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Remote working continues to divide opinion

According to a survey conducted by an affordable conference call software provider, WHYPAY?, over half of the UK workforce admit that their mental health is better when working from home. With this in mind, what can employers do to navigate the ongoing work from home initiative? Have a read of these tips. 

There is no denying that 2020 has been the year that not one employee has expected. After all, seven months after the first lockdown, we still have workers being told to ‘work from home if they can’. Now, despite the perks of working remotely, such as benefitting from extra sleep and not having to be packed like sardines with others on a daily commute, how do employees actually feel about working in the age of the ‘new normal’? 

According to a survey, over half of the UK workforce admit that their mental health is better when working from home. This result does show that the nation is very much divided when it comes to opinions on remote working, but what can employers do to navigate the ongoing work from home initiative? Have a read of these tips. 

Utilise online communication tools

Elliot Green, Chief Marketing Officer at WHYPAY? said: “What we’re seeing is a shift in mindset as many employees realise they can work just as well, if not more effectively, from home. With the right communication technology, remote staff can connect and collaborate very successfully.

Whether interacting face-to-face in the office or not, colleagues still need to maintain relationships with one another. That being said, there are many online communication tools out there to help you and your team do just this. 

As a manager working from home, it is essential for you to make use of tools such as Google Meets or Slack to manage your team in the most effective way possible. After all, things may get lost in translation in a general email exchange. 

However, when it comes to communicating on a virtual basis with colleagues, don’t just keep things 100% professional. Rather, ask about one another or talk about something that you generally would discuss in the office. 

Cater to the needs of each individual on your team 

As a manager furthermore, it’s important to consider that different individuals on your team may have their own ways of communicating. For example, the idea of a video call may seem appealing to one person but not to the other. 

Nadia Finer, Founder of Shy and Mighty, commented: “Video calls can be harder to navigate in many ways than face-to-face interactions, because we are so focused on seeing our own face. When you talk to someone normally, you look at them, not at yourself!”

She added: “It can also feel rather overwhelming when everyone is talking at the same time. Instead of solely relying on Zoom, get back into the habit of speaking to people you care about on the phone. Voice only calls are in many ways more personal and intimate, and we are less likely to get distracted or feel self-conscious about the way we look.” 

It’s a bizarre time for everyone, so catering to the needs of those around you is now more important than ever. As well as this, adapting your communication style as a manager for each individual is a great way of building that additional rapport. 

Reflect on the situation at hand 

A further interesting find is that over half of employees stated that they get far more work done when working from home. With this in mind, perhaps reflect on the quality of work that’s being done by your team who are working from home. For instance, have you come to observe that your employees are simply more productive at home compared to working in the office? 

Moreover, the survey reveals that 1 in 5 claim to be an “all-round happier person” since working from home. So, in relation to your team, have you noticed a positive shift in everyone’s general mood since the transfer to home-working stations? If this is the case, then it may be time to consider remote working as a viable option going forward. 

Ask yourself what you have learnt from this experience

Finally, it’s so important for everyone to consider what working from home has actually shed light on. Referring to the findings, almost half of the UK workforce agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed their views of their current job, and 40% actually believe their job could be done entirely from home. 

The study also highlights that half of workers would like their employer to offer at least some level of remote working going forward, and almost a quarter would choose to take a significant pay cut if it meant working remotely going forward.  

From an employer, these results may be very eye-opening when it comes to knowing how people on your team feel and being aware of what they actually want. It is therefore important to take these perspectives on board in order to navigate the work from home initiative. Just take it from other business owners. 

Speaking about his company, Managing Director of Sleeping Giant Media Anthony Klokkou said:

“Remote working was on the cards pre-Covid, however, not to the extent we are now using it. We’re now implementing flexible working to address the changes in working expectations and to give our team the freedoms they deserve. We have seen that remote working can work well, for us at least, and have worked hard to keep communication high across the business, whilst supporting the cultural development that is happening.” 

Overall, these new changes do spark one question: will traditional office working become a thing of the past as we move forward? 

Dennis Relojo-Howell, founder of psychology website Psychreg, commented: “COVID-19 has changed the world. One of the biggest day-to-day changes is that thousands of businesses had to close their doors and learn how to work from home.

“But now we’ve experienced this way of life, we might not ever go back to the traditional office as we know it. Some data has uncovered that many people prefer working at home, indicating that the future may be remote.

Survey from WHYPAY?

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