Around 8.7 million people of the United Kingdom workforce said they have worked from home, according to data from the Office of National Statistics. That is just below 30 percent of the UK workforce and by the end of 2020, it is estimated that 50 percent of the workforce will be working from home. Many firms are discovering the benefits of offering work from home policies such as increased employee productivity and heightened employee morale. However, these benefits are not automatic. From keeping your remote workers connected to ensuring their productivity remains at the optimal level, it is only with the right employee setup and management that businesses can experience the true success of having work-from-home employees.
Work-from-home arrangements do not necessarily suit every employee or every job. Creative careers such as writing or software design are seen as some of the most suitable roles for work-from-home employees. Besides assessing job-specific skills like their ability to sketch anatomy diagrams using directions, The Association of Taxation Technicians also lists some of the skills needed for home working employees such as self-motivation, self-sufficiency, time management, and IT knowledge. For example, an artist may possess good human anatomy drawing skills but may need constant supervision to produce high-quality work. These qualities can be pinpointed using previous on-site work performance. Does the individual constantly miss work deadlines? Do they need supervision and direction throughout the day? If the answer is yes, a transition to working from home may not be a good fit.
Be sure to make scenario questions a part of your evaluation package when considering work-from-home employees. Many employees working from home do so with their own set of distractions such as young children or home emergencies. Knowing how they will handle these situations and whether it will affect their work is key in gauging their ability to work under pressure and maintain the standard that is expected of them.
You may also want to break up the day to day working schedule with project-related work, or Online Training Courses. These can help upskill and increase the diversity of their working capabilities.
Another key part of ensuring the success of work-from-home employees is equipping them with the right tools to do their work remotely. These include company-specific software such as accounting or design software programs alongside standard time management and communication tools to keep track of productivity. These tools will also help you as their leader effectively manage your remote team while they are not on-site. Something that often proves to be an issue in remote working.
For time management and attendance monitoring, a mobile time attendance program can be useful. Some examples of time management tools used by remote workers include Roadmap App, Time Doctor, and HiveDesk. Other tools that may be included in a remote working package include file-sharing programs for collaboration like Dropbox, cybersecurity software including firewalls, and video conferencing tools such as Skype for Business or Zoom.
A common complaint of work-from-home employees is poor communication. The Institute of Leadership and Management found that poor communication and working practices are increasing amongst remote working, with 88 percent of workers struggling with miscommunication. Inadequate/ unclear communication plus a lack of shared identity have been reported as some of the leading barriers. This leads to ineffective working for employees working remotely, including those working from home.
To overcome this, you must implement clear communication policies for work-from-home employees. This will help them feel included and improve feedback should they need it. According to the ILM’s recommendations, scheduling regular team meetings using audio or video conferencing software can greatly reduce this conflict. In addition, try to replace email communications with video or audio where you can. You can also encourage the use of team collaboration tools like Slack to ensure instantaneous communication.
Working from home is not for every employee or manager. However, with the right team and policies in place, you can have great success with this type of working arrangement.
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AI is one of the most exciting tech developments to emerge in recent years, and it will no doubt continue to reshape how businesses are run. That being said, AI is often talked about in the realm of data analytics and innovation strategies. These are important uses of AI, but by no means are they the only ones. In fact, AI can play a big role in shaping safer workplaces for companies all over the globe. So how can AI be used to improve employee health?
Stress is a part of everyday life, and even rank-and-file employees have days when they feel like headless chickens trying to complete their tasks. CMS Wire cites virtual assistants as a tech innovation that can help provide personalised experiences to each and every employee, allowing them to schedule their day according to data such as what time the most emails come in, what notification preferences each user wants, and so on. In fact, these assistants can even be trained to answer simple questions and thus help minimise communication backlog. The beauty of virtual assistants is that this tech has become widely available, meaning it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg for businesses to adopt.
Mobile workers are often thought of as those working at home from their laptop, but this category comprises all kinds of employees who do fieldwork, such as logistics and delivery drivers. One of the main reasons why Verizon Connect recommends businesses invest in fleet telematics is because this system continuously gathers data on driving behaviour. Such data is then used to make tables highlighting driver performance, which managers can then use as a way to see where (in the case of recurring incidents) their drivers need more safety training and assistance. Telematics is a prime example of how AI can improve employee health, and help employers to see where their current health and safety efforts are lacking.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace can do wonders for employees’ mental health. While most employers know this, few actually take the time to implement measures and ensure that this diversity becomes a reality. Part of the issue is that for diversity and inclusivity to really be attained, companies have to look into every nook and cranny to remove unequal practices. So, BizTech suggests using AI to sort through HR and payroll information and compile an account of pay statuses across departments. Data visualisation allows managers to catch huge over-arching trends that might have been lost under the piles and piles of records.
As with most tech innovations, AI is still continuously being developed in line with what people need. Our previous post on 7 Wellbeing in the Workplace Initiatives You Can Start Today underscores the need for employers to always look after and nurture their employees. And with safety on everyone’s mind nowadays, companies would do well to look into this often-neglected link between AI and employee wellness.
Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.