Remote work –
9 factors for
Successful collaboration with remote workers depends on rules set by the employer.
First and foremost, remote workers require a healthy work-life balance in order to be as efficient as possible. To this end, organizations need to define how they view and implement remote work.
Factors that should be taken into account
The type of worker
An efficient remote worker needs to be independent, resourceful, organized, and detail oriented. Distractions, demotivation, and the negative impact of isolation are some of the challenges of working from home.
The kind of work that needs to be done
The employee needs to understand their role and responsibilities. They must also possess the necessary skills to carry out the tasks required of them. The employer must therefore notify remote workers of the control measures in place as well as the criteria used to evaluate their performance and the frequency of these employee evaluations.
Schedule and planning
Remote work requires a fixed routine and schedule. Some employees might find it challenging to keep track of time, which could negatively impact their work-life balance. They might also develop bad habits that can adversely affect their physical and mental well-being: unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, isolation.
Defining and ensuring the quality of deliverables
The employer must define what work needs to be done. They must also manage expectations and set realistic deadlines (ideally via a videoconference followed up with a written communication that will serve a reference for the remote worker). Depending on the nature of the work, the employer should measure success by results, not hours put in. They should also implement quality control measures that are defined and documented, with the use of templates if necessary, and ensure employees comply with these measures. When their deliverables are completed, the employee must specify which individuals are now involved and save any documentation. Employees should also specify where the deliverables are located and ensure that no one is waiting to take over. This will prevent any component of the project at hand from being overlooked.
The organization must review the way it communicates to facilitate interactions between colleagues. They can do this by planning regular discussions (virtual meetings and written communications) to inform team members about updates in the organization and they can implement procedures and adopt policies related to remote work. The organization must develop a work culture that promotes inclusion and healthy internal communication to make sure new remote employees are quickly integrated. Providing the employee with regular feedback will help them adapt to their new position, prevent a feeling of isolation, and maintain their level of motivation. Mechanisms should be implemented to document information and allow workers to access any information they need to fulfill their duties.
IT security, equipment, and material
In order to perform effectively, an employee needs a computer that supports the software/licences/applications/antivirus installed by the employer and required for their tasks. They also need a fast internet connection.
Today, there are several free applications available for smartphones and tablets that allow employees to scan and tax documents. That means the employer doesn’t need to spend more. Furthermore, companies are becoming increasingly eco-friendly and don’t need to provide employees with a printer unless it is essential to their duties (ex.: printing cheques). If the employer has an IP telephone system, the employee can even manage their calls from their own computer.
The employer must provide employees with a secured connection so they can access the software and documents they need. This connection must meet security standards established by the company, suppliers, clients, and partners. In addition, the employer’s technical team must make sure to update software and require remote workers to change their passwords on a regular basis.
Keep in mind that a remote worker must have access to technical assistance 24/7 to make sure that no matter what their schedule is, their work will not be hindered by technical issues.
These are essential to ensuring the remote worker can be as productive and efficient as possible.
There are several digital collaboration tools available to simplify communications between the office, remote workers, suppliers, and clients. Companies can rely on software to help them manage:
- A business telephony system
- Instant messaging
- Documents shared in a collaborative environment (content management).
To remain focused, a remote worker should set up their home office in a room that is free of distractions (noise from sources such as the TV, street, family members, pets). Moreover, if they have to work remotely for an extended period of time, they need to set up their own environment in a way that is conducive to their work. For instance, they’ll need an ergonomic chair and desk that maximizes their level of comfort and minimizes the risk of injury. They must also make sure the area is secure and that confidential information is not shared or lost and that it can be disposed of in a way that is secure (with the help of a shredder and not in the household’s recycling bin).
In sum, when it comes to remote work, the key to success is a strong relationship of trust between the employee and employer.
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