Remote working is becoming a popular working option for many people. With most of our work involving computers and access to the internet, it is not surprising that within the next 10 years around 60% of office based employees will be working from home.[i]
Here are my top 10 tips on getting remote working right:
- Establish working hours –You don’t have to stick to 9am-5pm. You could do 7am-3pm or 8am-4pm. Remote working gives you extra flexibility with your working hours. Try to find something that fits both you and your employer.
- Communication- There are numerous ways to communicate long distance e.g. telephone, e-mail and skype. Re-assure your employer that you are contactable during work hours.
- Plan your working day –Remote working relies on trust and your employer needs to know what you are doing and see the results of your work. Plan your day and put your activities in your online calendar. Work out a system, they may wish to have access to your calendar, or want a 30 minute call at the beginning and end of the day. Find out from them, how you can re-assure them that remote working can work.
- Dedicated space –You need a quiet corner or room where you will not be disturbed. If your house is occupied during the day, establish firm rules about your working day. Only a real emergency is a good enough reason to be disturbed!
- Connectivity – If your telephone line or internet service is patchy, get it fixed or upgraded. The same goes for your laptop/computer. You need to have reliable equipment that works.
- Employer investment in software – There is software designed to allow people to share their work wherever they are. Dropbox, One Drive and Sugarsync are good for storing documents for multi user access, Trello and Basecamp helps you map out a project responsibilities. Get researching to find what would work for you.
- IT Support –Get to know your IT department. Have their number on speed dial in case of any emergencies. If you will be taking part in conference telephone meetings and skype meetings learn how to set these up/dial in.
- Go into the office – You should always go into the office regularly. This will reduce isolation from your other work colleagues and office events. Establish a minimum e.g. 1 day a week or attend all fortnightly team meetings etc. Decide what works for you and your employer.
- Look after yourself – Make sure you take regular breaks throughout the day. Go and make yourself a cup of tea, drink water, stretch your legs. Don’t be tempted to sit in front of the computer all day!
- Enjoy it! – Remote working can make such a difference to people’s lives as it opens up more possibilities in their personal lives. It is of great benefit to employers too as happier employees means more productivity and better retention rates.
Michelle Gyimah has many years experience of working with businesses on a range of HR and Equalities issues. Equality Pays was set up to specifically help small businesses with HR training, employee disputes and tribunal problems.