Almost a third (3.5 million) of all employed Australians regularly work from home, (Australian Bereau of Statistics, August 2016) this creates one of the challenges for companies in how to manage teams that either work remotely or are based in different locations to make sure they are as productive and motivated as possible.
Here at Scope Logic our diverse team regularly works on site at different locations and interstate within Australia, this is effectively managed through the following strategies:
Be clear on objectives
Having a clear understanding on what you would like to achieve within your company is essential before you start creating or building on your existing remote, mobile or global working culture.
Successful remote working needs advocates and support at all levels and departments. The C-level decision makers, Human Resources, Facilities Management and IT, are essential in working together to deliver successful remote working conditions.
The cultural and financial goals that you would like to achieve should be clear and concise, the team should be aware of how this is measured and milestones should be acknowledged and congratulated along the way so a constant and updated understanding is established.
Know what you need out of your technology, by having a clear vision of the technology you will need to successfully collaborate remotely you will increase your ability to work efficiently. Speak to your technology provider and establish the best solution for you.
Devise a company-wide policy
It is a wide-spread worry among people when working remotely that their office-based colleagues will think they are not working as hard as them, this along with the potential extended hours they may have to work and the potential difficulty they may have when building relationships with colleagues are among the top worries of employees working remotely.
By creating a clear company wide policy in regards to working remotely these worries would be reduced and a greater understanding would occur among all employees. With the involvement of HR assistance and guidance on how to manage and the expectations of employees that are working remotely.
When devising the company policy take into consideration these questions: What is expected of remote workers or workers in different locations around the state/country/world? How will you present the policy and training? How will you establish accountability for remote workers or those not necessarily based where their line manager is?
Give your teams the tools to do the job
IT services and Facilities Management will need to ensure that your flexible, off-site staff and those travelling for business have the equipment and software they need to be potentially even more productive than they would be in the office. Strong internet and WiFi connection and access to conferencing software and audio/voice tools is essential in maintaining an efficient working environment. They will also need secure access to company files, this can be established via a Virtual Private Network (VPN), and access to collaborative project management tools.
All staff that are entering into a remote working agreement will need to be trained correctly to minimise issues. IT and HR will have to team up to train staff members who will be working flexibly as well as office based staff who will be communicating with them via conference and collaborative tools. Collaborative tools have developed intuitively to enable us to share content wirelessly from their laptop, tablet or mobile phone using mirroring technology, this enables all participants, regardless of location, to feel as though they are in the same room.
By building flexible and remote working arrangements into staff appraisals, key performance indicators can be identified to see if the staff member is working to their full potential whilst working remotely.
Staff should be regularly contacted to see how they are going, any difficulties they are facing and anything they think they may need to improve their situation. New technologies should be regularly looked into to establish if new ways of collaborative working could be utilised within your organisation.
By creating a collaborative and trust-based culture, flexible working and working with off-site teams or partners can become a beneficial habit. While there will be times when it’s beneficial for staff to all be in the same office, a solid flexible working culture can help a company retain talent.