The ability for employees to work remotely has triggered significant workplace change. Some jobs are more suited to remote working than others – recruiters, engineers and writers, for example, are just some of the people finding it easy to work remotely. However, in some cases, entire business functions, such as call centres, are run with people working remotely, sometimes on the other side of the world.
More people are working remotely now than ever before. One 2019 Australia study reported that 68% of Australian employers allowed remote work – and that trend is likely to continue.
If it’s happening in your workplace, here’s how to empower your remote employees.
Check Your IT Infrastructure
First things first. You can’t establish a permanent remote work policy if you don’t have the infrastructure to support it:
- Check what you have before you do anything else.
- Know your internet bandwidth and storage capacity.
- Ensure your technology is fast and secure.
If you already operate in the cloud, employees will find it easy to work via the web. If you don’t, web tools and applications can still make it possible to access email and documents, and collaborate with colleagues.
Put a Policy in Place
Just as you have workplace policies in place to cover things such as leave entitlements and workplace health and safety, you need a policy to cover employees working remotely. When preparing the policy, consider who will be eligible, how it will happen, any upper limits on the number of staff who can work remotely at any one time, and any protocols or approvals that are required. Having a policy in place will help employees to understand what’s expected of them.
Invest in it
It’s not enough to simply write the policy and advise staff that they can work remotely. It’s important that you provide your workforce with the proper tools they need to work efficiently. In some cases, a bring-your-own-device approach is implemented. In others, the company provides the laptops, tablets, headsets and more. Whatever you choose you will need to invest the right high-speed internet
connection and security software.
Plan for the Unexpected
It’s important to have a crisis plan in place to deal with the unexpected problems such as COVID-19 that can arise in any business. Is there a way to get in touch with all staff if you need to, including those working from home? Can you connect everyone at once? An internal communications system or Skype for Business or Zoom might be a good option. Whatever your solution, have the system installed and ready to go so it’s available in the event of a crisis.
Be Clear About Your Expectations
While not every role is suited to working remotely, neither is every employee. Be clear about your expectations for those who are given the opportunity to work remotely. Set performance metrics. Keep in touch and be aware of outputs. Ensure employees are being productive. There are many studies that suggest employees who work from home are actually more productive.
If you need any assistance with your remote working strategy or any advice around remote working please call us on 1300 478 738 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.