The new norm, home working, distance working –call it whatever you want, should not be a complete leap into the dark but a way of working that results in business performance being enhanced through increased employee engagement and satisfaction. This does not happen at the flick of a switch but through a carefully considered number of deliberate actions.
Employee well being both physical and mental is now seen to be of paramount importance and simple principles can be applied to the new norm. Employees work best when in an environment that encourages ideas, is target driven, based on team working , as well as appreciation for work well done in a learning environment. These leadership principles need to be enhanced and supported in order that distance working is not seen as somehow different to normal working and actually not that important. Working from home , particularly if substantial and over a long period of time can seem to be distant, transactional and at best very oppressive. Pressure to achieve results is of course importance and the right approach will produce the results required.
Work places now are increasingly designed to be more pleasant places to work with chill out zones, mini cafes, cake days, off site team days still popular and seen to be important. All these actions are difficult to put in place for distance working but all are not impossible to replicate in some form or another. Employees want to feel valued .
Distance working will affect employees in different ways. Some will thrive , others will find it difficult and it is crucial that businesses set up procedures and systems that can react to issues and deal with them constructively and professionally. As well as helping individual employees these actions will be seen by others as a sign that the business does take the health and well being of its employees seriously.
It is important that businesses set up regular reviews with individuals and the business as a whole in order to monitor the success or otherwise from distance working, highlighting where best practice exists, learn from this and make adjustments to their policies accordingly.
Make no mistake about it. Distance working, in its various forms is here to stay. The businesses that embrace it will be successful. Those that don’t, won’t be.