IMPLEMENTING REMOTE WORKING - POINTS TO CONSIDER

Remote working is a matter of course for some companies and a matter of debate for others. With ever-changing global weather patterns and the threat of pandemics, the likelihood of an increase in companies looking to offer their employees remote working is becoming more probable.

So, what are some of the points which companies need to consider when implementing remote working for their employees?

Identify what works for your company: If the thought of your whole company working from home fills you with uncertainty, never fear, there are a lot of ways to make it work for your business. Remote working isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Identify your business needs in terms of what output is required from your employees on specific projects or workloads, as well as the needs of your team as remote working won’t appeal or work for everyone. Some individuals thrive within a busy team environment, while others need to be workplace-based if they are in a more hands-on role. Once you have a clear understanding of these needs, you can work on your remote working strategy and make it work for your business.

Have a robust remote working policy: Business owners are frequently concerned remote workers will not deliver the same level of productivity as they would in the office, which is why it is essential you have a clear policy in place which sets out the expectations of each employee as well as your obligations as an employer. Consider including specific positions which are eligible for remote working, as well as establishing a work schedule which remote workers must adhere to – this can be strictly defined (e.g. 9am – 5pm Monday-Friday) or more flexible (e.g. 35 hours per week any times between 7am – 7pm Monday-Friday). Remote workers should naturally be required to meet the same deadlines and performance requirements as any other member of the team.

Continuously revise your security policy: Remote working does create a number of security risks, but just like other policies such as “Bring Your Own Device”, most of these risks can be mitigated with the right security policy in place. The vast majority of companies encrypt portable devices and ensure only secure internet connections are used; such policies need to be looked at frequently. The main priority here is to ensure data and information remains secure outside your business premises and companies have a clear protocol in place should employees believe any information has been compromised.

Make sure their equipment and workplace are fit for purpose: If you implement remote working without making sure the correct hardware and software is available to your employees, it could have a detrimental effect to your business and ultimately the person’s output. You should ensure laptops or desktops which are being used are suitable for the person to work effectively. Companies must also keep in mind instances where long term remote working is agreed, as employers have a duty of care to carry out necessary risk assessments to ensure health and safety matters are considered effectively.

Measure output, not input: One of the biggest mental shifts for managers to overcome with remote working is to get past the idea that a ‘good employee’ is someone who turns up early for work, dressed smartly, and types away at their computer all day. Obviously, this isn’t something you can see when your employees are working remotely, so you will need to agree on a metric outside of “hours spent” to evaluate if this method of working is working!

Finally, It doesn’t have to be forever: Remote working can always be offered as a perk if the employee has been with the company for a certain length of time or perhaps initiated on a trial basis. This typically gives you scope to assess and amend the set-up as necessary.

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