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5 Tips To Implement Successful Remote Working In Your Company

With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, remote working is the new way of working. Today, companies are quickly catching on the trend of flexible working – allowing employees to work remotely, be it in the comfort of their homes or at their favourite Starbucks outlet.

Like it or not, flexible work policies are here to stay. Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of allowing employees to work remotely. This includes higher employee engagement levels, lower turnover rates, increased productivity as well as an enhanced work environment to suit the ever-evolving workplace.

However, while companies might be swinging towards granting flexible work arrangements for employees, not everyone feels comfortable with taking the advantage of working from home. Given the working culture in Asia, whereby being physically in office is an indication of being hardworking, employees might be afraid to use this advantage of working remotely because of the negative impression it might give to their coworkers.

According to a survey conducted by recruitment firm, Kelly Services, 70% of talent in Singapore view “flexible work arrangements as positively impacting work-life balance”. This then becomes the company’s responsibility to promote and encourage positive attitudes towards work flexibility. Here are some ways in which companies can support such culture within the workplace.

1. Start from the top

Employees need to be aware that flexible work policies are supported by top management as well as their own supervisors. There is no point in advocating flexible working within the company if the managers themselves have concerns. One way to mitigate this is to train or encourage managers who have reservations on how to manage flexible work arrangements. That way, employees may feel less discouraged to take advantage of remote working knowing that they have the full support from their own managers.

2. Implement core hours

With flexible working arrangements, there might be the problem whereby all employees from the team are completely unreachable at a crucial time. Managers should implement guidelines as to when and how employees need to be available whenever they are not in office. Alternatively, it might also be helpful to set core hours during which everyone is available for questions or discussions.

3. Set expectations

Work flexibility does not mean that employees are free to do as they like. Communicating expectations upfront will provide employees with “permission” to maximise flexible work arrangements, while discouraging others from overdoing it. Does three days of remote working work for the team? All team members to work from home on Fridays? Regardless of the arrangement, ensure that everyone in the team is aware of the expectations.

4. Balance workloads

Managers need to be kept abreast of who is working on what, where projects are on track or lagging, who is overloaded or has bandwidths – at all times. Otherwise, when employees are supposedly working “remotely” and workloads fall out of balance, this can result in resentment within the team. At the same time, other co-workers might feel a sense of unfairness. With remote working, there is an increased need for better communication and documentation to ensure a balanced workload distributions within the team.

5. Be considerate

Offering flexible work arrangements might have an adverse impact on employees’ personal lives as employers or clients might expect responses at any hour. Some employees might be under the impression that in return for being able to work from home, they have to be available 24/7. To perpetuate this fear amongst employees, it is important for managers to give employees who are working remotely a break too.

Thanks to technology and changing workplace mindsets, geographical boundaries no longer matter. Additionally, when location ceases to matter, your talent pool increases a little – by being able to hire someone with the right set of skills without having them to be physically in the office.

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