Remote working can offer a wide range of benefits to organisations of all shapes and sizes, but even if you’ve recognised this, how can you go about implementing it? Believe it or not it might be easier, as well as cheaper, than you might have thought.
Put together a robust remote working policy document
For remote working to be effective it is essential that you have a clear policy that sets out the expectations on the employee as well as your obligations as an employer.
Business owners can sometimes be concerned that employees will take advantage of remote working and not deliver the same level of productivity as they would in the office, but by implementing a policy document you can outline exactly how you expect your employees to perform when working from home.
Get the right systems in place
Remote working cannot work effectively without the right software and hardware available to your employees, and it could even have a detrimental effect on your organisation if you try and force it through before putting these systems in place first.
It’s vital for the integrity of work documents that your employees are accessing them using the same versions of software, while it will often be necessary for them to collaborate on projects in real time.
Microsoft Office 365 can offer all of these benefits and much more besides, and is ideal for organisations of all shapes and sizes. Because it is based in the cloud, Office 365 can be accessed from anywhere in the world - all you need is an internet connection.
Office 365 avoids issues arising from team members working on documents using different word processors, such as OpenOffice, Google Docs or older versions of the Microsoft Office suite. It also allows team members to work on documents collaboratively and in real time, to ensure changes are not overwritten - a common problem for organisations in the past.
What’s more, all of this is available from just £3.10 per user, per month.
To ensure your remote workers are able to work effectively you need to invest in the right hardware. This includes laptops that are powerful enough for the job and smartphones so you’re able to maintain contact with them.
Manage it effectively
Remote working can be of huge benefit to employees and organisations alike, but it has to be managed effectively if it’s to work. Here are some important tips to make sure you do:
Build a rapport
Permanent remote workers aren’t in the office for all the usual casual conversations and bonding opportunities, so it’s important to work extra hard at building a rapport with them. Avoid just talking about work issues and be sure to make time for some small talk too - it’ll help you get to know them and understand them better as people.
Use video chat
A lot of human interaction is nonverbal, so if your communication has be done remotely it helps if it’s via video chat. This way you can look out for the cues the other person is giving off and deal with issues when they first arise more easily.
Utilise group messaging
To ensure all the members of a team are able to communicate at all times you should implement a group messaging service. Skype for Business comes as standard with all Microsoft Office 365 packages, and allows for both video calls as well as group messaging.
If there are people within your organisation who aren’t convinced by remote working then make sure you monitor the output your remote workers produce. If you’re able to demonstrate an increase in productivity following the introduction of remote working then you’ll be able to counter these arguments much more easily.
Check out this blog to find out more about effectively managing remote working.
Interested in Office 365?
So if you’re keen to implement remote working and want to find out more about the benefits Microsoft Office 365 can offer, get in touch with the team here at Mirus IT. Alternatively download this free remote working policy template to help you get started with implementing remote working.