Like it or not, many employees have had to transition to home working in the past year or so, and, for many, this won’t be a completely temporary measure either. Technology is moving on in leaps and bounds, and it will be this tech that will make the shift in how business is being doneachievable.
Lots of research has gone into remote working, and the results are showing how it can be beneficial to both employers and employees.
Home working can save businesses money by decreasing unscheduled absences, increasing productivity, and reducing real estate costs. As well as this, flexible working arrangements are seen as an attractive perk, aiding the recruitment of top talent, and improving staff retention.
A survey carried out by Owl Labs revealed that almost 70% of full-time US workers are working from home during the pandemic, and 77% of respondents said continuing to have the option to work from homeonce Covid-19 is under control would make them happier.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 forced huge sections of the workforce to stay at home, Forbes reports tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, have increased flexible working options along with other big companies such as PayPal, Slack, and Salesforce.
Freelancing platform Upwork and cryptocurrency broker Coinbase have both announced they are adopting a “remote first” model while still offering an option to go into the office full time or a mix of the two.
Transitioningto a business with remote working benefits isn’t quite as simple as telling staff not to come to the office, though. You need to take some considerations to avoid negative impacts to the business and the staff.
Without the right technology and support, employees simply won’t be able to carry out their jobs properly. Thought also needs to be given to ensuring workers don’t suffer from poorer working conditions, communication difficulties, and low morale.
Move to the Cloud
Switching to cloud-based Digital Asset Management (DAM) can have multiple benefits for a business overall, especially when talking about remote working.
Along with the fact the software can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection and from a variety of devices, such as a laptop, PC, or tablet, a major cloud solution comes with file storage. No matter where their location, employees can upload files and make them immediately accessible to colleagues in easy to search collections.
Tagging assets so they can be sorted using metadata also speeds up processes versus the old-style file naming and saving into specific folders method. It also means the most up to date files are being accessed. Just think of how many times someone used out of date information or old branding because they didn’t have the updated version saved to their PC, or time wasted searching for a document because no one remembers which folder it has been stored in. Now think of how that time could be put to better use.
The same applies to system updates that can be rolled out for all employees simultaneously with no need to access their hardware.
Security is another big factor to consider when it comes to employees working from home. Although many people believe keeping DAM on-site would be more secure, the truth is most cloud-based provisions offer much better security.
Connect with remote workers
Supporting workers with regular contact is essential for maintaining effective remote working.
Establishing a regular catch up, either one-to-one or as a team meeting, means employees know there is a set time to talk about any issues, discuss solutions and share what they’vebeen working on. It also means line managers can monitor work levels and troubleshoot any issues before they get out of control.
Improvements to video conferencing technology such as GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom Meetings make this easy to do.
In addition to this, making workers aware of communication channels they can reach out to for anything from IT issues to concerns about how their mental health is holding up will help workers feel less isolated when working from home.
Communication solutions will vary from business to business. Hence, consideration needs to go into which strategy will work best, such as a commitment to emailing out weekly targets and latest figures, a monthly video Q&A with the manager, or an instant messaging channel for specific groups to maintain an open conversation, such a Signal or Telegram.
Provide the right equipment
There’s a level of responsibility to ensure your employees are properly kitted out to perform the jobs you are asking them to.
This shouldn’t be assumed to be a huge financial burden either, as any expenditure will likely be offset by the savings made by not having the entire workforce in the office environment.
Ensuring your workers are fully equipped will also mean productivity won’t be affected by less than optimum working conditions, so it can be a false economy to cut corners here.
Rather than workers supplying a shopping list of wants, many employers are simply offering a fixed monthly payment to offset costs such as computer equipment, office furniture, broadband, cell phone, and power usage.
Support mental health
Research suggests people work longer hours at home than they would normally do in the office, so giving staff guidelines on protecting their mental health by setting a routine, including taking regular breaks, can avoid burn-out.
Offer sample schedules for workers to go by or suggest apps such as Daywise, which can help stop personal matters interrupting working hours and work from disturbing free time.
Let employees know they are appreciated by sending out surprise pick-me-ups such as an occasional free lunch or wellbeing packs and subsidizing or negotiating discounts for activities that promote wellness such as yoga classes or gym membership.
Done properly, the option to work from home at least some of the time is a massive plus for employees and can benefit the business. Thanks to some clever tech, it’s making that goal a completely achievable reality too.