Look around your office right now. If needed, stand up and go in to each departments room. What are the sales guys doing? Busy talking, lots of noise, right? Customer service, probably the same. What about the developers and creatives – copywriters and designers – I bet most of them have headphones in, don’t they? That’s because, there’s more to be gained in peace and tranquillity in some jobs, while others demand ongoing, constant communication.
Does your business use an IM like WhatsApp? Probably sales guys that use that, but I bet your techies use Slack. Hey, guess what, looking at their chat logs, I bet you can see that most of their conversations are over Slack, aren’t they? Of course! That’s because when you’re trying to get your head down and crack on with a complex task, the last thing you need is the 101 office distractions that surround you, thus, noise cancellation headphones allow you to block these things out and Slack allows to you chat in a non-direct way that allows you to dip in and out of conversations when you can spare a few minutes.
Stop Caging Techies & Creatives within your florescent lit cage.
Sales team working remote? No, probably not. However, for the techies and creatives, why the hell not? It makes perfect sense – less space taken up in office (the average cost of an office space, with desk, chair and computer is in excess of £3k. Why cage them, when they could very well flourish within their own space, because believe us, if they could work anywhere, it wouldn’t be in your office, sorry.
“But how do we ensure they’re working?”
Please, don’t push your insecurities on to your staff. You ensure they’re working, just as you would if office based; through KPIs & project management, of course! We’re not saying just let your staff work from home and see how it goes, we’re saying you need to go the extra mile to ensure you don’t set them up for failure.
Getting the best out of allowing staff to work remotely
- Let your staff know you’re trailing this – this usually puts pressure on staff to ensure they maximise their work at home. Trial for at least 1 month, so if they can keep productivity up for that amount of time, they should be able to form a good habit by then.
- Ensure KPIs and good project management in place.
- Communication is key – via Slack or alternative IM, but also weekly (start of week) conference calls to ensure everyone is in tune with what’s expected from the week. Thus, doesn’t need to be a long call, just enough to ensure actions are created and review previous week. Ensure you a) have a good conference call provider b) set a weekly agenda c) and always create good notes and distribute after call.
From what we’ve seen, allowing staff to work remotely, in particular to creatives and techies, you more often than not find that productivity increases and rarely goes down, but if it does, it’s easy to figure out; a) did you set KPIs and properly project managing? b) was remote working right for that individual? All in all, you shoud reap the benefits from it if done correctly – plus, you’re guaranteed to employ higher calibre staff as for many, this is a huge bonus, without offering extra money and great for the environment too!