remote working support
a return to the status quo is unlikely
Remote working came as a sudden, knee-jerk reaction to Covid lockdown, and was compulsory for all.
You had no time to plan for the introduction of remote working; you may only now be thinking about how to unpick the realities of working from home and what it has meant for your staff and managers.
It is time to start looking at how you can make remote and office-based working work in tandem; and how to embrace the flexible working that many people now really want.
Our team can save you time and energy by providing expert understanding of remote working and the psychological impact on teams. We have up-to-date knowledge on the latest research and how it can be applied to benefit organisations.
Remote Working Advantages
There are a good number of advantages to remote working. Members of the workforce, especially more senior roles and those with caring responsibilities, often express a desire for
a better work/life balance
Technology made remote working possible during lockdown. Many more businesses would have struggled or failed without it. And we may need to find ways to make home working successful for more people.
The ascent of Zoom and, more recently, MS Teams demonstrate well-designed technology can help greatly with communication. Collaborative whiteboard tools, such as Miro, and better quality integration between software and our devices all aid the ability of forward-looking teams to thrive remotely.
Longterm savings are possible as the need for office space reduces.
Businesses have an opportunity to reassess the needs of their workforce and plan a different or reduced use of office space.
Good planning could see a positive impact on estates and management across a longer time frame when leases and construction plans are reconsidered.
Remote Working Disadvantages
We need to consider that there are also some potential downsides and associated risks to be aware of, which are of particular importance now due to the potential length of time that social distancing protocols may be in place.
Studies have shown that those who work virtually can suffer through a lack of boundary setting. Too much flexibility without discipline over routine can merge their work and personal life together. Without clear boundaries, people do not benefit from switching off at the end of a busy day. That doesn't necessarily mean returning to the office is the answer. Assessment is needed to understand the situation better.
Overuse of technology can lead people into the “always on” trap. Wellbeing and personal relationships can suffer. People used to leaving the office to change gears mentally may not be able to delineate so clearly when their office is in the bedroom.
Temporary workspaces set up to help people get back to work are often far from ideal. The physical workspace set-up may not support an individual ergonomically. Some experts are concerned about a potential explosion of neck/shoulder/back complaints in due course.
While your newsfeed may be full of positive posts, feedback suggests our new way of working is not ideal for everyone.
One major downside is the loss of the informal, fun aspects of being physically together: the non-verbal cues like gestures and eye contact. Spontaneous ‘water cooler’ moments are difficult to replicate online. Connections generally are more limited in scope. For new recruits, establishing solid, trusting relationships may take longer and require a different approach.
These little moments add up to the powerful ‘glue’ that bonds a team together and cements culture.
Managing Remote Workers
For line managers, managing team members that are constantly dispersed presents an additional challenge.
Even with technology, it is more difficult to check in with people regularly and spontaneously, and more difficult to see if people are struggling, frustrated, or becoming ineffective, which may impact client relations and service delivery.
In addition, sharing knowledge and coaching team members to ensure competence, especially juniors or new recruits, may be a challenge.
Making Remote Working Work
Babel Projects offers a comprehensive service so you can make the most of remote working.
We can help you maximise remote working benefits and reduce the risks of working from home. We can do this by:
Gathering feedback on how staff and line managers are coping, and what specific challenges and issues they may face
Developing a programme to support staff and managers
Running awareness and skills training (online webinars and/or face to face when the climate allows)
Creating bespoke resources and tailored tool kits for your teams
Evaluating the success
As with all our services, the above represents an illustration of what we can offer, all projects are co-created with our clients to ensure a tailored approach for each individual service.