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article imageFive tips for getting the most out of remote working

By Tim Sandle     Apr 3, 2018 in Business
Remote working is becoming more common with many businesses, aided by new technologies and it is a style of working that is attractive to many millennials. A business analyst discusses how to manage remote working employees.
Remote working offers benefits to employees and to employers. Employees don’t need to commute as often and they can practice the work-life-balance better. For employers, less office space is required. The tendency towards remote working has been driven by the greater availability of super fast broadband or easy-to-access Wi-Fi spots outside of the home. Moreover, the popularity of remote working as a benefit has gained significant traction over recent years, with millennials prioritising this mode of working for a more balanced lifestyle.
Taking the U.K. as an example, statistics issued by the U.K. government, and analysed by the website Small Business, suggest that 4.2 million people regularly work from home. The majority of these employees are divided between agriculture, information and communication or construction. In addition, there are signs that industries are increasingly allowing their staff to work from home, such as advertising, marketing, financial services and so on.
How can employers best manage staff who work remotely, especially in ensuring that productivity remains high? Jan Makela, who is an executive coach, has provided five tips in an article for Laboratory Manager magazine. These tips are:
Set Clear Expectations
If employers are concerned that remote working employees won’t be as productive the advice is to set clear expectations. Here Makela advises: “Properly define what success looks like in the operational context of your organization…Be sure that you and your employee have a shared vision.”
This can be achieved with goal setting and placing work milestones, so that tasks can be defined and delivered to plan.
Relationships Matter
The second tip is for managers of remote working staff to ensure that they keep in regular contact with their employees. This is because people like social interaction and keeping in touch helps the remote working employee to feel valued and this, in turn, aids productivity. Tools like instant messaging can help improve communication, as can regular phone calls.
Be Available
It is important for managers to schedule times in the day when they can be available to speak with remote employees. It’s important for managers to remember that remote employees cannot just pop in or pass by and see if the manager is free to discuss a point. This can be aided by scheduling slows in calendars.
Makela notes that good communication, which takes effort, can help keep productivity high. This allows the remote working employee to regularly check on the task and to ask questions. Since communication will not be face-to-face, unless there are regular video calls, communication needs to be particularly clear since the ‘social cues’ that make up a great deal of human interaction, will not be there to be interpreted.
Connection to the Organization
It is important to reinforce messages to the remote employee about how the company is operating, since the employee will be some distance away. Yet engaging with the company is important and this is linked to motivation and feeling part of a larger whole.
More about remote working, flexible working, home working, Employment, Employee
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