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How to make remote working an efficient part of your new normal

Many self-employed professionals (such as translators for instance) are already used to working alone full-time, or most of their working time.

So they are not surprised about what appears to be a new paradigm for work taking place at the moment because of the health crisis.

And as a general rule, they do not experience the frustrations either, which are hving to be dealt with by some employers/employees.

We are not a hundred percent sure at all that office spaces and commuting will disappear completely. However, it is true that the boundary between work and private life is blurring. And people aspire to better well-being. Remote work is definitely part of the future of work. In order to overcome this new hurdle, a balance must be found, both for workers and for organizations.

Yet, remote working does not necessarily mean long breaks and workforce invisibility. Working from home can generate just as much productivity, and even more, in some instances.

Guidelines & support

Leaders should think about how to implement successful remote working practices over the long term, and they should also view it as an integral part of their business strategy. They should not only provide the right tools (tablet, break time software, ergonomic equipment, and so on), but also clear guidelines and support through regular contact and communication.

People may suddenly find themselves alone when they are not used to it. Sometimes they will forget to take breaks (which is a known problem for self-employed).

This is why employers should not only ask them about how they feel, but they must give them a feeling of belonging. They must ensure their remote workers feel part of the team, as this is what also brings clear commitment.

Communications

And even while video meetings can be very efficient and a cost-saving solution, they do not need to be held too often either, or be too long. Otherwise people lose interest, whatever their status in or outside the company. Once a week seems be a proper average for getting in touch with remote workers, but it should not be abused either. There are plenty of digital tools, including social media that help create and nurture a digital corporate culture.

An appropriate HR policy therefore should be implemented to foster connectivity, not only for time tracking but also to cultivate employee satisfaction by taking the time for contributions recognition.

Even freelancers sometimes feel isolated. However, they manage to overcome the problem through networking with peers, attending conferences, virtual lunches, being part of professional associations, getting trained, online or in person, etc.

Security

Last but not least, and not to be overlooked, the security of work tools must be guaranteed. Critical data must not be put in jeopardy because of malicious emails or malware files that try to attack your assets. It is important to avoid phishing emails (which may look like traditional offers of business).

You must also perform an update of your network on a regular basis (using robust antivirus software). In many instances a two-step authentication also helps make sure that no one besides than the employee will open the computer, thereby strengthening the security system in place. Some will even use anti-spam solutions (like MailinBlack for example). Companies must take steps to get risks under control, with the help of their IT experts.

Another important thing for managers to keep in mind is that they must have an emergency contact list (phone numbers). The company might become the target of a cyberattack. Or, there could be a major power outage, making it impossible to contact remote workers.  

Being able to reach employees is critical to any business in case of disruption. This is part of the basics of business continuity. Now, it has to be part of the overall vision for remote working as well.

I’d love to know what you think, and how you overcome potential barriers (including psychological ones) to a successful implementation of remote working in your company.

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