Work Hack: Remote Working For Increased Productivity & Happier Staff

Remote working seems to be all the rage these days. But what is it, and how should you work remotely while not compromising on actually being in the same place as your colleagues?

Remote working is defined as “when an employee works mainly from home or not in the office and communicates with the company by email or telephone”.

The LadyBoss team works remotely 99% of the time, as the co-founders all have their own businesses.

In my own business – Anagram Group – our core team works remotely on 3 days a week – that’s 60% of the time. We work together, in an office, 40% of the time – on Mondays, as we set the priorities for the week, and on Fridays so we can collaborate on any urgent tasks before the week is over. We tried it on an experimental basis the past 2 months, and the results have been great!

We work together, in an office, 40% of the time – on Mondays, as we set the priorities for the week, and on Fridays so we can collaborate on any urgent tasks before the week is over.

For us, Mondays and Fridays are when we conduct activities best reserved for face-to-face interaction – for example, meetings, training, and brainstorming / strategy sessions.

What do you do if your employee doesn’t have a suitable place to work from home? Sometimes employees may have large families, or small children, or not have a good quality workspace.

Our solution was to cater to them – and purchase a business center membership which allows staff to work from a co-working space near their home, and a selection of other spaces in the city (just in case they wanted to work in the city). This membership even gives staff access to business centers abroad … (just in case they wanted to work on holiday too!)

I have found that it boosts productivity, reduces travel time, and has eliminated one of the biggest banes of working culture today – pointless meetings!

Benefits of Remote Working

I have found that it boosts productivity, reduces travel time, and has eliminated one of the biggest banes of working culture today – pointless meetings! I highly recommend it.

Did you know that in a survey by SurePayroll, 86% of employees said they preferred to work alone to “hit maximum productivity”. Now think of what that can do for your business!

Other benefits include:

1)Less or zero travel time – Nobody actually likes to travel for work, especially during peak hour. It’s more expensive, crowded, and you can hardly get a seat. Less or zero travel time is a huge plus! A person can spend anything from 30 minutes to 3 hours just travelling to work.

 

So much prep just to go to work!
So much prep just to go to work!

 

2) More time for work, less time on getting ready for work  – Women especially can relate to this. How much time and money do we spend on just going to work? There’s of course the act of getting ready, choosing what to wear, not having enough to wear, and – as a result spending more money on office wear. Remote working greatly reduces vanity and therefore the need to spend on office fashion.
3) More Work-Life balance – this is definitely a positive, whether it’s for Millennials who want to spend more time with their friends, or for Gen Xs who have small children or want to spend more time with their families. More work-life balance results in happier employees, and increased productivity. It’s a win – win – win situation!

 

Everyone could use more work:life balance!
Everyone could use more work:life balance!

4) Decreases office costs – Remote working decreases the need for an office 5 times a week, which results in less rent, less electricity bills and so on. You can also find alternative uses for the office space or subscribe to a co-working space which gives you flexibility to work only on certain days of the week.
5) Reduces carbon footprint – Remote working is better for the environment – as employees no longer have to travel to the work every day.

 

Here are some guidelines on how you can make remote working work for you.

Rule #1: Establish Ground Rules

It’s important to establish ground rules for remote working.

Ground rules include:

– What are expectations when your team is working from home
– What time does the workday start and end, and what time scheduled breaks are
– How to contact each other in various scenarios while remote working – for example, our team uses online instant messaging to communicate, and phone calls for urgent or complex conversations.

Once ground rules are established, it may also be good to have these rules in black and white, for example, through a simple email to communicate what the rules are for the whole team, so they will know what’s expected of them.

As you can’t see your team, you will have to trust that they have the company’s best interests at heart, and are not abusing the privilege of remote working.

 

Talk to your team!
Talk to your team!

Rule#2: Trust and Communicate with Your Team

As you can’t see your team, you will have to trust that they have the company’s best interests at heart, and are not abusing the privilege of remote working.

One way to make sure your employee’s tasks are on track is to communicate constantly on the status of tasks and projects – but of course not so much that they think you don’t trust them!

Be clear about deadlines too, so that any face-to-face collaboration can be planned before the deadline looms near.

Also, as your team can’t see what you are up to, you will need to update them should you step away from your desk to attend a meeting or have a conference call and when you will be back at your desk. This way, communication is always crystal clear.

With remote working, it is absolutely vital to be 100% clear about processes and documentation needed for a task to be done with precision and with minimal supervision.

Create processes and documentation
Create processes and documentation

Rule #3: Create Processes and Documentation

Yes it sounds absolutely boring (and it sometimes is), but it must be done. With remote working, it is absolutely vital to be 100% clear about processes and documentation needed for a task to be done with precision and with minimal supervision.

For example, if a certain task had 5 steps to it, it is crucial to give your employees adequate training before that, and – just to make things more clear, give black and white documentation so they can follow it to a T.

The best way to do this would be to create a step-by-step manual they can refer to, so as to avoid confusion or have you repeat it multiple times.

Technology can definitely make remote working work for you, so that it’s almost like you’re working face to face!

Rule #4: Use Technology to Manage Your Team

Technology can definitely make remote working work for you, so that it’s almost like you’re working face to face!

Some apps or programmes you may want to consider include:

  • Whatsapp Web – to receive whatsapp messages on a desktop
  • Time Doctor – a program which allows you to monitor staff remotely, especially if they are working in a different country
  • Asana – a project management tool
  • Screencast-O-Matic – a program that allows you to record your screen for the purposes of showing your colleague what’s on your screen

Do you or your team work remotely? Let me know if it works for you!

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