As Cosmopolitan Magazine put it last month “Basically, working from home can be GREAT – for businesses, for employees, for everybody.” We tweeted some interesting research that highlighted increased productivity as people worked longer hours when they avoided the commute along with less sickness days.
Here are some simple tips you can use to making home-working effective for your company and for your employees:
For the employer:
- Ensure anyone working regularly from a remote location has clear objectives and deliverables so no matter where they are, they know what is expected of them and you can effectively manage and measure them on their output performance – this really applies to ALL employees
- Create a communications structure for the team that doesn’t exclude and isolate remote workers such as regular conference calls or scheduled team meetings in the office
- An effective team is more than the ‘sum of its parts’ so don’t lose the value of group-based idea generation and collaboration. Hold face to face creative, strategy or project sessions to stimulate collective thinking
- Ensure you have the right tools to make working apart seem like working together. Web-based document and project management systems are easy to access from anywhere. Video conferencing and instant messaging brings people together as if they’re sitting across a desk from each other
- Set some ground rules for people working at home. Do they have to always be accessible? Are there core hours you need them to be available? Do they need to check in with their manager every morning? What are the extracurricular activities you feel are acceptable?
- Ensure your office-based team understands the ground rules that homeworkers follow to ensure a ‘them and us’ culture is avoided
- Sometimes, remote workers need to be with their colleagues. Think about how you can build good social interaction to facilitate strong and productive relationships between your people.
For the employee:
- You have to be ‘uber-organised’. Although this applies everywhere it’s important that your ‘work’ and ‘home’ time are separated and you have a clear schedule and plan
- Set daily goals – so you can measure and improve your own day to day effectiveness
- Ensure you have clear longer-term objectives and that you keep an eye on how you’re doing
- Call in to the boss first thing every day – even if it’s not a requirement, just check in
- Be accessible. In fact, be more accessible than your office-based colleagues. Sign in on instant messaging or have some form of ‘online now’ flag so people know you’re around
- Learn to recognise when you need help or support in problem solving or more creative thinking – sometimes you can’t do this alone so get into the office and corral your colleagues
- Get dressed and get out. We’ve all been there. Start work when you’d usually start the commute and end up at 7pm still in pyjamas! A productive day requires regular breaks and fresh air
- Get kitted out with the technology that connects you to people and information.