Commuting into the office 5 days a week feels old hat, while the option of being able to work from home feels like it has shifted from an occasional luxury to most companies now offering some form of hybrid or flexible working, or the option to work entirely remotely.
Remote working went from a necessity when the government issued the ‘stay home’ order at the start of the pandemic, to the new normal post covid. The world of work looks vastly different now than it did a few years ago and companies are having to update and adapt the way they do things to keep up. Working from home may have many benefits, but there are also quite a number of challenges that companies must overcome for it to be truly successful and effective.
Facilitating working from home is a big job
A happy workforce = a workforce that remains loyal, works hard, and produces great results, so keeping your teams happy is important. Don’t just assume they’re happy and satisfied because they’re working from home – remote working doesn’t automatically equate to happiness. There are many potential issues working from home may throw up that don’t exist in the office, so giving it some thought and trying to consider what these may be, putting specific policies and procedures in place, and taking time to talk to your staff about them and how your organisation is supporting them to work from home effectively, are key to the success of hybrid or remote working.
Updating policies to align with the new world
Most companies already had some form of working from home policy in place pre-covid, but an employee spending the odd day out of the office vs working from home the majority of the time are two very different scenarios. With most workers wanting to continue working remotely indefinitely, companies are having to find a way to ensure their culture, productivity, and communications don’t suffer.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at some of the challenges you’ll need to consider if you plan to continue offering remote working.
- Maintaining company culture – this can be a really tough job when employees aren’t in the office. A company’s culture is its personality and getting to know and enjoy someone’s personality is much harder from a distance.
- Onboarding new starters virtually – this is hard to get right. Making sure new employees are onboarded well, feel part of the company, integrate with the team, and generally know what they’re doing is very difficult from a distance. You will need to figure out a way to make this work that ensures your new employee feels completely taken care of, even at a distance.
- Streamlining tech – running too many tools and systems can be frustrating for employees and mean they could end up wasting a lot of time switching from programme to programme, for sometimes similar tasks.
- Ensuring communication and teamwork continue – talking to people is much easier, natural and automatic when they’re sitting at the next desk. Similarly, having discussions as a large team can be challenging online. Conversations and brainstorming sessions are much more fluid in person and can feel stilted and awkward on a video call.
- Sustaining (and ideally, improving) productivity – making sure people are staying on task and on track without them feeling like big brother is breathing down their neck is an art form in itself and will largely depend on the individual personality of your team as a whole.
- Staying social – we’ve spent years socialising with our colleagues and peers and shifting from daily contact and after work drinks to contact only via emails, messages, or the odd virtual happy hour is quite a change. Although they may have never imagined it before, your team might actually miss seeing each other in person.
Bring your team together with a learning platform they’ll be excited about
Your company’s learning and development could play a pivotal role in keeping your team motivated, social, and productive. We know that being part of a community is a sure-fire way to get your workforce excited, and allowing them to share what they’re learning and discovering with their colleagues is a fantastic way to drive engagement, instil a learning culture, and get your whole team buzzing.
Giving your employees the opportunity to learn about subjects that really interest them will not only allow them to take their L&D into their own hands, but may also uncover skills within your business you never knew you had, as well as helping to plug any skills gaps that you may or may not know existed.
Whether they’re new starters, or employees that have been with you for years, offering your team a learning platform that gives them access to relevant and useful content, and actually apply what they’re learning to their roles will not only motivate them, but will mean they are adding even more value to your organisation.
So, are you doing remote working right?
It’s relatively easy to offer remote or hybrid working, but actually being set up so that your employees can be productive, remain engaged and connected, and stay on track with projects, tasks, and company information, is no mean feat. But by considering the challenges you might face, deciding on tools and programmes that will help you stay organised and aligned, regularly checking in with your staff to make sure they are happy with the set up, and updating and adapting as and when you need to, you should find that your remote working arrangements reap benefits for your team and organisation.