Many businesses had their eyes opened to the benefits of remote working over the past year. So much so, there are countless businesses that have now made it a permanent move and ditched the office altogether.
Research shows that remote workers are happier and more productive, they report lower stress levels, and their carbon footprint is reduced thanks to the end of the daily commute to the office. However, there are still some business owners that have their reservations – and understandably so. Switching to remote working on a permanent basis is a big move, especially as we’ve all followed the traditional ‘9-5 in the office’ model of work for so long.
So we decided to address some of those concerns, answer the most common questions, and offer workable solutions that could make all the difference to your business and to your team.
1. How do I ensure the lines between home and work don’t become blurred?
Working at a kitchen table with the kids running wild in the background is not conducive to a productive day of work. This is why having a dedicated workspace is so important – not only does it help to get you into the right frame of mind for work, it also helps to set boundaries for the rest of the family, so they know when you shouldn’t be interrupted.
Having a well-appointed separate office space that you can close the door to when you need to concentrate, and equally close behind you when you need to mentally ‘log off’ at the end of the day, can make all the difference to your work / life balance. The key is to make it a comfortable, relaxed, and inspiring place to work.
For ideas on how to kit out your home office, head to www.remoteeasy.co.uk.
2. Will I end up working over and above my contracted hours?
In France, the right to disconnect after hours has been protected by law for four years. And this year, Ireland brought in a code of practice encouraging employers to add footers and pop-up messages to remind employees that there is no requirement to reply to emails out of hours. More needs to be done here in Scotland, but we can lead by example.
Overworking is completely counter-productive. ‘Burn-out’ from never fully switching off from work can have a huge effect on employees’ mental health so it’s essential you cultivate a workplace culture in which everyone is encouraged to log off at a particular time. You can do this by asking everyone to turn off notifications after hours and set reminders so that everyone takes full advantage of the break times they are entitled to.
3. How will I stay in contact with my colleagues if we’re no longer sharing an office?
It has never been easier to chat and collaborate with colleagues, thanks to Microsoft Teams. For the times you just need a quick yes / no answer, you can make use of the instant messaging chat. And for the times you need to facilitate a more in-depth discussion, you can video call and share files and documents such as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.
You can find out more about how Microsoft Teams is changing the way we work HERE.
4. What if I miss the social side to work?
The switch to remote working doesn’t necessarily have to mean you never see your colleagues face-to-face again! In fact, some companies are making more of an effort to invest in the social side of things to maintain those connections. For example, organising Friday cocktails via video during Lockdown, and planning meet-ups, team building days, and retreats once restrictions allows.
By ditching the office they’re being forced to get creative and think outside the box – what was once a meeting in the boardroom is now an invigorating walk in the park, an inspiring afternoon adventuring in the woods, or an evening barbeque at the beach. These make for a much more memorable and inspiring experience for all!
5. What if the team become distracted and less productive?
The key here is to trust your colleagues and lead by example. Be responsive, be transparent, and provide updates on what you’re working on and what you’ve achieved. Check in with each other regularly and set goals. You’ll soon find the team flourishes in this new-found freedom.
If you’re ready to make a permanent switch to remote working but you need help managing the logistics of it all, speak to our Project Management experts. Our fully qualified PRINCE2 Practitioners can plan and manage the whole process, enabling you to focus on your business goals. To find out more, call 0345 450 8400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.