With more employees working remotely than ever before, this article discusses the steps required to maintain efficiency and safety.
From Financial Services to Housing Associations, remote working is common in many sectors. More employees than ever before now work from home or offsite as lone workers. According to data from the ONS (Office for National Statistics), the number of UK workers who have moved into remote-working has increased by nearly a quarter of a million over a decade. Thanks to changing attitudes and ever-improving network capabilities, this number is expected to continue its upward trajectory over the next 3 years, with half the UK workforce expected to be working remotely by 2020.
Working offsite requires respect on both ends. Flexible managers should be able to trust their employees to work hard, and workers need to hold themselves accountable to do so. However, this freedom can cause some workers to develop poor behaviours including a lapse in safety when working. While there are many complications with remote working, this doesn’t mean you need to put an end to it. Here’s how to get the best of both worlds.
1. Create a strong company culture
This is important for all business’ regardless of size. When employees get the chance to work from home or remotely, they often neglect this concept. Be sure to invite them to meetings and events and reward them like you do other team members.
2. Help them stay motivated
Remote employees may work in the same environment where they relax, sleep or spend their free time. They will likely struggle to stay motivated and focused. They are also more vulnerable to various distractions such as children, pets, TVs and other home life matters.
3. Help them create a live schedule
Since you’re not seeing your employees every day, it’s hard to stay updated on their whereabouts and workload.
Remote workers should have a living schedule where they can set meeting reminders and updates. It will make it easier for them to stay abreast of what they are doing and give you some exposure to their daily workload.
There are many tools and apps that keep track of moving parts of assignments and meetings. Google Calendar is a great free tool that allows you to see what the remote workers are doing each day.
4. Maintain communication
Maintaining a channel of communication within the team is important for not only security & wellbeing purposes but also for productivity and a feeling of inclusiveness.
Whilst messenger platforms such as Slack can keep you in the loop with the latest developments from the office, a lone worker solution with a time at risk feature is a vital tool for ensuring your employees constantly touch base to confirm there are no problems.
5. Don't underestimate security risks
Whilst it's natural to feel secure whilst working from your own home, you could potentially face higher risks than when working from an office.
Treat remote workers in the same bracket as lone workers. One way to protect them is to issue them with a lone worker app and/or device. The usage of this solution should be a part of any policies moving forward to ensure safety for both employees and company data.
Allowing remote working in your organisation might have its complications and downsides. Nevertheless, it can be hugely beneficial to both an organisation its employees when executed properly. If you need any help in protecting your remote workers, you can read more about our solutions here.