Five steps to make remote working a success
In what is a surreal and unprecedented time for us all, we find ourselves having to adapt, at least temporarily, to a different way of life. For many, that also means swapping an office based role to work at home.
In normal circumstances, remote working brings huge benefits to a business. It cuts out long commutes, saves time and money and, by giving people the chance to personalise the way they blend work and life, has an overwhelmingly positive effect on enthusiasm and loyalty. But these are anything but normal circumstances.
Right now, people are being asked to work from home rather than requesting it. For people already working in a business that has a model embracing technology and staff autonomy, this won’t be a daunting transition but, for the majority, it poses a whole new raft of challenges.
Working at home has a different set of distractions, so you need to know how to stay focused, be disciplined, remain productive and repeatedly complete your daily tasks without constant instruction. And then do this over and over again.
One of the most important skills of any successful remote worker is the ability to communicate. To counter the lack of personal interaction with colleagues, you have to be an expert at reaching out on email and the telephone. You need to know how to understand and share important pieces of information in a clear and concise way, to avoid any unnecessary confusion.
One of the main benefits of working remotely is that you can set your own schedule. To an employer, this means they must be able to trust you to manage your own time, prioritise, be organised, understand the importance of each task, and make sure you are always available to speak to others when they need to cooperate. Try to agree a set of core hours and a regular opportunity to speak with colleagues each day, as this will help you to build a structured way of working from the start.
Generally speaking, there are two types of remote worker. The first follows instructions to the letter and comes back with question after question whenever they are unsure about anything. More preferable, however, is someone who understands the big picture and knows the most important thing is to get the job done. You should try to be this person and, where possible, have the aptitude to use your initiative, overcome challenges and do whatever it takes to complete a project on time.
Spending most of your time alone, on a laptop, tablet or phone, as a remote worker you have to be able to understand technology. You need to know how key pieces of software work and be able to fix small IT problems without pulling constantly on the resources of your technical support team. Whether you use HeySpace, Microsoft Teams, Google, or Slack, to keep in touch with your colleagues, make sure you understand how to set up and use the right applications.
To create a successful home working environment, you need to be prepared for the reality of operating in a different way. There is a common misconception that working from home is less productive than being office based but, while there’s always a risk that people will abuse the system, if you get it right, it has the potential to lead to very high returns for everyone concerned.
Finally, don’t forget to take a break, Days can at home can disappear in a flash so it is important to move about, stretch or do some exercise. Grab some fresh air, even if it is just in the garden.