Remote working is most certainly here to stay, with more and more companies allowing their employees to work from home than ever before. There are many benefits to remote working, from lower overheads for your business to a better quality of life for employees who choose to work from home. However, it isn’t without its challenges, especially when it comes to working together as a team in and outside the office.
So, if you’re thinking of allowing your staff to choose the remote working option, there are a few things you should do to ensure everything works out:
Invest in infrastructure
Perhaps, the most vital thing you’ll need to if is you want the all of your team, wherever they’re located, to be able to work well together, is to invest in the right infrastructure.
When employees aren’t all sharing the same space, it can be more difficult for them to collaborate, but as you will probably know, collaboration is the key to a successful business, so as a minimum, you should invest in good video conferencing equipment, a string, reliable internet connection, and if you do any software testing at all, some good test case management tools. Used alongside free tools like Google Drive and Camscanner, this will ensure that everyone can communicate and collaborate effectively.
Give Everyone the Option
If you don’t want to build resentment between your employees, you need to offer remote working options to all of your staff for whom it isn’t critical that they are in the office. Colleagues having a good relationship with each other is vital for the successful running of the business, and if you don’t have that, then you’re likely to spend more time dealing with disputes and managing disgruntled employees than you are anything else.
Avoid Last Minute Decisions
Last minute decisions are a big no-no when you have remote employees working for you, quite simply because, unless you have agreed that they will be working normal business hours, they might not be at their desk when the decision is made. In fact, they might be in a different time zone completely! This means that you’ll need to tighten up your planning and decision making so that you don’t leave some employees feeling frustrated because they’re left hanging when a colleague is unreachable.
Plan Events for Socializing
Teams who socialize together tend to work better together, which is why you need to be proactive about organizing social events for your employees when you have remote workers in the mix. Individuals working from home won’t be party to the usual water cooler chat that creates bonds, so you need to bring them into the fold by running workshops, organizing team bonding events and throwing the occasional office party.
Find the ‘Golden Hour’
Meetings are an essential part of most businesses, but it can be almost impossible to get all of the staff together when you employ remote workers UNLESS you can find the ‘golden hour’; that time when despite working in different time zones, everyone is likely to be working. It isn’t always possible, but you should at least try to pinpoint such a time so that you can hold video conferences where everyone can catch up, collaborate and have their say.
Remote working certainly presents a few challenges both for the home worker and those in the office, but if you give them the right tools, treat all your staff equally and plan your work accordingly, you will find that remote working is an asset to your business, not a hindrance.