WFH | The current push for remote working has short- and long-term benefits

The current push for remote working has short- and long-term benefits

As a direct result of the current global health crisis, remote working (when possible) is proving to be a positive choice for both employers and their employees.

Evidently, businesses need to try to continue as much as possible to achieve their usual productivity levels, and HR is at the forefront of the push to ensure that the work that needs to be done, can be done, even if staff are working at home.

Though we are facing unprecedented disruption to our working practices, it is useful to consider that even before the current push, homeworking has been proven time and time again to be just as effective as office-based working – and it has multiple benefits for employees and businesses alike.

In fact, the whole concept of remote working and the flexibility that comes with it has been on the rise for years. The working habits of old – when vast numbers of people commuted daily to an office, sat at their desk all day, and then faced the commute home again – have been facing a kickback. Technology has already enabled far greater workforce mobility with workers accessing information from the cloud, holding virtual meetings and conferences, and collaborating easily via shared platforms. This shift has also facilitated more autonomy and trust between employer and employee, and in many cases prompted productivity improvements as a result of fewer distractions and more time to focus without having to sit through a time-consuming commute.

All of which means that although the reasons prompting so many organisations to suddenly embrace remote working in recent weeks are extremely serious, the change itself can also bring positive benefits.

3 ways in which HR can actively support the push for remote working

1. Data analysis

Your HR system is a rich source of employee information which can be used to prioritise the staff members that IT should focus on first to get connected from home. This analysis can take account of specific roles, business-critical activities, operational priorities and geographical coverage. It also means HR can provide the ‘roadmap’ to be followed for mobilising your remote workforce.

2. Policy clarification

Be sure to review your current policy on remote working (who is eligible, what support is required, expectations etc.) as this is likely to need updating to accommodate the current situation. This will enable HR to manage everyone’s expectations and smooth the transition process where possible. It may also help to reduce the number of queries coming into the HR team. 

3. Communication 

Understandably, your workforce will have a lot of pressing questions, not just about how they can continue to work remotely but also a whole host of practical issues such as the business contingency plans, sick pay, following guidelines about self-isolating and how that impacts their wages etc. HR needs to facilitate regular lines of communication, not just with those who are still working at their usual locations but also the increasing numbers who are working from home. Your HR system may offer suitable communication tools and functionality; if not, the company website or intranet may be alternative options to consider for mass communications.

Finally, the coming weeks may also be an appropriate time for HR leaders to consider how dealing with the current workplace challenges might impact working practices over the longer term. If remote working works effectively during this difficult period, it may well provide longer-term benefits for businesses going forward.

For even more support and ideas for successfully navigating these extraordinary times, view our short videos.



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