Remote working – planning for the future

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An article by Paul Mc, MIA

Like so many of us in the industry, I am trying to get used to managing business from a small room in my home! I suspect many of us are currently reflecting on the pros and cons of working from home and even thinking about what our working life might look like when all this is over. Questions like:

“Do we actually need an office going forward?” and

“How much travel do I really need to do in the future?”

The MIA are members of the Federation of Small Businesses and they have been running a number of timely webinars and I took the opportunity to watch one specifically on the subject of:

“Managing a remote team for the first time”

The webinar was presented by Cisco Webex (Webex.com run an integrated platform for remote working teams and management)

Anyway, this company has a huge number of employees who have been working remotely for many years and the company was simply sharing tips and thoughts for any company planning to do this “properly” after the virus is over. I made a number of notes and hope they will be of use to any of you looking to adopt more of this way of working going forward.

Principles to consider:

  • Any strategy MUST start with the requirements and needs of the employees you want to empower (don’t start with the business stuff!)
  • Security and safeguarding of data is paramount for the business AND the employees
  • Identify a working platform that covers all bases such as:
    – Meetings
    – Calls
    – Messaging
    – 1-2-1
    – File transfer
    – White boarding/ideas creation
  • Recognise employees may come from 4 different generations, all with different levels of comfort in the digital age!
  • Set ground rules about working environment (equipment, dress code, health and safety etc.)
  • Establish best working time “rhythms” at individual staff level (times of day, family commitments, ideal times for work communications, “downtime” catch ups for coffee etc.)
  • Focus on outcomes rather than hours worked
  • Trust and accountability must go hand in hand as you create more remote workers
  • Staff and the Boss need to agree expectations of EACH OTHER
  • There is a greater need to OVERTLY praise work well done, as the ongoing ad hoc praise that would normally happen in the office is not possible
  • Interesting fact, 53% of millennials would rather work 2-3 days from home than have a 10% pay rise!

Other things to consider with remote systems:

  • Who has your data?
  • How long do they keep it for?
  • How do they use it?
  • Do you have deletion control of data AT YOUR END?
  • How reliable is your band width with your provider
  • Remembers that the system is not just for you and the team, but also potentially for paying customers…..

Anyway, hopefully some food for thought for the Brave New World!