Is your organisation keen to take advantage of the many benefits remote working can offer, but you’re constantly left frustrated by the obstacles stopping you from implementing it?
Here are five reasons your staff aren’t able to work from home - and how to resolve them.
Your organisation’s office IT equipment might be exceptional, but if they’re all desktop PCs then they can only be used in the office - no use for anyone who wishes to work from home, even for a day.
There are a number of possible ways around this.
You could gradually replace your older desktop computers with mobile devices and docking stations. This not only allows for remote working, but also enables your employees to work easily from other locations around the office, for example in meeting rooms or breakout areas.
Of course if you’re only replacing desktop computers gradually then full implementation of remote working for every employee is going to take a long time. It’s also unlikely that senior management will sign off on brand new hardware if your existing systems are still relatively new.
A more cost effective option may be to purchase a selection of mobile devices and/or laptops that can be signed out as and when they’re needed. This will restrict remote working somewhat, but this may help in making it easier to manage, particularly in the early days of its implementation.
One of the most common objections from organisations to remote working is that their software simply isn’t suitable for it.
The primary concern is often around collaboration and whether issues could arise regarding version control when two people are working on the same document in different locations, as well as using different programmes. For example, an office-based employee might be using Microsoft Word 2013, while an employee working from home is using an older version of Word - or even a completely different programme altogether.
Investing in Microsoft Office 365 can eliminate this problem altogether.
Because Office 365 is cloud-based, as long as two employees have an internet connection they can access work documents from any location, while it also allows for real-time collaboration on projects without the risk of files being overwritten and work being lost.
Employees can’t access all of the documents they need
If all of your organisation’s documents are stored on internal servers then it is only going to be possible to access them from the office, making it very difficult to implement remote working successfully. Files could be sent to remote employees via email or another file sharing platform, but this is hardly an efficient, or particularly secure, process.
Again, this is where Office 365 can be invaluable as it allows you to access files from anywhere in the world - all you need is an internet connection. You can also set which files each employee is allowed to access, including whether they can view or edit the file, ensuring you have total control over every document.
It’s common for organisations to be worried that remote working isn’t secure and that important documents could become infected or stolen when they’re accessed on computers that don’t fall under the protection of the office antivirus software and firewall.
Office 365 boasts exceptional built-in security features that can keep your files and data safe at all times.
Microsoft’s 24/7 support centre also ensures you’re able to deal with critical issues quickly and effectively - whether they arise while in or out of the office.
Senior management doesn’t support remote workingIt’s often the case that organisations are unable to get buy-in from senior management into the widespread implementation of remote working. This will often be due to concerns around productivity and whether or not employees can be relied upon to deliver the same level of output at home compared with in the office.
However, many studies have shown that, when managed properly, remote working can do wonders for the productivity of an organisation. With this in mind, it is vital that you monitor and report on the impacts of existing remote working if you’re looking to roll it out to the wider business, or to highlight the number of hours lost for any of these reasons:
- Employee absence where someone is not well enough to be in the office, but could work to a limited extent at home;
- Employee absence where someone is looking after their child who is unwell;
- Employee absence due to having to wait at home for maintenance work, for example a plumber;
- Lost hours due to travelling to business meetings when an employee might otherwise be able to work, for example on the train.
For more actionable advice on getting the most out of your employees, download our free eBook, The Complete Guide to Maximising Employee Efficiency.