One of the biggest reasons cited as to why a company feels that they cannot offer remote working arrangements is trust. Managing remotely does away once and for all with micro-management, challenging leaders to think differently about monitoring performance, and some managers may find this intimidating and prefer to measure on presenteeism over output. If your organisation is considering a remote or flexible working policy, it is important to think about providing training to management teams so they can effectively adjust.
There is also a perception that an unsupervised employee may ‘shirk’ their responsibilities, do less work, or develop bad working practices. However, a 2018 study by FlexJobs showed that 65% of workers actually believe that they are more productive when working from home, with those workers citing fewer distractions and interruptions from colleagues, fewer office politics, and less stress from commuting as their main reasons for this.
Up to 90% of workplace learning happens organically through workplace experiences and social interactions. A shift to remote working could have a significant impact on this dynamic. One way of combating this is through formal mentoring programs. Mentoring has been proved to increase employee engagement through informal learning and development, with mentees 5 times for likely to receive a promotion, and mentors themselves 6 times more likely to receive a promotion.
Mentoring also significantly impacts other challenging areas of remote working, such as employee wellbeing, company culture, and diversity and inclusion.
Harvard Business Review highlights that there are simple techniques that can be applied to remote workers that put your faith in employees whilst still allowing managers to have oversight of productivity and output:
Establish daily check ins.
Utilise tech for communications.
Give clear expectations.
Be sure to set clear boundaries for your remote team. It can be easy when working remotely to put in too many extra hours, but this is likely to have a negative effect on the mental wellbeing and productivity of your employees. “Keep these boundaries in place or else you won’t do either well; you won’t work well, and you won’t rest well. Working too hard could end up being counter-productive in the long run,” author and mental-health advocate Andy Salkeld advised.
Technology is enabling instantaneous change, and we are lucky enough to have a plethora of technologies at our disposal to help aid us work remotely during the pandemic, and after. A survey conducted by software company Asana found that 62% of full-time workers have increased their use of collaboration tools, 19% of which have never used them before. The COVID-19 pandemic caused businesses across the globe to reconsider the way they operate, forcing everyone from agile start-ups to international corporations to innovate, fast.
Within the Whitepaper, we examined how Slack utilised its own software to enable them to become a 100% remote workforce.
Maximising workflows with integrations and emojis is one of the many huge advantages that remote working technologies have given us, but there’s a dark side to this new obsession.
The emergence of app or mobile optimised versions of your favourite desktop software was intended to increase productivity and enable flexible working patterns. You no longer need be at a desk to be able to work. However, well-intentioned though these apps are,the ‘always on’ culturethat it fosters is feeding into a new pandemic – mental wellbeing. Research commissioned by LinkedIn, in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, found that blurred boundaries and the pressure to be available means people working from home are putting in 28 extra hours a month, with 86% of respondents reporting that remote working has had a negative impact on their mental health.
A balance must be established between using technology to improve and innovate, without exposing our workforce to unnecessary stresses on our physical and mental health, for organisations to truly thrive.
For more in-depth insights into how technology can enable change and help remote manage performance, download a free copy of The Future of Work 2020 here.