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All About Remote Working

Remote working is here to stay. According to some sources, 50% of the UK workforce will be working at home or outside of the offices in the coming years.
This is a staggering statistic. It’s easy to understand the reason.

The advantages of flexible and remote work are evident. While the concept isn’t a new one but the technology is accessible to make it simpler and less expensive to accomplish it successfully.

Effective digital leaders know that software such as Office 365 is revolutionising online productivity and communication; and technology such as 4G/5G or WiFi shared by public networks are giving the capability.

But if you’re thinking of the introduction of working from home or even putting together a brand new remote working policy it’s important to know a few aspects to think about.

To begin with, is it an ideal idea?


We believe that in the present day of technology – and a supportive culture – the advantages for working at home could be felt by employees, and can benefit our business.

On the surface it’s clear that the benefits are obvious for both employers and employees. But if you’re considering the impact of remote working for your teams it’s crucial to think about a few crucial factors.

Five considerations to consider prior to drafting a remote working policy.

1. Working Environment

When I tell people I work from home, one concern occurs more frequently than any other: how do I complete my tasks?

There is no doubt that they make thoughts of pyjamas and background TV set-ups.

It is obvious that creating the perfect conditions is how productive work ‘gets done’. Therefore, a relaxing, non-distraction workspace is at the top of the list for potential remote staff.

In the end, a lot of time and money are spent designing work-friendly offices. Lighting as well as spacing, temperature and swinging chairs. You wouldn’t stick you HR boss in damp basement.

Most employees would not be thrilled with home visits from their bosses. But to get the full benefits of working from home it’s essential to provide training and advice to employees on how to create comfortable, distraction-free workspaces; as well as to supervisors in how to manage and support their remote workers effectively.

2. Zero Commute – Health, Cost and Environmental Benefits

The long commute for work each day isn’t good for anyone.

Being able to skip the commute is one of the biggest advantages of working remotely. The financial, health, and environmental benefits alone make working from home a viable option.

Here are a few examples:

Employees save money (often many hundreds per month).
Prevents staff lateness.
Allows staff to start their work earlier.
Increased impacts on the environment (both locally as well as globally).
It saves the company money (can provide flexible working in lieu of higher salaries).
Increased equality for people who are unable to travel.
Employees are more relaxed.
Employees are safer (if previously walking/cycling through bustling areas).
The employees’ health is improved (if they were previously sat in traffic or using public transportation).

3. The impact on work hours

One of the most common issues reported by remote working is the impact that it has on work hours.

“An investigation conducted of the Japanese Institute of Labour Policy and Training (JILPT 2015) of [remote] workers in Japan revealed that the issue of “ambiguity of work as well as [timeoff’ was among the top-ranked disadvantage of [remote working] among both women (36.4 percent) and males (39.3 percent). Likewise, research by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHLW, 2014) which included employees from 30 Japanese companies, found that 43.5 percent of those surveyed said it difficult to define the line between family and work’. **

Many remote workers find it hard to determine when work starts and when it ends. Being constantly connected to the workplace and especially through smartphones requires a conscious effort to clock out. Rather than being able to just leave the workplace at the time of day.

Lots of studies have been conducted on the effects of remote working on hours. There are some differences in the results, particularly in terms of demographics. But the consensus is that people who work remotely or from home do more work per week than those who work in offices.

It’s easy to understand the reasons for this. Emails or calls outside your working hours. Contact on holidays or on annual vacation. “20 minutes” to send those emails on a Saturday could easily turn into an hour or two. The effect on the family and social life this can have is worthy of discussing.

‘Right to disconnect’ law

As a result, a growing number of businesses are now embracing “right to disconnect” laws.

These laws seek to mitigate the negative impacts of continuous connection to work by protecting employees’ non-working time. Often termed ‘work without end and never ending’, this topic has been the focus of an increasing number of studies and national policies.

In the event that this kind of constant connectivity occurs every day, hours of work per week add up – sometimes without even realizing it. While this may increase productivity in the short run but the long-term stress on workers can be unhealthy or unsustainable.

4. Sickness

The policy for sickness is easy for office workers to follow If you’re healthy enough to work, come in. If you’re unwell to work, have the day off.

But for staff working at home the lines blur.

In many cases it is the case that the number of sick days that employees take when working at home diminishes. With the exertion of travelling to work snuffed out and the stress of having to travel, it’s possible to rest at home feeling exhausted or bunged-up but still churn out some work. You don’t have to worry about dirty glances from colleagues, and fearful of being caught with what you’ve brought to work.

This is good for sick figures. But arguably not so good for both employers or their employees.

For employees, working while unwell means they’re less likely to get the rest they require to recuperate quickly. Personally, there’s been times where I’ve been sick throughout the night, and woken the next morning suffering from a bad ache, but then began working at home. But then I’d rather get back in bed after an hour or two.

Equally for employers, while your employees who are sick may be in the office, there’s no real guarantee that they’ll be able to perform the work they’re capable of doing.

For a company that has set a remote or working from home policies It’s an balancing process between taking care of employees’ health, controlling the quality of the work that is produced and being able to accommodate non-incapacitating illnesses.

5. Isolation as well as Team Spirit

Separation from your team and the general hum of your office is another challenge of regularly working from your home.

For many, having a peaceful place to work is essential for stress-free work and getting a lot done.

For me, I’m currently writing this in my private office. The only sound is a distant tractor and the gentle breeze that has just pulled from the wood that is outside my window.

Take a look at our workplace on Old Street, and you are able to see why I’m so grateful for my days at home.

After a while in silence, with just your thoughts and the occasional phone call to make you feel heard it’s easy to forget the constant buzz of things going on’. As per the Eurofound report one of the major issues faced by employees who work from mobile devices is absence of access to informal information sharing during work. i.e. general chat. ***

With modern software, sharing information that is important is simple. However, in human terms, there’s some reluctance when you ask your workmate ‘see anything good in the news this evening’ via email.

Events like daily meetings or team meetings provide this chance. A space to speak freely in between activities and tasks. It can not only help dispel the silence, it can will also help you stay connected to your teammembers, to form connections and keep the energy.

The New World of Remote Working

With today’s technology and worker preference, it’s apparent that remote work is here to stay.

To accommodate this huge change, it’s crucial to grasp the implications of it. To be aware of the ‘new world of work’ – made up of new options, higher standards, as well as new relationships with colleagues.

The current world of work is fundamentally separate from time and physical space. It is now all about work-related performance or location.

It requires a new kind of management, centred on self-responsibility and autonomy for employees. One that has knowledge, positive behavior and trust-based interactions.

It has been recognised that this method of working is based upon 8 factors that will allow it to work:

Outstanding behavior from management.
Flexibility with regard to time and place of work.
Availability of information (less hierarchical organisation and access to information in every point) and frequent communication (both bottom up and top down).
Responsibility for results and not for working hours.
Sharing information with colleagues.
Online cooperation with colleagues.
Development possibilities. ***

Remote work is in line with many of the recent changes in society, which are made possible by advancements in technology.

With these new options and more choices it is time to look at how our working life are organized around our rapidly disappearing wall of office space. In order to build the ideal workplace for both employees and employers of the present and in the future.