With businesses starting to re-open or get back to some semblance of normality, where does remote work fit into the new normal? A study from Atlassian reports that around 70% of Australians say their job satisfaction and work-life balance has improved thanks to remote work. So, is remote work in Australia the new normal, or just a glitch in strange times?
One of the world’s larger companies certainly thinks it’s part of the new normal. Microsoft has announced they’ll be adopting a hybrid workforce post-pandemic. Essentially, they’re telling staff they don’t need to come to the office if they don’t want to. For some, it sounds like a dream come true, but not so much for others.
So, how does your business fit remote work into its future plans?Start the conversation
To remote or not to remote
One of the biggest questions facing businesses is whether to maintain remote work flexibility, or sound the alarm for all staff to return to the office. It’s not an easy question to answer, because it’s likely your people will have different thoughts. Some absolutely love working from home, and in fact can’t stand the office environment. For those people, remote work is a blessing. Others, however, miss the social interaction of going to work. Some may even have difficult home lives which makes working from home extremely complicated.
Essentially, we’re looking at staff preferences and capacity to work from home. But there’s a lot more to consider as well, mainly the impact on your business.
Analyse the impact on your business
Covid-19 has crippled some businesses, and put many others behind the 8-ball. So, as you’re restarting, productivity and smooth operations are essential. More than ever, businesses feel the need to ‘catch up’ on lost time and profits. Therefore, it’s a time for business improvement, not degradation. So, if you’ve seen a decrease in output from staff, getting them back to the office might be preferred.
On the contrary, if you’ve seen no negative effects on people’s ability to get their work done and they actually like working from home, then why change? It sounds a bit like having your cake and eating it too, but if staff are happy and your KPIs look good, surely that’s a positive. Plenty of companies are reporting spikes in productivity since moving to remote work in Australia. So, as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
How to manage remote work in Australia
It’s possible there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the flexible work conditions question. That’s why a hybrid model like Microsoft’s could work beautifully. If staff crave a bit of social interaction, let them attend the office. If they’d rather work from the comfort of home, that’s fine too. Regardless of which way you go, here’s a few simple tips to manage the new normal.
- Listen to what your staff really want, so you can truly understand the impact.
- Consider flexible options, especially for those with family commitments.
- Provide the right tools for people to succeed. CRMs, custom software and collaboration tools are all designed to make work easier.
- Set clear expectations regarding work hours and expected work output.
- Ensure remote workers aren’t isolated – provide regular opportunities for video meetings and other communication.
- Regularly assess performance to ensure remote work in Australia still works for the business.
- Talk to your staff – make sure they’re still happy with remote work arrangements.
It’s all uncharted territory, but by working together with staff you can make remote working a success.