Remote working is here to stay. As a movement it was already gaining traction with both employees and businesses, and the current lockdown situation in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has necessarily accelerated the adoption of home-based working wherever possible.
Studies have shown that home workers are more productive, happier and have greater company loyalty, and as the business landscape slowly adjusts, more and more potential candidates are going to be seeking out companies that offer remote working options. The future is clear – but every business is on a learning curve with adapting to this new way of operating.
The fact that companies have a legal and moral duty of care to those they employ is something that has given many managers pause for thought in the current situation. How best do we keep our workers safe and healthy when they aren’t physically based with us?
Make Sure Their Equipment Is Properly Set Up
Workstations, computer equipment and chairs all play their part in ensuring that your workers don’t develop things like RSIs, vision problems or musculo-skeletal strain. If you plan to make home working a permanent part of your business, then you will need to ensure that employees have the proper set-up available. That could mean regularly checking in on what an staff member needs to perform their role safely from home, setting up an online portal where they can order items of equipment such as ergonomic office chairs, laptop risers and blue light glasses, and making sure regular assessments and training are in place to evaluate their working set-up and make adjustments where necessary.
Help Them To Cope With Stress Levels
Mental wellbeing is equally as important as physical, and this can be harder to monitor with remote workers. So always take the opportunity to speak to employees about their wellbeing and make resources available for them – whether it be helpful articles, telephone counselling services or even access to mindfulness podcasts.
Technology is a wonderful enabler, but it also means that work is ever-present for home-based workers. Help them to establish clear boundaries so that they don’t feel obligated to be checking for notifications every minute. If people don’t feel they can switch off after the working day, then stress levels escalate. So if you see someone emailing late at night, it could be worth checking in with them to make sure they’re alright.
Give Them A Social Lift
What could your employees do with the extra time they get back from skipping a daily commute? At least some of that time allows them to be social – and this should be encouraged. Feeling connected to others is one area of wellbeing where employers of remote workers have to make a little more effort.
With video chat technology, it’s not impossible. Make sure there is lighter, social content and conversations as well as just the work-based discussions you need. Ask colleagues to share some good news, show a family pet, or nominate another colleague who has helped them for recognition.