I read with interest the recent article on HR Review titled ‘Employers agree that staying away from the office reduces absenteeism’. With over 75% of managers believing that remote workers are more productive the once taboo term ‘working from home’ has now become a flexible, balanced and cost effective way of working. With companies now cottoning onto the benefits of remote working it is essential that they also understand how to make remote working ‘work!’
It is essential for managers to establish clear objectives of what is expected of the remote worker, reassuring both parties that the flexible method of working is effective. Alongside having clear objectives the remote worker must be fully equipped with the correct facilities to enable them to remote work successfully. Advancements in technology, including better wireless connections, Skype and smart phones have assisted in making remote working more feasible.
Alongside being fully equipped it is equally important to make certain that they still feel part of the overall team. Keeping in the loop with the basic buzz of the office and daily goings on can prove extremely difficult and often leaves remote workers feeling detached from the organisational culture. Implementing an effective communication strategy helps to minimize any social barriers and misconceptions which may occur between office based staff and remote workers.
Keeping open channels of communication allows staff the opportunity to interact more inclusively; expanding and developing company intranet’s and employing monthly meetings with both remote staff and office based staff will help to create a more united company culture.
Refreshing campaigns such as the ‘National Work From Home Day’ on 20th May 2011 (created by Work Wise UK) have helped to break the old fashioned misconceptions that were associated with working from home. The world of flexible working is evolving and with Business Secretary Vince Cable hoping to change the law and give every employee the right to request flexible working by 2013 the future is bright for remote working.