In today’s business world, the dynamics of the workplace are changing and employees are now breaking away from the traditional office scenario to enjoy a more flexible working style.
Many staff members are now working remotely benefiting from the ability to schedule their job around other commitments and have the option to work from an environment they’re comfortable in. All of this helps to create a happier workforce and a healthier work-life balance.
And not only this, but a happier workforce makes for a more productive workforce. Research from WorkMobiles ‘Mobile Working Now’ report found that 72% of mobile employees said they work harder now, compared to when they were not mobile. More than half of businesses themselves (58%) admit that mobile working has visibly added to productivity within the workforce, as opposed to office working.
The value of flexible working is clear for both staff members and businesses, but there is a fine line between productive employees and those who find it difficult to switch off from the job. So how can businesses help flexible employees properly achieve a healthy work-life balance? Here are three tips on effectively managing and supporting a mobile workforce:
1. Provide staff members with quality training
Due to a lack of direct supervision, it’s important to give employees appropriate training and guidance before they begin working remotely. This way employers can be confident technology will be used responsibly and workers know there is a support network available if they are finding it hard to adjust.
With employees now having more control over their own time, some may find it difficult to manage their hours or separate work from their home life. These issues can be addressed by implementing procedures such as timesheets so both employees and employers can monitor the number of hours worked. Employers may also want to look for obvious signs that a staff member is struggling to switch off, for example they may be sending emails late at night.
2. Understand your staff members
It’s important for managers to maintain a good relationship with staff members working remotely so if problems do arise, they can be spotted and resolved early on. This could be achieved by arranging regular meetings with the employee to discuss progress or any particular needs they may have. It could be that the employee has childcare issues or has severe health problems and is restricted to the days or hours they can work. Agreements can be made for individuals – but should be clear, for example an employee may have to complete a set number of contracted hours, but at any point during that week.
For those who are used to working in an office environment, flexible working styles could lead to feeling of isolation. To ensure staff members are still integrated into the office culture, managers should arrange regular social gatherings to encourage employees to interact and engage with each other. Mobile workers could also arrange to work in the office once a week so they are kept in the loop with fellow employees.
3. Set up effective methods of communication
Having an effective level of communication between remote workers and their managers is vital to ensuring everyone is kept up to date and work is completed correctly. With people working from a number of locations, it can be difficult to monitor everything that’s going on within the business. But by scheduling regular meetings, calls or video conferencing, employees and managers can update each other on the tasks currently underway or any new jobs or projects that may arise.
As technology continues to advance, the door is wide open for companies to adopt flexible working policies. But for employees to achieve a healthy balance between work and home life, they will need a considerable amount of support from their managers. The key is to ensure regular communication between all staff members so that problems can be flagged immediately, and employees know that the support is there if they are struggling to adjust.
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