REMOTE WORKING FAQ’S
With recent global issues forcing a lot of us to work remotely, I thought it would be useful to share our thoughts on some of the FAQ’s we receive regarding remote working. If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to reach out!
Question: If employees are not in the office, then how do we know that they are working?
Answer: You don’t – it’s all about trust, which sounds slightly fluffy. But why would you hire employees if you do not trust them to work from home? You’ll learn a lot about your culture when you’re not there…!
Beyond trust, some employers use their internal communication systems such as skype, slack etc in order to communicate and report back on employees progress. However, the most effective mindset shift I have seen businesses make is where they begin to focus on results, rather than outputs.
More frequent check in’s with employees will allow you to measure how productive they’re being and offer support where needed. We’ve found that three simple questions such as the following, work well: What is going well? What could be improved? And what could the business do to support?
We all have some members of our team who appear to be much more effective than others. The ones that stay late, come in early – you know who I am talking about. But, if you look at their productivity vs the rest of the team, do their results differ that much? Creating a culture focused on results will help your team to prioritise their daily activities based on performance and not just how many hours they put in.
Question: What if we need to urgently get hold of a team member?
Answer: For any flexible and remote working strategy to work effectively it is important to set core hours of work. These are the hours that employees MUST be available for meetings, calls and anything that the business throws at them. This is a great opportunity to delegate actions and share updates.
Things become slightly harder when you’re trying to get hold of a team member outside of these times. However, anticipating any risks will help you to manage this. Have a contingency plan for most of your processes and DO NOT let individuals be solely responsible for high risk work.
Question: If we’re not in the office then how will we communicate?
Answer: As eluded to above you will more than likely already have an existing suite of internal communication tools such as, Slack, Skype etc. Firstly, these are a good way to engage as a team, but also on a 1-1 basis.
Next, you have the good old fashioned phone call!
Finally, if you wish to see each other’s faces then once more you can use Skype but also you can use other platforms such as Zoom – it is free!
In summary, communication and trust are absolutely critical when it comes to remote working. Set clear guidelines!
Employee Engagement & People Strategy Consultant