If you’re one of the lucky companies that has been able to successfully migrate to remote working during the Covid-19 crisis, there’s every chance you’re considering working from home forever.
For many big businesses, being forced into large-scale homeworking merely accelerated a business model which they had been working towards for years – for example many banks had already been closing high street branches, moving customer services online and offshoring staff roles.
Large accountancy and finance outfits like PwC and Schroders were amongst the first to announce permanent home working for most staff after Covid-19, while tech giants like Facebook and Google swiftly switched their campus models to ‘work from home forever’.
On the face of it, there are benefits for the business and the employee – reduced overheads and an agile working model on one side and increased flexibility and autonomy on the other.
But what will make remote working successful for most firms is a sophisticated culture as well as the latest tech. Read on to find out what you need to #WFH forever.
With so many project management, content management and staff communication tools available, implementing a disciplined and efficient structure in remote teams is more viable than ever.
But over-reliance on tools like Zoom, and procedures like time recording can mean that traditional communication like using the telephone or email suffers, time is wasted and management slips into micromanagement. This can be detrimental to delivery and damaging to morale, especially for staff at the production end who need to maximise the time they spend on creating products and services, and minimise admin time.
Furthermore, if your company culture was a little top-down and autocratic prior to Covid-19, be careful that control-freakery hasn’t caused it to become downright dictatorial. Business leaders must remember that working from home isn’t a privilege offered to employees – after all, you’re now running a part of your business from their homes for free. If you don’t allow them to work as flexibly as possible, the much-mooted benefits of freedom disappear and remote work becomes the worst of both worlds – all the frustrating parts of office life imposed on a busy home life. Rather than offering an amazing new life-work balance, controlling managers are implementing a kind of paid house arrest.
Deft home office design
Another important aspect of remote working employers must bear in mind is that they have a legal responsibility to ensure that the home office working environments of their staff are legally compliant, safe and don’t damage their health.
Therefore it’s important to consider investing in home office furniture from a firm which also conducts DSE and home working environment assessments, such as Homework. Compared with the long-term savings you’ll make on eliminating overheads on office rent and utilities, the comparative investment on an ergonomic, stylish and comfortable set up for your staff is minimal.
All said, once most of us are working from home, what will separate successful companies from those that fail might be the emotional intelligence of their management, rather than their cutting-edge tech provision.