Gearing your business for remote working

There could be as many as five million gig workers in the United Kingdom. A gig worker is commonly someone who works for an organisation on a contractual basis or a short-term basis and it’s not uncommon for that work to be conducted remotely.

These days, however, it’s not only gig workers that work off-site. Increasingly, companies are allowing their permanent staff the flexibility to work out of the office too.

While you may worry that you’ll be losing all the benefits of office-based contact if you hire a gig worker or allow flexibility for your own staff, the truth is that there’s a myriad of ways you can work with your employees effectively.

All it takes is a bit of ingenuity and looking at your systems to see if it can cope with enabling staff to work remotely. Otherwise there are lots of tools you can add that could make a remote working environment more functional, including:

Making use of communication tools

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to improve the way you communicate with your employees. With the plethora of online tools at your disposal such as Skype, Google Hangouts, Slack and HipChat at your disposal, having a face to face meeting is no longer necessary.

Tracking employee time

Time theft or wastage is a possibility, especially if there are no managers around to monitor staff. However, your employees don’t need to clock in manually at the office for you to monitor their time on a project as there are plenty of time and attendance software tools that you can make use of such as Viventium, Planday and BizRun.

Monitoring projects

If you are working on a big project with multiple staff involved that are working both in and out of the office there are lots of project management software tools available such as Scoro, Asana and Basecamp. Often these tools have a whole host of other benefits too and typically allow you to store all your important documentation in one central place. If you are hiring staff from overseas make you make and retain a timezone policy for all to follow.

Keep up with team meetings

To keep up morale and ensure everyone’s on track it’s important to keep up regular team meetings, even if it means doing so virtually. It doesn’t matter if your employees are travelling on the train or sitting at home or working in a coffee shop in a different time zone – it is possible to set up regular weekly meetings to exchange information, give advice and encouragement. Mentoring can also be done at a distance – there’s no need to train staff face to face.

There are plenty of benefits to remote working. Some studies show that employing a mobile workforce can help achieve higher retention rates and make happier workers.

Plus, you may find that your employees actually work for longer too. Taking a long commute using public transport or even taking a drive into work can waste of time. Whereas a simple move from their bedrooms to their study could ensure that employees make a punctual start.

It will save costs on both sides. For example, while your employee won’t have to foot the bill for commuting into work – your company, in turn, doesn’t have to offer a season ticket loan or suffer from lost productivity due to things like traffic jams and rail strikes.

Moreover, remote working instills a form of trust and maturity in the workplace.

If you’re not sure it will work out or if your tools and infrastructure can’t handle remote working, why not try and gradually adjust your company into it.

Perhaps just let employees work from home one or two days a week. When it comes to mobile working – there’s no rule book that says you have to do ‘all or nothing’.