With the mobility of people severely restricted globally, organisations are finding new processes and communication channels to continue with ‘business as normal’. This involves ensuring that your employees have what they need – physically and mentally – for their own wellbeing as well as for ongoing communication and productivity.
Here are our top four tips for successful remote working within a global operation:
Technology has a huge part to play, with video-based meetings, cloud technology offering mobility and security of data, and equipment such as headphones and monitor screens ensuring that longer periods in front of a screen are comfortable. A good internet connection and reliable equipment are essential. How is your organisation supporting employees to make these available? Plus – do they need access to IT support when setting up systems from their new location?
It’s important to build up a healthy relationship of trust and confidence. The three biggest struggles of remote workers are:
- Unplugging after work – 22%
- Loneliness – 19%
- Collaborating and/or communicating – 17%
(State of Remote Report, 2019.)
It’s important to stay in touch with your team, both individually and also as a group – to understand how they are feeling about the work required and their new working environment. For many people, this is the first time they have worked from home permanently. They are facing new distractions and pressures. They need support in deciding the best way to handle these productively and sensitively.
3. Clear Expectations
Employers and employees should be practical, flexible and sensitive in setting expectations. Homeworking may be a challenge for managers and employees, particularly if they’re used to working together face-to-face. This advice comes from the British Chambers of Commerce: “Employers and managers should make sure that everyone working from home knows what’s expected of them.
“This includes agreeing:
- when employees will be available to work,
- how they will keep in touch,
- how work-life balance will be managed, for example taking regular breaks and switching off from work at the end of the day,
- rules around storing information and data protection,
- how performance will be managed and measured, and
- who employees should contact if they have any problems or their circumstances change.”
4. It’s Good to Talk
Social interaction for remote workers is important, reports Harvard Business Review:
“One of the most essential steps a manager can take is to structure ways for employees to interact socially (that is, have informal conversations about non-work topics) while working remotely. This is true for all remote workers, but particularly so for workers who have been abruptly transitioned out of the office. The easiest way to establish some basic social interaction is to leave some time at the beginning of team calls just for non-work items (e.g., “We’re going to spend the first few minutes just catching up with each other. How was your weekend?”).”
Whilst an element of remote working is familiar to many organisations, the current scale of this working style is unprecedented. “The BTR team involves employees and partners spread across truly global locations,” says Louise Chilcott, Global Move Specialist at BTR International. “We understand the challenges and opportunities involved with operating “business as usual” whilst working remotely. Our team is pleased to help assignees adjust.”
If you would welcome an informal discussion about supporting your remote workers in their overseas locations, please contact Louise via firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)1582 495 495.