Remote working can boost wellbeing but training needs to be offered to adopt this style of work

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Remote working can boost wellbeing but managers need to offer training for employees to adopt this style of working

Remote working can offer positive wellbeing to employees, however, it is important that employers also offer training on how to manage the “unique” demands of this style of work, to make sure it benefits both employee and organisation.

This is the opinion of Nuffield Health’s latest whitepaper, titled ‘The effects of remote working on stress, wellbeing and productivity’ which was conducted with the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University and written in partnership with Public Policy Projects, a company which offers practical policy analysis and development in health, care and other public services.

The whitepaper found that remote working brings with it the flexibility to “juggle” home life and work, making it essential in attracting and retaining talent for businesses.

Still, in order to prevent the blurring of home and work life whilst remote working, employers need to offer training on how workers should handle remote working.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has proposed what remote workers ideally need to be:

  • Happy to spend long periods on their own
  • Being able to demonstrate previous experience of successfully working from home can be helpful
  • Self-disciplined and self-motivated   
  • A resilient personality who does not let setbacks get them down   
  • Confident in working without supervision

Able to separate work from home life

Dr Ben Kelly, head of clinical research & outcomes, Nuffield Health discussed how remote working may not be best suited for younger workers and that trust is needed between employee and employer in order for it to work.

Dr Kelly said:

It must be a sensible option for both employer and employee and should involve what is essentially an individualised approach.

In the first instance, the job must be suitable for homeworking. A key requirement is that the role should be performed just as well away from the business base by someone working on their own. Many roles might be, but not all are.

Furthermore, new or young staff may be unsuitable if they need close senior guidance, to be part of a team in the office to learn their jobs and to enjoy social interaction with their colleagues.

there should be a healthy relationship of trust and confidence between homeworker and manager. If the remote worker is trusted, this takes much stress out of their lives – so people can carry out family responsibilities or activities, knowing that it is not a problem if they have done their work earlier or will work in the evening.

A good relationship will also leave room for reasonable mistakes to be made and learnt from, without jeopardising the whole remote working arrangement.

For trust to be built on both sides, there must be a clear understanding with the line manager over when the employee will work and be contactable. The homeworkers will need to communicate clearly, letting their line managers, colleagues and clients know when they will be available and when they will not.

The whitepaper asked the opinion of over 7,000 employees, who work at organisations of all sizes across different sectors.

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