Seems like a lifetime ago when I entered the working world fresh out of University and at a time when the internet, mobile devices and cloud computing weren’t even thought of.
The nearest I got to anything remotely computerised was my wonderful Olivetti electronic typewriter capable of holding I think it was 8 pages of A4 in its memory so that obviously included my C.V.
Over the last twenty years technological advancements make it possible to work remotely and has changed the way in which we approach our working day.
Mobile devices, smart phones, tablets, e-readers, kindles all of which provide accessibility to the internet.
From my point of view, work is now seen as an activity and not a destination or location that one has to trawl through traffic to get to day in day out.
One particular Manager I recall working for in the City in my days as a Sales Rep absolutely insisted I report to the office first thing in the morning prior to the commencement of my customer visits for the day. This meant a trip to the Angel, London, my place of work and then on to to see customers which could have been North of London. What an absolute waste of my time, company time let alone the cost of fuel and traffic frustration.
No matter how hard I tried I could not convince him that working this way was tiring and ineffective. Clearly, me showing my face at the beginning of the day was the reassurance he needed to know I was working. Obviously it didn’t cross his mind that if I wanted to I could have bunked off any afternoon and gone down Oxford Street shopping!
Despite this I am pleased to say that in the last ten years there has been a radical shift in mindset toward the advantages of the mobile working model.
Accessing emails, connecting to remote systems and company data on the go have revolutionised the way we work, engaging with customers remotely, on social media, email and mobile phone are an accepted part of the new working model.
Employees are no longer obliged to sit at their desks day in day out. With the advent of mobile computing and devices enabling access to company data remotely, work can be fulfilled wherever you are.
Organisations have streamlined integration of business applications into the mobile world through cloud computing providing a deeper level of functionality and security in mobile platforms for remote working.
In turn this has resulted in:-
- Full access to all business critical systems and data resulting in quicker decision making
- Enhanced productivity as employees can work wherever they are
- Increased flexibility, changes in working hours and the option to work from home especially during bouts of heavy snow and interrupted travel
For all the years I did my best to put forward a convincing argument for mobile working, is there a downside to working alone, at home, remotely?
None of which is insurmountable as long as you set your working boundaries, hours of work and bolster a big sign that says “I might be in but I am actually working from home today”
What initiatives can you implement to ensure employees are singing from the same hymn sheet:-
1. Set and agree goals.
It’s easy for employees to get lost without a sense of purpose whilst Managers still set goals, collaboration and agreement between team members is vital.
Remote employees actively suggest new ideas, create their own projects, set and share personal goals and put forward solutions.
2. Stay connected
Great team players are trustworthy and available. Web and mobile connectivity makes it easier to connect with remote employees but it can also make it harder and less certain i.e. are they on a call with a client? Is she on Skype with an associate?
Whose responsibility is it to stay connected? The remote worker’s or the office? No wrong answer here but remote employees assume the onus is on them to stay connected.
Remote employees let others know when they won’t be available and the reasons why, they also make it known how they can still be contacted in the event of an emergency because they consider working remotely as a trade-off they may have more freedom to slip into the kitchen and make a coffee but they also recognise that with that freedom comes the responsibility of super-availability. This in turn means that super-availability creates trust with employees and customers.
3. Focus on results not time.
In some organisations it’s enough to show up and put in your time; what you actually accomplish is almost secondary to being present.
Employees working outside of the main offices give up results, not presence. Remote employees focus on accomplishing objectives as quickly and efficiently as possible. If a task “should” take a week and it is completed in three days that opens up time to accomplish other tasks.
What do you think?
Do you prefer working from home or do you need a more governed and routine approach to work?
We love to hear your view point so why not leave a comment in the box below.
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