These days it is easier than ever to work remotely, and it can be a great step to providing more freedom and flexibility for employees or team. If you are thinking about allowing remote work within your company or department, there are a few mistakes that should be avoided by employees:
Employees should not enter a conversation about working remotely with their employer without adequate preparation, as this is not a conversation to be taken lightly. Proper research and preparation are needed to show managers and supervisors that they have thought this through carefully. Employees can even go as far as building a business case that to show employers why they want to work remotely, what they expect it to do for their and the company’s performance and how they will track their own success. Employees should be ready to answer any questions that managers may have.
Personal vs Professional Benefits
While there are a lot of personal benefits to working remotely, such as flexibility, location and independence, managers are usually more concerned with how the employee’s work outside of the office will affect the company.
Employees should approach the meeting with a list of benefits to the company, such as improved productivity and saving them money on operational costs. The more specific that they can make these benefits, the greater the chance that the conversation with the employer will be successful. Employers will be grateful that you have taken the time to help your team understand the company better and you will have a greater depth of knowledge about how you can make a difference when negotiating a remote work arrangement.
It is so easy to rush ahead with plans to work remotely, but one mistake that many HR professional make is not taking the time for self-reflection or team assessments. Before having the conversation with your employer, spend some time thinking about your team’s situation. Do you feel that they all can work effectively from home, or just a few people? Do they have a good space in their homes that will encourage productivity and efficient communication? Are the team members more motivated alone or by collaborating with others? Can the company provide any tools or equipment that the employees can only access in the office (e.g. laptops, cell phones, tablets)?
If you have any doubts about whether your employees could be effective remote workers, this is the time to be honest with yourself. Remote working is not for everyone. If there is something holding your team back, try and identify what skills they need to work on to enable them to be more successful remote workers.
Going It Alone
One of the downsides of working as a remote employee is that it can be quite lonely and disconnected. Although traditionally we think of remote workers as sitting at a laptop at home, there are lots of ways to work remotely that don’t lead to isolation. Many will seek out coworking spaces for community, or work in coffee shops. Other remote workers may choose a more immersive experience in work or travel programs. Determine whether the company has the resources to sponsor a coworking space membership or has a preferred alternative workspace that offers more flexibility than the office.
One concern that employers have is that they cannot actually see their employees working outside of the physical office. Although the evidence suggests that remote workers are actually more productive and inspired, this fear can lead to remote workers feeling overly pressured to show how much work they are getting done. This can result in them over-working to prove that they are doing as much work as the office-based employees. Those extra hours do not make for an improved situation for the worker or the employer and are often uncompensated. To avoid this potential burnout, the remote worker and employer should stay connected and in touch. Keeping a daily habit of updating the team via email or an instant message platform. By being available to speak when the team needs them, they will be assured that they can rely on that member even when they are not physically present. Managers should make sure that there is a group messaging channel available no matter where the employees are located.
All Or Nothing
If you or the employer is not open to a completely remote-based arrangement, why not start with baby steps? If the employees ask, and they have the means, try allowing them to work at home for one day a week as a trial to see how it goes. Many successful, full-time remote workers have started out this way. Managers get a chance to make sure that it works and build trust with their teams, and employees can feel more confident that they have the skills and motivation to make it work.
Ellie Coverdale shares her tips about digital marketing in her writing at Australianhelp.com and Boomessays.com. Her passion is in helping businesses to boost conversions and create exciting new websites that will appeal to their audience. At PaperFellows.com she teaches writing in her free time.