There’s a lot of value that comes with remote working, from maintaining a healthy work-life balance, to saving costs on commuting, travel, and hiring venues for meetings and conferences. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, where working from home became the only option, moves were already being made across a variety of industries and sectors, with businesses heralding hybrid working and a flexible approach to home and office working for the benefit of employees’ morale and motivation.
With that said, as we move through the gradual easing of restrictions and office spaces start to reopen, what does the new normal look like – and could remote working be here to stay?
Which industries are best suited to remote working?
There are arguments for and against home working across virtually every industry, with remote meetings and conferences presenting benefits and their own challenges depending on the number of participants and their ability to cease talking over each other and overloading the microphone system. In the creative industry in particular, as cited by many of the clients we work with here at Slate, remote working presents an opportunity to free up your workspace and immerse yourself in environments that inspire and influence your work – giving individuals space and freedom to work where they want to, and in a structure which works for them.
Remote working is also proven to increase productivity, can reduce business costs and help you to reduce your carbon footprint, as well as enabling a business to extend their talent pool and take on new recruits who are not geographically close to their business but whose values and skills align perfectly with the company.
As such, when it comes to ascertaining the industries best suited to remote working, the list is endless – it all comes down to the way you manage and communicate with your team and the way you support them as required.
The Challenges that business owners need to manage and unpack
For businesses, one of the biggest challenges they faced moving into the new normal of remote working during the pandemic came in the monitoring and management of tasks, however, most businesses have found that employees who are motivated and well supported are more than capable of managing their own time and responsibilities. It all comes down to trusting employees and having faith in their ability to prioritise and get the job done.
The simple fact is that remote working isn’t without its challenges, whether they be in relation to resources, teamwork, or motivation. While many creatives find the freedom of remote working to be a benefit, there are others whose work can suffer with a removal from the physical presence of a team, with the lack of people preventing them from being able to bounce ideas off of colleague and peers. A lack of the necessary resources is another challenge that can put a pause on certain work, with many employees finding they don’t have the infrastructure at home to complete the role to the best of their ability.
As a small business owner or employer your job is to support your team in overcoming these challenges and change the way you work in order to embrace the rise in remote working. A great way of understanding the challenges faced by your team is to communicate regularly with employees across every level of the business, both through smaller team meetings and larger company meetings. These kinds of virtual meetings provide individuals with an opportunity to touch in with the wider company and understand ongoing goals and tasks, get to know members of extended teams, and see where they fit into the company on a larger scale. Another option is to hold remote work training, which will aid line managers in ensuring that their teams are performing well and will aid employees in everything from creating a safe and comfortable workspace, to knowing who to contact if they are struggling.
Other areas to focus on as we continue under the “new normal”
One area which has consistently been put under the spotlight over the last few years, is the importance of mental wellbeing – particularly in the workplace, with businesses across all industries and levels being tasked with reassessing their attitude to mental wellbeing and team management in the workplace. Remote working presents challenges with keeping on top of mental health, and that is why it is so important for every employee to have access to both a direct line manager and someone in HR, who they can talk to on a regular basis.
Other things businesses can do is schedule in weekly or fortnightly meetings which are more related to team building than work-oriented goals and check in with employees regularly to find out how they are feeling and whether there is anything the business can do to support them.
Remember that the new normal of everyday life doesn’t just stretch to work – it has also changed the way that most people live their lives in a series of other ways. Our social lives have changed, financial situations have shifted, and many have experienced the harsh reality of the virus itself either themselves or within their family or friends. As a business, you should be focussed on how you can make sure that remote working both supports your business success and your individual employees, taking the time to ensure that resources and supportive management reach into every corner of the business.
We work with creative businesses across a range of services, from design to development, social media and so much more. We would love to hear about the solutions that your business has put into place to help manage and optimise the new normal of remote working – get in touch with us via our social media to share your initiatives and ideas.