I’ve spent the last five years working remotely, mostly as a freelancer, but occasionally in-house too. I’ve seen how numerous companies operate with just one or two remote workers in their team, and how others are mostly fully remote. They all have one thing in common for success, and it’s something that doesn’t cost a penny. In fact, if you do it well, it’ll save you money. Lots of it.
First off, let’s look at the reasons for remote working. There’s one obvious one staring us in the face and that’s the pandemic we’re in. Asking your staff to work from your office only risks exposing them to the virus, which is awful and unsafe for them, and risks you being several members of staff down during their recovery. Besides that though? Life. It’s the reason we all work. We want to have a nice one. A balanced one, even. One which lets us spend time with our families and earn enough money and not experience too much stress.
So, what causes stress? Commutes. Being out of the door at a certain time every morning. Strapping reluctant toddlers into car seats while they try to starfish their way out of them. Picking them up again and watching the clock tick beyond the 6pm pick up time while you sit in traffic, clocking a fine of £1 a minute and knowing looks from the nursery staff, now late to pick up their own kids.
It’s not just parents who benefit from remote working though. Adding two hours of free time to anyone’s day by removing their commute can bring untold payoffs. Less commuting means saved transport costs, meaning more disposable income, meaning more relaxed staff, meaning better productivity at work. It all adds up.
When it comes down to the work day, practically, most businesses have no excuses not to invite remote working. Email, Zoom, and team chat platforms like Slack and Discourse keep employees connected all day long if necessary (but generally leaving them to get on with it is a better idea).
Technology isn’t it, though. That’s just what makes it easy. What makes it successful is trust. Free, simple, trust. Do not check in on your team. Do not ask them to file a timesheet. Do not ask them to submit a list of their actions each day. Let them bloody well get on with it, and enjoy the rewards of a team that feels trusted and therefore motivated to work for a company they know they’re valued at. Skip this essential step and you’ll build resentment and see productivity take a hit, often resulting in a higher staff turnover.
People want to do a good job. That’s why they applied for their role in the first place. You gave them that job because you believed that they could do it. Remember that, and succeed.
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