Our industry, like many others, has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 crisis. Some have paused, some are still moving forward, whilst some have, unfortunately, seen a reverse in activity.
Those businesses that come through the other side will be forever changed. With the streets of London empty, office rooms gathering dust and busy food markets shut, we are all getting used to a new way of living and working.
Already knocking on the door before the crisis, the reality of remote working has become much more commonplace.
This arrangement can benefit both employee and employer in several ways. For example, employers have an opportunity to cut overhead by moving to smaller offices and create a more flexible and dynamic workforce. Employees can enjoy a relaxed schedule, spend more time with their families and spend more productive time working by cutting out their commute.
However, not all employees are suited to working remotely. It takes a certain kind of mindset, attitude, and desire to be successful. It is vital that managers take these traits into account when considering a remote hire or shifting personnel to working from home. Below, I focus on a few of these key traits.
Natural Desire to Learn
Certain employees thrive at the office because of the natural competition among its members. This competition drives workers to learn and implement new strategies to keep ahead of the curve. Look for those who naturally have this desire to learn. They are less bound to competition with others as a motivator, and more focussed on trying to better their own activity compared to several days, weeks, or even months ago. If the competition lies within themselves, you likely have a great remote employee.
There are a wealth of strategies for keeping your employees motivated at the office. However, these are much less effective when your employees are working from home. Consequently, self-motivated employees are often a better choice for remote working. Those who have a passion for their work will perform better in a remote setting. Granted, this is not a tangible trait, but look for those who show a genuine interest in their chosen field and who like to be kept busy.
Studies have shown that up to 55% of communication is visual and we all know how important fluid communication is within your organisation. Before deciding if any employee will work well remotely, take a close look at how they communicate via email and other methods of communication as this will the major form of communication moving forward.
Technology comes into play consistently for remote employees. Those who can troubleshoot technical issues independently will be more productive while working from home. They’ll need less assistance and have fewer interruptions to their workflow. Of course, not everyone can expect to be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, so remember to cut some slack where needed.
Previous Remote Experience
This may be the most important factor when deciding if an employee should be considered for remote working. Throughout lockdown, many of your employees would have already worked remotely, gauging their lockdown productivity will be a good indicator of how productive they’ll be moving forward.
It is highly unlikely that a blanket rule will be brought in with regards to remote working. Different companies will assess their needs, the workforce and productivity levels to gauge how effective remote working will be. What is clear, however, is that remote working is getting, and will continue to get, a lot more airtime.