Your Total Guide To business

Total Guide to Remote Working

The notion of an ‘office team’ will never be removed in business, but the growth of remote working in the last ten years means that, in most cases, anyone can do any of their work anywhere.

Remote Working

It’s changed the nature of work, contingency plans and the daily commute, and most importantly it’s very effective.

It gives employees the freedom to complete their work anywhere, and invariably increases morale and motivation – providing an incentive to stay with the organisation longer.

But some employers are still reluctant to fully utilise the idea, because of fears over productivity, security and costs.

TGtB is here to address that, with some key points for those considering remote working in their business:

1. Get managers on board

A recent study by Dr Alexandra Beauregard at the London School of Economics and suggests that remote working initiatives only succeed if they are supported from the top-down.

So the most important thing is that staff must feel comfortable if asking for permission to work from home.

With this in mind, management teams need to be clearly told why remote working is being introduced.

2. Review training requirements and develop clear policies

Clear guidelines need to be established to answer any questions staff may have about remote working as confusion can be damaging.

HR departments should offer staff training on how to employ the necessary technology and best practice security procedures in order to make clear what is expected.

3. Stay on top of flexible working legislation

Last year, one in three workers were granted the statutory right to ask permissions to work from home, and legislation passed last April informed companies to consider requests from those with responsibility for a child aged 16 or under, a child with disabilities who is under 18 and/or a dependent adult.

The aim is to extend the right to request flexible working rights to more employees over the years ahead, so HR departments must stay on top of the legislation.

4. Ramp up security

Many ‘home-workers’ will require access to sensitive information while out of the office, so security is paramount.

Invest in a virtual private network, which provides secure access to all the company’s data and provides both server and worker safety nets.

5. Ensure that workers stay connected

Workers are bound to have differing speeds of internet access at home, and the last thing you want is your employees struggling to work in the face of stodgy connections.

It is a good idea to set up a benefits package, which involves contributing towards the cost of employees’ home broadband – but remember to allocate this as a taxable benefit.

6. Make it easy for employees to stay in touch

By its very nature, remote working can make it harder for teams to stay in contact, so make collaboration easier however you can.

One option is unified communications technology, which enables users to access multiple communication channels such as email, instant messaging, video messaging and voicemail from just one application.

7. Reassess your office space requirements

It follows that if you’re going to have less people in your office, you need less office space, and you can therefore save money!

Cut office space and introduce a hot desk system whereby remote workers have somewhere to sit when they’re in.

This article first appeared in HR Zone

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