With millions of people forced into a new flexible working environment, our report advises how best to manage remote work forces – and what management practices need to change. We look at some key questions that employers need to answer to enable effective processes to manage remote workers. These include how teams can stay in touch; how team morale is monitored and support offered to those that need it; how productivity is measured and how any compliance and regulatory requirements are met.
Many individuals have become used to working from home. Teams are also now well versed in video meetings and phone calls replacing team meetings.
With the focus on getting through as best we can, however, many employers this year have understandably not focused on performance management or indeed career procession. Managers and HR teams have been thrown into managing employees remotely in the most difficult circumstances. Many performance issues may have gone unnoticed, or have had less impact due to decreased workload overall.
Employers need to carefully consider how they can ensure that they can effectively support and manage employees who move permanently to remote working. There is also a need to ensure that those working at home are not penalised, and held back from say promotions, because they are less visible to managers. It is important for employers to be proactive in having regular conversations and ensuring support is available to employees. Employers should consider practical issues that will occur when restrictions are lifted such as:
Considering these questions up front will greatly assist when dealing with flexible working requests to formalise home working permanently and setting up appropriate systems to ensure these changes work longer term.
Employers are likely to find their managers will benefit from further training on how to mange performance and support those working remotely and you may need to consider how your office spaces will need to be adapted, for example providing hot desks for those only attending the office on occasion and changing your meeting spaces. For many employers utilising trial periods will be the best way to test proposed arrangements and make any further adjustments required before agreeing permanent changes.
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