How to embrace remote working

August 18, 2022

The pandemic has fundamentally shifted the way in which people work and has shown many organisations that hybrid working at scale is, in fact very achievable. After a challenging 18 months, most people’s lives are starting to resume to a sense of normality, and they can now focus on what the future may look like. Whilst this is a good thing for most organisations, what does this mean to your remote working strategy? Are employers now expected to revert to traditional ways of working or continue to embrace a hybrid workforce?

If your organisation promotes a hybrid working model, this blog gives you a couple of hard and fast rules that will help you manage your team effectively to ensure they remain engaged and productive whilst working at home.

1. Help them to plan their day

Firstly, encourage your team to set up a workspace which is quiet, free of clutter and comfortable. This can be a kitchen table, worktop or even a dressing table. Secondly, as simple as this may seem, encourage them to dress for the day. It’s important for staff to establish a morning routine which prepares them for the day ahead, almost like you would if you were going to an office.

Lastly, it is important to agree on their working hours and set out what breaks they need to take. Sometimes when working from home it is easy to lose track of time or be less productive over long periods. This can include time in the day that you would like them to focus on certain tasks. It is also good practice for them to communicate what they are working on with the rest of the team.

2. Familiarise yourself with video calls

Compared to working in a busy office, remote working over a long period could potentially have an impact on your team’s mindset and in turn productivity, due the lack of daily interaction. Make sure that you prioritise picking up the phone or video calling them daily to boost morale and deliver any important messages. This will enable you to answer any questions or concerns they may have, whilst providing clarity and assurance.

If you and your team have been remote working for a while, you will be familiar with video calls and their importance. However, if you’re new to this, the first time you video call can sometimes be a little awkward, but as human interaction is so important, try and interact as you normally would.

3. Set clear expectations

Share your proposed expectations with your team when they are working remotely. This will ensure that you gain their commitment in the initial stages and that you consider anything that may need to be factored into their day plans. It will also ensure that these expectations are implemented and adopted.

However, it is important that you remain in control and set clear and achievable timelines. Ask the team to confirm that they have understood these and actively monitor them each day.

4. Utilise the technology available

There are several technology platforms that will be available to you and your team. This may be the group chat on WhatsApp, email, phone and video call (teams/facetime/zoom). Establish early on what platforms your staff prefer and understand how you can use each of them differently to communicate key messages across the team.

5. Don’t micromanage

When your team are working from home, they will be granted a certain degree of freedom that they wouldn’t have whilst working in the office. Whilst this can be seen as a positive, it can also highlight loneliness and sometimes negativity. Make sure you reinforce the importance of teamwork and reassure staff on a regular basis that they are doing a great job and are a valued member of the team.

Schedule morning catch-ups to discuss their daily plans and speak with them later in the day to see how they are getting on. This will also give you the opportunity to check whether there is anything they might need your help with. Try and keep regular catch-ups informal to avoid it coming across as though you are trying to micromanage them!

To summarise, if your team is continuing to embrace a hybrid working pattern moving forward, it is important to remain as human as possible, and to stress the importance of communication and to reinforce that the team are very much part of something.

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