Remote work, or telecommuting, is defined by working from home. The original concept was the implementation of a flexible working arrangement with the access of internet and telephones. As organisations adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, working remotely is becoming the norm instead of a job perk. The following post offers guidance in supporting a workplace culture that effectively incorporates telecommuting.
The cultural and economic shift from the pandemic has propagated research to guide employers and employees to remain productive whilst working remotely, and what this means for the future of work. Research presently shows that the transition to remote working has been positive. Organisations need to prioritise social engagement between employers and employees that will not only support the wellbeing of individuals, but improve productivity levels as well. The following guidance is adapted from Larson et al. (2020) in supporting remote workers:
1. Regular check-ins: lesser face-to-face interactions in the workplace means it is important that employees feel supported and able to consult with managers sufficiently. Supervisors can schedule daily check-ins that occur virtually and encourage ongoing communication within the organisation.
2. Different mediums of technological communication: e-mails serve for quicker interactions and are less suitable for formal communication. Providing visual means to communicate such as videoconferencing reduces social isolation and allows for personal interactions between employees and employers.
3. A sense of belongingness: colleagues can chat about topics that are not limited to workplace responsibilities. For example, asking what one’s weekend plans are can encourage a conversation that is mindful and caring. Providing social opportunities that stem beyond workplace tasks allows for a sense of belongingness in the workplace community.
4. Offer support: the shift to working remotely may present new stressors for employees. Open communication of support is necessary in maintaining a collaborative and positive workplace culture. This can be done by asking how remote work is affecting the life of an employee and provide a space for employees to voice their concerns. It is imperative that when holding this conversation managers are attentively listening prior to providing guidance.
Finally, the coronavirus pandemic has led us to adapt the workplace to a predominately virtual environment. This shift will test the resilience of an organisation to adapt accordingly and maintain an open and collaborative workplace culture which provides support to its employees.
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