Remote working – the new trend or the new norm?

We scribe on all things HR to add value to your organisation

by | Feb 22, 2021

The pandemic has spurred on a new way of working for most organisations around the world. For the majority, they are no longer expected to be in the office or their place of work every day. According to Gartner, 88% of businesses encouraged employees to work from home during the pandemic, with 52% of people remote working once a week.

As Australia moves into a post-pandemic situation with occasional circuit breaking lockdowns, flexible working and working from home has become the usual way of working life and staff are expecting it no matter where they work, pandemic or no pandemic! It isn’t seen as a perk of the role but an expectation and a key consideration when changing roles.

This has put considerable stress and reliance on HR teams and leaders to deliver the tools, equipment and engagement to allow businesses to implement the new working from environment and also maintain productivity.


Managing remote teams

With face-to-face interaction becoming more and more rare, managing and engaging with your teams is even more important to remain connected and drive the right culture.

Leadership teams worry that their employees will not work as hard or as efficiently when working remotely, away from the watchful eyes of one up managers. Many employees struggle with reduced access to managerial support and communication, and can sometimes feel out of touch, left without the support they need to develop and operate efficiently. Training and development are key factors for employees to develop and improve in their role, with 67% of remote working employees wanting to progress themselves in this area.

When mixed with social isolation, distractions at home and lack of business basics information, the challenge for HR teams to drive the right outcome, increase productivity and enhance the work from home experience has been enormous.

Setting expectations, having regular catch ups alongside tracking and listening to your team’s progress is important, along with collaboration and celebrating success. Leadership teams need more than ever to understand their teams, what makes them tick and how they can utilise this trust to drive the right culture and deliverables.


Getting the systems set up

Capitalising on HR technology to manage, track and operate remote systems is critical for employees to be productive and feel enabled to drive towards company goals. No one wants to waste time logging into systems which don’t work effectively, or which operate in silos, not providing the breadth of access required to meet operational goals. Technology platforms, digital tools, online training and programs are all required for remote working and this usually falls to the HR team to implement and manage.

Zoom became part of our everyday life in 2020, prior to which, many employees had never even heard of it. It’s enabled remote working in a way which allows teams to remain connected and present, despite geographical distances between individuals.


Take the time

Remote working was for the majority, forced upon us. Whilst the need has decreased with effective management of the pandemic, it’s still become a part of our everyday life, our modus operandi.  It’s revolutionised how we look at working remotely and has forced many an organisation to look at how they set their team up for success – from ergonomic desks, to correcting heights of screens and enabling regular coffee breaks, forward thinking organisations are considering how to build on the basis built during the height of the pandemic.

The pivotal role of HR is so important for retention of high performers as well as attracting the right talent. Get the basics right, and remote working will be seamless, adding in benefits of greater efficiencies and a significant improvement in productivity.

About the author

As President and South Australian State Councillor of the Australian HR Institute (AHRI), Susan is a valued advisor and thought leader to her clients and the HR community. Maintaining an extensive understanding of employment law and business acumen through her work and connectivity to the AHRI and the business community, Susan is a master at finding innovative people orientated solutions, carefully balanced with the commercial reality.


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