A revolution in the way we work is underway. Remote working is constantly becoming more and more feasible and convenient as technology develops, allowing us to keep in touch and get things done more efficiently, regardless of location. Highly useful tools like conference calling are making remote working easier than ever.
Could your business be next? Well, there are lots of things to take into consideration before you decide to implement remote working permanently, and lots of different ways that you could integrate it into your workplace. Not only does it come with a whole host of professional benefits, it could be a huge step in making your business environmentally friendly.
What would you need?
Obviously, if people are not working in close proximity, it is important to focus on ensuring teamwork continues to run smoothly and cohesively. Communication is absolutely vital in any business, making it even more important for organisations that choose remote working.
Good project management
Projects must be managed well for remote working to be successful. This means ensuring someone in your organisation is able to set and manage tasks to be performed by a team. But good project management is also about having the right tools for the job. Conference calling is obviously a great tool for this, but other software like Basecamp can be really helpful in this area. You might also like to consider something like Trello, which can quickly inform workers who is working on what at any given time. There are lots of tools available to help businesses use remote working successfully. File sharing tools like Dropbox are also really important as a means of ensuring that people can quickly and easily gain access to a central hub of files, so that the end result is a product of everybody’s thoughts and contributions.
Goals, deadlines and monitoring
It’s vital to have a system in place that ensures your staff know exactly what is required of them and how long they have to do it. You will also want a way to monitor each employee’s work which is where project management software can come in very handy.
Adequate devices and equipment
For remote working to be implemented successfully, employees must be provided with the right tools for the job. This means giving them the devices they need to get their work done and stay connected. If an employee is constantly travelling for example, they may require an internet dongle so that they can work easily while on trains or wherever they happen to be at the time. The technologies available today for remote working are highly advanced and when employees are equipped with the set of tools they need, remote working can bring amazing benefits to a business.
Of all the tools that can aid remote working, conference calling has to be one of the most useful. You should make sure you arrange regular audio meetings for general briefs and feedback so that you have confidence that everybody on the team is on the same page and feels included, productive and necessary. Be very clear about what needs to be done, setting deadlines and delegating tasks to individual employees so nobody is sitting at their bedroom desk unsure about their tasks. Here, call recording is extremely useful, as it means employees can listen back to what they have been asked to do and ensure that nothing is missed.
Because of the nature of WHYPAY? conference calls, you can use your rooms at any time. So if some impromptu issue arises, you can quickly and easily send the dial-in details to your colleges and get the issue resolved.
What would you gain?
This whole remote working idea isn’t just a fad. In fact, there have been a number of studies conducted that show an increase in productivity when remote working is implemented into an organisation. Remote working also opens a business up to a much larger pool of potential employees. This allows organisations to potentially select employees that are more suited to the business, without them having to be within close proximity of the business.
Remote working provides flexibility. Everybody is different and works differently. Some people may be more productive at the crack of dawn, while others much prefer working from midnight to 3am. With remote working, employees have the option to work in a way, environment, and schedule that suits them. As long as they are contactable and working at agreed upon times of the day, and they get the work done, there is often no reason why they shouldn’t be able to do so as they wish!
Having access to materials for work at home means that spare time in the evenings or weekends can also be dedicated to finishing off a little more work, rather than watching bad television programmes. Crucially, though, this will be only on the employee’s terms: the decision would be theirs, and nobody would be forcing them to work.
Empty houses or quiet coffee houses are often actually less distracting than bustling office environments filled with chatting colleagues and frequent cups of tea. Letting people work from a place of their choosing may allow them to increase focus and concentration, and get much more done in the same space of time.
In many workplaces, there is much to be gained from offering some degree of remote working. Firstly, it establishes a real feeling of trust between employee and employer, as it is a clear indication that you believe your employees will get the work done on their own terms, without being supervised. This tends to lead to a great output as people respond to the trust and expectations placed on them, and wish to prove themselves worthy and capable, as both you and they know they are.
That means relationships between staff and employer will be much improved, something that can only boost productivity. Moreover, simply giving people what they want is already a great step in showing your workers that you value them and take their needs into consideration. By offering remote working, you can make lots of employees’ lives much easier, and attract people who may otherwise not have been able to apply for a full-time office job. For a lot of people, commuting is a huge hassle, particularly in bad weather. Whether it’s too cold or too hot for commuting, teleconferencing can salvage the meeting.
What are the drawbacks?
Remote working doesn’t come entirely without difficulties and potential drawbacks. It might require you to invest in software and apps to facilitate communications between you and your employees. Some may even require company-paid laptops or tablets to be able to complete their work from home.
It can also detract from the sense of collaboration and teamwork which is so necessary for the smooth running of many businesses. Working physically alongside one another can help to cement this feeling, as well as potentially encourage more frequent discussion and debate. To combat this, you might like to encourage any remote staff to still come into the office regularly, although setting specific days may not be an ideal way of doing this.
Should you try it?
It can be difficult to decipher whether remote working would work for you – the type of work done in your office and employees’ specific work description are obviously crucial factors in making this decision. Still, you can implement remote working in varying degrees and with different policies to suit your specific needs. With all the potential gains, it’s almost certainly worth trialling remote working for a set period of time and keeping track of results and changes. After the set time has elapsed, you can review your findings, and talk to your employees about their personal experiences. With this information, you should be able to make a truly informed decision about whether remote working is right for your business.