Original author: Lorraine Wrafter- Associate at The Grey Matters Network

 

Most of us have been working remotely for over 3 months and are starting to go back to the office. Now, is a great time to review remote working.

Organisations need to decide:

  • When to resume full time office work. Now, 3, 6 months…
  • Can individuals work remotely full time after the crisis
  • Can teams/departments work remotely full time after the crisis
  • A mix of remote and office work in the future

What have been the unintended consequences (positive & negative) to remote working

As your teams return to work, it is a good time to ask:

  • What worked well working remotely
  • What didn’t work well
  • What should be stopped, started and continue to do
  • What have been the unintended consequences (positive & negative) to remote working

Some of the unintended consequences of remote working that I have heard from colleagues, clients and friends are:

Positives

  • Getting to know your colleague’s family and pets, planned and unplanned!
  • Mistakes are forgiven more as the ‘crisis’ encouraged people to innovative and take risks
  • Level playing of team members, particularly those that are usually based at other locations/countries away from the majority of the team

Negatives

Out of site out of mind

  • No longer have a voice or a vote
  • Miss out on coffee corner discussions and opportunities to give input
  • Talent Management – forgotten for new projects or positions

Decision-making slowed down

  • Lack of confidence to make the decision on their own.  Lost opportunity to quickly pop over to a colleague/manager desk to get input.
  • Hard to get hold of a person on email/phone. In the office you could walk over to their desk and get their attention
  • No time to think at home. One video call after another, family commitments and distractions. Commuting gave time to think!

Are we still enjoying remote working?

To have a sustainable remote working environment and effective remote teams the key points to consider are:

  • Strategy – It impacts the whole business
  • Costs and Flexibility – What are the costs such as equipment, insurance, hot office space etc
  • Groundrules – How to work remotely
  • Training – What knowledge and skills are needed to work remotely
  • Maintain effective and productive teams – What will be different and what will stay the same
  • Communications – When and how often will team members check in
  • Managing performance – How and when will the team review business, team and individual goals
  • Talent Management – Identification, development and succession planning of remote teams
  • Workforce Planning – Opportunity to increase in part-time and shared jobs
  • Reward – Reward and benefits need to be reviewed and adapted
  • Maintain Culture – How will the culture and brand be maintained and thrive with remote working and virtual teams
  • Well-being – How to manage employee welfare to avoid feeling lonely and isolated

If you would like help on remote working contact The Grey Matters Network.

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