What Lessons Have Been Learned from Remote Working?Blogs
Whilst remote working may not have been everyone's first choice, it has given us an opportunity to trial different methods of working, and perhaps we have stumbled upon some new processes that are worth holding on to in the long term?
Face-to-face meetings and catch-ups over coffee have been largely replaced by video conferencing applications, many teams are still entirely working from home and even the likes of exhibitions have gone digital. We are thankful that modern technology has given us adequate alternatives to physical operations, many of which are on offer to Made in Group members, such as virtual breakfast mornings, roundtable discussions, webinars, live Q&As and much more. Whilst this digitalisation of networking would not have been everyone's first preference, the reality of the worldwide pandemic is that industry professionals need to embrace these changes in order to not be left behind.
Keep reading to discover some of the biggest lessons we can learn from this ongoing reality of remote working:
Over Communication Is Good Communication
A breakdown in communication between team members is one of the biggest risks of all when it comes to remote working. When teams are no longer a few desks away from your co-workers, it is vital that you maintain regular, preferably daily communication with your team.
Communication needs to be over-emphasised from a remote location in order to maintain standard business operations and productivity levels. Email, phone, video call and messaging services (e.g. Slack) are your go-to here.
Regular communication needs to be maintained throughout a healthy workforce in order to support not only productivity but also team morale. Many employees will most likely spend the entire working day in solitude, therefore, making a point of having regular whole team “catch up calls” can go a long way to nurturing the mental wellbeing of a remote worker. Daily call in the morning and/or afternoon with entire working teams can be a worthwhile solution here.
Being Strict with Logging Off Can Be Just as Important as Logging In
One of the biggest dangers of working from home is that the lines can blur between work and play. It has become clear over these last few months that striking the correct work-life balance is absolutely vital to successful remote working.
Just as when you are working in the office, it is vital to get into a strong routine of getting up at the right time and being ready to work at the same time each morning. Being 5 minutes late to begin work from home every now and then can become a slippery slope of causing detrimental damage to your productivity and falling short of your work objectives.
Likewise, it is also essential for long term productivity and a healthy work-life balance to be strict with an official "logging off" time each day. It can be tempting to push this back due to the highly connected world we live in, where sending an email or work message can be done at the click of a finger from every location. However, to maintain productivity and motivation during the times you are "logged in", it is important to set clear times apart for working and unwinding in this regard.
Different People Work Well in Different Ways
Who'd have thought hey? Whilst some of us undoubtedly thrive under a regimented structure of 9-5 in the office, others have been producing better output working within the walls of their own home - and vice versa.
A lot of this comes down to a difference in personality types, employees are motivated and produce maximum output in different environments. Whilst for others, work output at home vs in the office will be heavily influenced by their personal situation. For example, someone who is commuting for four hours a day, whilst simultaneously attempting to fit their work schedule around young children or other personal commitments, may be benefitting from remote working due to feeling more refreshed, energised and producing better work as a result.
On the other hand, certain people will thrive from the office environment and may feed off of social interaction in order to feel happy, healthy and productive. And then, of course, we have people who fit somewhere in the middle of this. Those who enjoy interacting with colleagues in the physical world, but could produce higher results if they incorporated some remote working into their schedule, perhaps so that they aren't spread too thin on days that they have personal commitments (e.g. school runs).
Ultimately, when the time comes that remote working is no longer a health necessity, employers will be responsible for deciding which method works better for their business and the individuals who work for them. It is safe to say that one size may not fit all here; meaning that some employers who are brave enough to value trust and flexibility with their workforce may come out the other end of this on top.
Embracing Change Is Vital
When lockdown first hit, it will have been tempting for many firms to just lock up shop, put their tin hats on and hope that they re-emerge in tact when everything "goes back to normal". However, as time goes on, it becomes more apparent that the old normal will never be quite the same again.
We have seen an enforced surge in new ways of working, such as virtual networking, and those who have been too stubborn or afraid to adapt with these changes will be left behind if they don't act.
For example, Made in Group had their business operations and the value they provide members put under threat when it became apparent that physical events - such as exhibitions - were going to be simply unable to take place for the majority of 2020 at least. However, we have made a big investment to support our members and provide the group with an equal alternative, by offering the first virtual exhibition of its kind for UK manufacturing: