Rachel McElroy, director at cloud resourcing specialist Cranford Group, gives SMEs advice on getting the best out of remote working.
1: A culture of trust is crucial from the outset – employers cannot micromanage as remote working usually relies on autonomy. It’s about defining roles, setting expectations and establishing agreements, so that everyone is on the same page about how the remote working will work.
2: Consider the working environment. Set up your desk properly with everything you need, including the necessary equipment, plenty of light and, of course, a decent internet bandwidth.
3: Harness the power of technology to stay connected with both the business infrastructure and the team. From video calls to instant messaging apps, there are many ways to keep in touch and boost productivity, as well as feelings of camaraderie, rather than isolation.
4: Set out clear plans for the working day – setting clear goals and targets helps maintain focus and provide a sense of accomplishment.
5: Prioritise the biggest task first – it’s easy to procrastinate over the mountainous activities which feel like they’ll take up too much of the day, but completion of larger tasks provides great motivation, a clear head and a boost for the remainder of your working hours.
6: Regular meetings and communication are essential – team gatherings can still happen on a Monday, for instance, if that works for your business. The only difference is that people might be in different locations.
7: Remote working is about introducing flexibility to colleagues, so make the most of the opportunities it brings. Plan your day around when you are most productive, for instance. My brain works best first thing, so I do my creative tasks – such as planning and producing content – then.
8: Remote working might not be for everyone – it relies on the right mindset. Discipline is key, as is the ability to self-motivate, especially in the absence of colleagues close by. That same discipline is required to switch off too – it’s easy to still be working at 11pm, but this makes a work-life balance difficult to achieve.
9: Take breaks away from your desk too – go to the gym or walk the dog, especially if you tend to have a working lunch.
10: Keep yourself fuelled. Drink plenty of water and eat regular, nutritious meals and snacks to help remain focused.