Remote Working: Coronavirus or just 2020?

11th March 2020

Due to recent global health concerns, companies all over the world are implementing work from home and remote working policies.

It is becoming increasingly likely that London's office-based workforce may be working from home as of next week. It got us thinking - how do I move my business from an office-based business to lean-mean remote machine?

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It’s important to first identify the difference between working from home and remote working before establishing which model you’re going to implement.

Working-from-home (WFH) or telecommuting as some call it, is a process where you decide you’re not going into the office because you don’t want to be distracted by office antics and frankly, you don’t like the coffee beans on offer.

WFH is when you want a change of scenery from the office and elect to spend your working hours from your kitchen table or coffee shop of choice (with better coffee beans).

Ultimately, your work doesn’t change nor does the structure of your day. Sure, you might work in your pyjamas for the first half of the day or take an earlier lunch but, you still have the framework and structure of your office. The people who work in the office adjust their work given your absence and ensure you’re kept up to speed with the goings-on.

WFH has proven positive impacts; it has shown an increase in employee productivity as well as instilling a sense of trust in employees which can result in more accountability and output.  

Remote working is fundamentally different.

When you’re a remote worker you don’t have an office to take a break from. You must build your own office, work environment and culture. Remote working requires a different set of abilities, skills and capabilities outside of your “day job”. It requires self-discipline, self-motivation and self-focus. Ultimately a lot of self! Because you don’t have an office to fall back on.

You don’t have regular facetime with your colleagues so you have to be proactive with your communication. Again, remote working has its positives; it allows you to access a great talent pool with no geographical boundaries while keeping overhead costs at an all-time low.

Then there’s the negatives which unfortunately exist in both situations but if handled correctly can be addressed and sorted with relative ease.

Technology is your friend, treat it as such. In recent years there has been an outburst of online chat tools, video platforms and metric monitors. These products can be used to your advantage when managing a remote workforce. 

Tracking productivity of your remote teams is something to be mindful of; without suffocating your WFH staff with update calls/messages every 5 minutes it is important to keep track of their work. There is a host of software out there that can aid this process without you becoming an overbearing micro manager. Nobody wants that. 

It’s also important to create open channels of communication to your teams. Remote workers can sometimes feel left out of the company circle because let’s face it, they’re literally never there.

They can’t build relationships with colleagues over a lunch break or have cake at their desk on their birthday and these things are important. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible to instil a culture in your remote teams, it just means you need to be conscious of it and work on it like any good relationship.

Culture isn't created, it’s grown.

Even if you’re a traditional die-hard nine to five office worker you’re going to have to wise up to this flexi-working life style. Whether it’s driven by a global health epidemic or not doesn't change the fact that by the end of 2020, half of the UK workforce will be working remotely.

Our top tips for navigating WFT or Remote Working business?

  • Look at your business and your employees to assess if there are opportunities to offer more flexibility
  • Be prepared to invest in new technology that will create better offsite communication and track productivity
  • Set standards and expectations of people - it's easier to do this ahead of time rather than addressing a productivity issue after the fact
  • Acknowledge it might not work perfectly first time!

Hinterview as a product, breaks down geographical boundaries and enhances communication regardless of location through video. Hinterview allows you to meet and screen your candidates online saving time, money and currently, the cancellation of meetings!

Since inception, Hinterview has implemented a WFH stragey. Through the use of different  software tools, we successfully run a buisness across 5 locations, 4 timezones and 32 staff! Some of our staff are fully remotely while others chose to work a day or to from home each week. 

With so much infastructure available to support remote teams, not to mention the proven benefits to employees, it's a wonder it took a health crisis to force companies into considering a more flexible work style.

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