Remote working – make sure you have considered all angles
Last year, IBM called people back to the office in a bid to encourage greater collaboration, claiming that remote working was not having the expected benefit to productivity and, in some cases, workers were reporting feeling isolated or left out.
The latest figures compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of people working remotely has grown steadily. Remote working opportunities are being used widely by small and growing businesses. In an effort to optimise work space and reduce costs, remote working has become a standard part of their work plans, and, as long as candidates are recruited on this basis, the benefits of operating in this manner should outweigh any downsides.
But managers have think about the effect of remote working on collaboration, meeting attendance or interaction with teams. Employers must also perform a risk assessment of home-based work stations and take steps to make sure they will be working in a safe and secure environment. If remote working involves working away from home and accessing company information via unsecured networks – for example, in coffee shops or other public places – security policies may need strengthening to meet data protection requirements.
In reality, few roles can be done from home all of the time. However, most jobs will include occasional remote working, where necessary or where it makes sense to do so. Whenever considering remote working, employers should take a step back to assess whether it would be a good fit for specific job roles or tasks. By viewing remote working as a valuable option, employers can organise their businesses in a way that drives productivity, without exposing them to increased risk or undermining teamwork and innovation.