August 27, 2020

How to Keep Remote Workers Connected and Avoid Isolation

In a recent survey conducted by the BBC, fifty of the biggest UK employers questioned have said they have no plans to return all staff to the office full-time in the near future. Some 24 firms said that they did not have any plans in place to return workers to the office. Of these fifty, twenty have opened their offices for staff unable to work from home.

It comes as many employees return to work from the summer holidays with the reality of a prolonged period of home working becoming increasingly likely. One of the main reasons given for the lack of a substantial return was that firms could not see a way of accommodating large numbers of staff while social distancing regulations were still in place. (Click on the link to read the full article: ‘No plan for a return to the office for millions of staff.’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53901310.)

Home-Working Pros and Cons

There are of course pros and cons from working at home and these vary from business-to-business and depend on individual circumstances. Some individuals love the idea of home working and others detest it. With no commute those working from home can save large amounts in fares and have a lot more time for friends and family. From a business prospective, large scale home working is probably OK as a temporary measure but there are significant issues that have to be considered. With no human interaction the lack of sociality can be very difficult for some employees to deal with. It’s also hard to switch off and separate private life and business life. Then there is the issue of so many distractions at home – and very often, without team members around, lack of motivation can become a real issue if home working continues. (See 21 Work From Home Pros and Cons – The Surprising Truth Behind Remote Work; https://www.digitalnomadsoul.com/work-from-home-pros-and-cons/

Businesses Thrive on Collaboration

Businesses thrive on collaboration and the inspiration that comes from team work and the exchange of ideas and information. This is perhaps the biggest downside to permanent large-scale homeworking, as businesses miss-out on employees working closely together to produce creative solutions to problems and become more competitive. Home working can be difficult when you enjoy the ‘buzz’ of the office and collaborating regularly with colleagues. With the requirement to social distance, we have to manage the situation as best as possible. So what can businesses do to help employees stay connected and avoid isolation?

Frequent and Regular check-ins with Employees

Get in touch with remote workers through a regular and consistent one-to-one meeting. Having a set-time for a remote meeting will set expectations correctly. Team meetings will be crucial to the business, where colleagues have an opportunity to collaborate regularly, albeit remotely. Ahead of any such meetings people need to clearly know what the meeting objective and agenda is in order to make them effective.

Be a good listener and be open and available, communicating trust and respect to your team. Never leave people uncertain about roles, projects and expectations.

Simple but Effective Steps for Good Communication With Your Employer:-

Plan to Call in or Work in the Office on Occasion – By showing your face you show that you are interested and want to keep up-to-date with developments in the business. This may not always be possible, but do it as much as reasonably possible.

Keep in Contact in a Variety of Ways – Don’t just use email to stay in contact. You have text and WhatsApp (during the UK lockdown Whiteleys created a WhatsApp group as a way of staying connected with colleagues). But also take advantage of video conferencing by zoom. use technology to your advantage to stay connected with the company.

These are some suggestions to help you not feel not so isolated during home working. Each person’s circumstances are different, so any comments or other ideas would be welcome.

Whiteleys has a full-range of products to help with either office or home-office set up. Please do contact us to discuss your individual requirements.

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