COVID-19 Why Remote Working is the New Norm

COVID-19 working from home

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Working remotely benefits both the employer and the employee

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the world has had little choice but adapt to remote working. Although more and more countries are easing down on lockdown restrictions, this trend is only likely to increase. This is due to the myriad benefits working remotely offers to both the organisation and employees.

For starters, companies can now save money on such business expenses as letting or buying office space as well as purchasing and maintenance of equipment. The removal of geographic obstacles between the organisations and potential hires has led to more diverse “workplaces”. From advertising for vacant positions to conducting interviews, HR departments can assess, screen and interviews candidates virtually.

On the other hand, job seekers and employees are on the lookout workplaces where they can have work-life balance. Working remotely comes with flexible working schedules. Whether it’s taking up an online fitness class, running errands, going for medical appointments or balancing school schedules, employees are better placed to achieve work-life balance when working from home. This has ultimately led to improved employee satisfaction and consequently, retention.

While the benefits of working remotely are both measurable and meaningful, there’s a catch. Done incorrectly, you could be compromising your organisation’s bottom line while you’re trying to become a part of the modern UK workplace.

Tips to effectively transition your employees to remote work

  • Ensure that everyone is invested in the transition

Changes in workplace practices will have a profound effect on your organization’s culture. Besides, the absence of the usual face-to-face interaction and the overlap between personal and professional life is bound to be initially difficult to manage. The success or failure of any remote workforce boils down to their willingness to take up the challenge and quickly adapt to the change.

The most effective way of ensuring that everyone is on board is by building a culture of trust. Apart from demonstrating that you trust the decisions they will be making, offer them autonomy and give them a chance to air out potential setbacks. Address all their concerns and demonstrate how the transition is going to impact their careers as well as the company’s bottom line.

While getting your teams excited about the prospect of working from home, do not forget to emphasise the need to schedule regular breaks. Also, encourage them to fully disconnect from work at the end of the day.

  • Provide your teams with the right tools

Collaboration and communication are critical when your teams are working remotely. A few elements of remote infrastructure such as access to a fast, stable and secure internet connection are pretty obvious but a few such as how to use cloud-storage apps will come as you move along.

When choosing your preferred tools, start with what you already have. What’s readily available will get you well ahead of the transition before you fully adapt. If nothing in your organisation is applicable or effective, the internet is full of user-friendly, short-term solutions that contain most of the features you will be needing.

Keep in mind that working remotely is an investment. Do not rush. While you may have found an effective online tool, you will need to build on it.

  • Prioritise on employee training and support

It is not realistic to expect managers and employees that are accustomed to in-person interactions to transition adapt to an all-digital style of working without proper guidance.

Access to the best digital remote working technologies will be ineffective if your teams lack the knowledge and skills to exploit them fully. Your training sessions need to go beyond the basics of collaboration, cloud computing and cybersecurity if they are to be effective. Seek to foster a complete cultural shift so that your employees fully embrace a digital mindset. Do not only address the why but also point your teams out to the how. You can achieve this by distributing how-to resources, providing access to IT help and offering personal support.

  • Do not skimp on communication and feedback

Communication tools encompass a lot more than outfitting your employees with company-owned PCs and ensuring they are aware of your organisation’s remote working policies.

Make use of communication platforms such as video and audio-conferencing tools, instant messaging apps and emails to communicate with clients and co-workers.

Cloud-based applications where employees can make changes in real-time and share documents will enable them to stay updated on ongoing projects.

Providing your teams with constant feedback will ensure that they are constantly aligned to your business goals as well as the new organizational culture.

Final thoughts

If nothing else, the pandemic should have taught organisations that they can no longer rely on the culture of ‘presenteeism’. While remote working has been forced on organisations, taking a wait-and-see approach will only be detrimental to their long-term success as this is the new normal.

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