While we’re fast approaching the end of the pandemic and lifting of restrictions, some things are set to stay the same. Working remotely is one of them. Advancing tech has changed how and where we can do our jobs, making remote work easier than ever. But how do you know if your business is remote work ready?
Human resources leaders have a key role to play in this decision. They can evaluate HR needs and the preferences of employees. In order to ensure efficient remote work, it’s essential to know whether your employees are prepared and ready to work remotely. A remote work readiness evaluation is essential.
Our six tips will help you carry out this assessment swiftly and accurately and support your business in its transition to a work-from-home set-up.
1. Consider your budget
Every business needs to keep its bottom line in mind when assessing remote work readiness: what are the financial effects of having staff working from home, and will this provide a worthwhile return on your investment? It is also important to factor in the costs of global HR and global payroll, which can be significant for businesses with a multinational workforce. However, if done correctly, remote work can save businesses money in the long run and provide a worthwhile ROI.
It’s crucial to evaluate the potential impact on workplace productivity and profitability and to weigh this against remote set-up costs. There are multiple factors to consider, but expert surveys and assessments can help you to make this crucial decision. As a starter, determine what parts of your budget can be reallocated to managing resources that employees find essential in order to work remotely.
Several studies have shown remote working can enhance productivity. For example, research by Great Place To Work found a significant increase in employee output when they worked from home and a willingness to work harder and longer. Therefore, it’s essential to have a budget allocated to providing employees with assistance to maximize their remote work potential, such as technological assistance.
2. Make job roles adaptable to a WFH environment
Done correctly, remote working can benefit both employer and employee. Its workforce is the most important asset a business has, so your next step is to consider how roles can be adapted for remote work readiness.
This means it’s time to look at your infrastructure. Some initial investment will be needed, such as installing new equipment, software, and other business security technologies to keep your employee and organization secure.
Downloading a VPN technology is beneficial, allowing your team to work remotely without any security risks. Additionally, it makes sense to install VoIP and FoIP systems. These allow voice and fax communications to be controlled via the cloud, thus facilitating in-office and remote working for your staff. They’re flexible so they can grow with your business and are relatively inexpensive to set up.
Some roles are particularly suitable to working from home, such as consultancy, coaching, and creative roles, but with the right structures in place, most jobs can be adapted successfully. You just need to think about how roles can best be modified and defined to facilitate this shift.
3. Define tasks and roles clearly
Remote work readiness is something that applies to both employee and employer, so it’s important to ensure home worker’s tasks and roles are clearly defined.
Routines will change and new ones will need to take their place. That’s why it’s vital home workers understand their new roles, including time schedules and how to complete and submit output.
These new rules and expectations should be communicated to employees and enshrined in their terms and conditions. This way, workers have the reassurance of knowing exactly what’s expected of them.
This stage of the remote readiness process can also help you determine which tasks are eminently suited to remote work and which may be more fitted to work in your office environment in the longer term.
4. Reinforce remote autonomy among departments
When a section of your workforce works from home but others work in the office, it’s important they come together as a unified whole. Just because employees work remotely doesn’t mean they should feel remote from your business. It’s important to keep employees engaged with your brand.
Remote autonomy must be encouraged for departments that will be working solely or largely from home. The inter-departmental dynamic will inevitably change, so they have to be given the confidence and authority to make decisions and act accordingly.
The keys to successfully reinforcing remote autonomy are
- to have proactive departmental heads, who’ll make positive decisions and communicate these to their teams,
- and to have the right tools to enable communication and autonomy. Remote working tools, such as cloud-based VoIP systems, are powerful, affordable, and enable autonomous work.
5. Assess the quality of remote interaction with management
For your business to be successful, remote interaction with management and the executive has to be smooth, reliable, and effective. Having the right technical infrastructure in place will help, but it’s also vital to assess the impact of these communications on employees.
Your most powerful tools are carefully targeted surveys and assessments. A couple of examples that apply in this context:
- Skills Assessments
- Job Satisfaction Assessments
- Team Assessments
- 360-Degree Assessments
These assessments are invaluable for HR leaders, as they allow you to discover what workers think on a range of issues. By adding remote working questions to the survey, you can evaluate the maturity of your business to offer this.
Remote working may be completely new to some workers, so initial training documents with tips on subjects such as how to unmute microphone settings and how to record and submit work can prove useful.
6. Offer extra support during the transition to remote work
The transition to remote work and then a work-from-home workforce brings challenges – but also opportunities. To make the most of these, your employees will need extra support. Take every opportunity to ask how they feel about the change and where they need help.
Keeping communication channels open is vital. This allows workers to contact their line manager or HR team at any time. Carefully composed assessments will also help you ascertain how the transition is going.
To find your way through the myriad of useful surveys and assessments, use an assessment tool guide to create a suitable questionnaire for your business and specific situation. Every assessment can be tailored to meet your requirements, helping you gain meaningful insights into your remote workers’ performance and perceptions and allowing you to apprehend and resolve any issues they may be facing.
Your remote working future
The key to creating a successful remote workforce is evaluation. Evaluate your business needs, employee needs, remote work readiness, and the impact on your bottom line. Remote readiness will allow you to stay one step ahead of corporate rivals while creating greater job satisfaction for your workers.
The technology within your business may well need to be changed or adapted, and training sessions incorporating tips on e.g. how to record a phone conversation or use webcams may have to be delivered. Nevertheless, this can be an exciting and lucrative step into the future of working.