How to Develop an Effective Remote Working Relationship

With technology so advanced in the twenty-first century, it is understandable that more and more businesses are looking at alternative ways to the traditional 9-5 office based scenario. In 2013, when Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s chief, brought the concept of remote working crashing down with an ultimatum to return to the office or lose your job, many believed this would signal the end of the remote worker. However, with Yahoo’s reputation on shaky grounds some four years later, fortunately this was not the case.

As continuing new software made it readily accessible for employees to log into their work system when miles away from their desk, more and more businesses began to reassess any initial misgivings, and looked at whether working remotely could be a viable solution for their own company and staff.

For the smaller companies who need the staff but perhaps have limited resources, remote working is certainly worth looking at. This alternative method of working could benefit a lot of industry’s who find many of their employees occupying one spot, working solidly in front of a PC from the early hours of the morning through to the late hours of the afternoon, on most working days.

Whatever the reasons for looking at the possibilities, it is no secret that remote working attracts an unfair barrage of criticism from those who do not fully understand its methods or uses. But, by choosing to explore the many advantages it offers, by having a couple of remote working employees in your company, you may just yield some of the most exceptional results of productivity your company has ever known!

What Is a Remote Worker

These days, the term is often used to refer to many people whose working days and hours don’t fit into the mould of the standard office hours. Yet, a remote worker is simply somebody who works away from standard company premises, communicating via whichever electronic methods preferred by the company. Some people are permanent remote workers, but it is the rise in the smaller company employees who are successfully combing both office based and remote working, as part of their normal weekly working pattern, that is encouraging similar sized companies to sit up and take note of the advantages this working method offers.

The Many Benefits of Remote Working

For Employers:

If you own a small company, you will no doubt want to make sure your employee numbers are minimal, whilst still effective enough to get the work done. Smaller companies often find that their staff bill is amongst one of the biggest monthly expenses. However, that bill can often be overshadowed by needing to find premises to accommodate more employees as the business grows.

Remote working would make more sense to companies such as these, with a rota put in place to make sure that any office duties are adequately covered. A rota offers employees equal opportunities to work remotely and office based, and above all variety. You may also find that you can manage in a smaller building, with just one adequate sized room which allows a weekly meeting to take place for updates!

Perhaps your small business needs to employ the services of an employee with specific skills, but you can’t justify them being in the office five days a week. Writers, programmers, designers and other more creative workers may be highly valuable, but the work they are required to do is often sporadic. Remote working would ensure that they continue to work with your company on a permanent basis, but on days or times suited to the workflow. Again, this frees up office space and eliminates full-time wage expenses.

For Employees:

Remote working automatically means forgoing that often tedious commute to the office, encouraging employees to effectively start work earlier! Being in their own comfortable surroundings can make employees feel less constricted, thus encouraging a happier and more productive employee! There are no office politics, no interruptions and no long-winded coffee breaks when working remotely. Added up, the time wasted on these tasks can often mean an hour or two extra to devote to working! But, by far the biggest advantage of remote working is the concentration levels it encourages, compared to working in a noisy office area; perfect if an employee’s job requires their complete attention.

Creating a Successful Relationship with Remote Workers

It goes without saying that for remote working to become a successful route, both employer and employee must lay down some ground rules before it begins, understanding exactly what is expected of them on remote working days:

  • Discuss any reasonable requests for remote working from your employees and ask yourself if this would be a better option than the current one. Would you benefit, as an employer, from this arrangement?
  • Agree on a starting and ending time, or an appropriate deadline as such for a batch of work, for clarity on both sides.
  • Create a couple of milestones, where the employee is encouraged to check in with you by some method at various parts of their day, just to provide you with an update.
  • Look at the best software for remote workers that allows you to check on their progress automatically through your own computer, without having to follow up with them.
  • Combine a good working week around remote working and office based working, for balance.
  • Ensure a face-to-face meeting once a week, even if just for a few moments, to check that your employee is still managing remote working.
  • Above all, show your employee that you are putting an element of trust in them by encouraging the results that derive through this method of working.
  • If this method really doesn’t seem to be yielding any results, or you feel your employee’s work ethics may have slipped, discuss your findings, and plan based on the overall effectiveness of their efforts.

Above all, remember that some employees will take to remote working – whereas others will not. Those employees who are usually self-starters, and don’t have to be continually followed up to produce their work, are usually good contenders for remote working. The ultimate question is, would this way of working be beneficial to your company, and would it derive more productivity from your employees? If you can answer yes to both, you may just improve your organisation by giving remote working a trial run.