I start” is a widely used mantra. The golden rule is if you wouldn’t do it in the office, don’t do it at home!
22. Fix your working hours and if you are working beyond them you should make sure you know that. The best practice is to work to production deadlines and times and not hours.
23. People and companies don’t like change.
24. Employers don’t trust remote employees to get the job done.
25. Employees try and do many things when home working such as housework, minding kids etc. If home-working is to be effective, working hours must be just that…. working hours.
26. Lack of trust.
27. Lack of control. By having everyone work in the same building, some managers feel they can better monitor work by being present to make sure that their employees are staying on target.
28. The need for presentism. Even though there are great technologies, like video conferencing and messaging, some feel that it is not the same as having a team work together in the same room. Originating questions such as, “If I am not in the office, will I be considered for promotion?”
In summary, the future of work has put remote & home working at the centre of the ‘future of work’ strategy, alongside adult development.
If the one good thing that comes out of this Covid-19 epidemic is to normalise remote or distributive teams. Unwittingly, Covid-19 will have changed the landscape of traditional work patterns and made the future of work unrecognisable from the past. The Industrial Revolution is over, and the Entrepreneur Revolution is underway. So, in the words of Daniel Priestly in his book “The Entrepreneur Revolution” it is time to engage your entrepreneurial brain and leave your Lizard and Monkey brain behind.
Or could 28 be the answer rather than 42?”