How to use remote working for better business and happier staff
Posted on: May 7th, 2019
The Rise of Remote Working
A recent study has shown that the number of people working from home has risen by a quarter of a million in the last decade alone here in the UK. With the figures now standing at 1.5 million individuals, it’s hard to deny that remote working is on the up! And, frankly, we couldn’t be more happy about it. Here at Snap Out, our team work both in-office and remotely from across the country. A lot of our day-to-day work is carried out from offices or, well, just about anywhere that works for us and keeps our productivity and happiness levels as high as possible! Whilst we still utilise our office spaces for things like staff catch-ups and client meetings, we truly believe in the benefits of remote working in most situations. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s a simple transition to make. If you as a worker or a business owner are used to an office setting, shifting your mentality and realising the potential benefits of working from home can be tricky. So, we thought we would share our expertise in the area to explain why we’re such huge advocates for remote working, how our team functions effectively and some tips for you if you ever find yourself working from home.
How We Manage Remote Teams
Managing a team of people is a skill within itself. Managing those people remotely is a whole different ball game! One of the most important things to realise when managing remote teams is that you have to trust your employees. Without trust you’ll spend more of your own time worrying about them sitting on Facebook than you will getting on with your own work. Of course, that’s not good for anyone and certainly not for business! We’re obviously not suggesting that you blindly trust people to work well without supervision. However, hiring people that you know you won’t have to watch over the shoulder of is massively important. On top of that, remote working requires incredible communication skills. Managers must know what their employees are currently working on and employees must know what is expected of them, or else the system will fall to pieces! To ensure that all of our staff are kept in the loop here at Snap Out, we use the messaging app Slack API. We have various groups within the app that cover specific areas of business (for example, digital marketing), current projects and one-on-one conversations between staff that work together. We also encourage our staff to send their daily “to-do” list to their manager each morning and then an update on how they got on at the end of the day, too. We are big fans of using Google Docs as well, so that we are all able to comment on and edit work that is shared with us when needed. That way, everyone is kept in the know. However, messaging isn’t always the most effective form of communication, especially when there’s a lot to talk about! That’s why we are also sure to have plenty of phone or Skype calls for one-on-one meetings and that we utilise the conference call feature on Zoom for when more than two members of staff need to catch up. On top of that, we make sure that we have regular face-to-face meetings at our offices, too. Whilst working from home is great, sometimes an “in the flesh” meeting is exactly what you need to make sure that staff are all on the same page! Plus, it allows us to form those all important working relationships in a way that online communication doesn’t always allow.
Why we like remote working
We could make this into a whole blog post in itself, but we’ll try to keep our adoring words to a minimum! One great benefit of working from home is, of course, the fact that there isn’t a commute. I’m sure you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who loves sitting in rush hour traffic or being pushed up against 100 other people on the tube! So, not having to commute into an office hopefully means that our staff start the day in a much more positive way. They can swap out that hour of traveling for whatever they like, whether it’s having a leisurely breakfast, doing some yoga or simply having a lie in! However, not commuting isn’t only great for positivity levels, it’s great for the environment too! We love the fact that we are doing our bit to reduce pollution and our carbon footprint as a company. A huge misconception of remote working is that it will be bad for productivity levels: Workers will get sidetracked by social media without someone monitoring them or won’t be able to resist getting housework done, right? Well, no! The stats say the complete opposite, with two-thirds of managers saying that employees who work remotely increase their overall productivity. Furthermore, 86% of people surveyed said that working alone allowed them to “hit maximum productivity”. Lastly, the flexibility that remote working allows is hugely beneficial, especially for those with families or that have other priorities that they need to balance with their working life. Working remotely means that, often, people can work the hours that suit them, as there aren’t any designated “office hours” How to manage yourself as a remote worker As I said that the beginning of this post, making the switch to working remotely can require a huge mindset shift. There are definitely some things to bare in mind to make sure that you are working effectively and are looking after yourself. The truth of the matter is that, for all of its amazing benefits, remote working can also be lonely at times, especially if you’re used to working in a shared space. So, it’s hugely important to monitor and look after your mental health. If possible, try to get plenty of human interaction whilst working from home, whether that means going for a walk and seeing friendly faces, booking yourself into a co-working space or deciding to get your emails done from a coffee shop. It’s important to remember that working from home doesn’t have to mean isolation! We also encourage our staff to take regular breaks from their laptops. With nobody offering up cups of tea or office chatter, it can be tempting to power through your workload and not leave your desk. However, not only is this bad for mental and physical health, but it’s also been shown that the highest achievers at work take breaks! Whilst breaks can look different for everyone, looking after your physical self by getting outside and going for walk can be a brilliant option. I find that this helps to clear my mind between working, keeping me more productive and, most importantly, more content throughout my working day. As I said, our semi-remote team love the way that we work, so I hope that this has lifted the curtain a little bit for those that are new to the concept, as well as provided some helpful tips for anyone making the transition to working from home. To stay up-to-date with what our remote team are doing, you can give us a follow on Twitter — We’d love to connect with you! The Snap Out Team ?