Written by Shareen Pennington
CSC Marketing Manager
The current pandemic COVID-19 and the dramatic changes in work and daily lifestyle, has opened the doors and opportunities to remote working. Now, with many employers and employees around the world, realising the capabilities, accessibilities and the personal conveniences of working at home, has raised many questions. Why not continue? Why did we not work remotely to begin with? And some of us, just cannot wait to get back into the office environment after lockdown.
It has always been a battle for organisations and managers to resist in remote working, but since the shift caused by the coronavirus, companies from big to small, right through to the Civil Service, are left with no choice but to put the health, safety and wellbeing of staff first.
Will this be permanent? This will depend on the factors around us that influence our daily lives. To what measures are put in place to keeping us safe on behalf of our workplace and by following the mandatory regulations from the Government. As leaders and managers we should always make sure of the following, if we are to consider remote working moving forward:
FINDING THE BALANCE
Too much remote working could lead to staff isolation, lack of collaboration and poor communication. It may even impact your professionalism manner, because you’re within the comfort of your own home. That is not to say that remote working has negative traits, but more of finding the balance to accommodate for those factors, such as more social engagement, discussions and encouragement of online meetings.
Working from home could lead to more effectiveness of day to day roles and responsibilities, a combination of boosted productivity could lead to better results and potentially surpass achievements.This will really work to the benefit of both the employee and the organisation. But referring back to the top tip, a balance is also needed.
TRUST & TRANSPARENCY
Trust and holding honest conversations with your colleagues are important, there needs to be an equal level of transparency in order to trust and rely on each other to get the work done, and what is produced, to the best level of standards, and whether working from home will impact that.
You may have seen recently on the news or in articles, the impact of social distancing and how our planet is healing! Remote working will continue to aid to a healthier world and will contribute to being environmentally friendly. This will reduce the consumption of carbon and energy; from less commuting, fuel usage, energy and office waste to name a few. Not to mention, saving some money on your monthly travelcard. Sustainability was a global topic of discussion before COVID-19, so why should we stop when we are finally making a difference.
REMOTE WORKING IS NOT FOR EVERYONE
This could vary on the behaviour, characteristics and level of distractions among other things. An employee with family, may have the distraction of kids, where as a staff member with a single status, may feel confined and lonely. It’s important as leaders and managers to understand our colleague’s wellbeing and personal matters (without diving into sensitive affairs) versus their performance and work duties.
A FLEXIBLE PLAN
From this understanding, you could design a flexible work pattern to suit the needs of the organisation and the individual alone. This could unlock potential and maximise their efforts more effectively and efficiently, through drive, motivation and productivity that suits both worlds of being at home and in office.
At the Civil Service College, we have a course on ‘Managing Remote Teams’ which offer insights and how to plan to manage with the realities of leading a remote team during these stressful times.