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Remote Working in the Festive Period

The Festive season is nearly upon us!  As you begin to plan the office party don’t forget to plan how your business will continue to run over the festive period.

What is your plan for snow or bad weather meaning your employees can’t get into the office? How will you cope over the Christmas period when your employees all request time off?

One solution is to allow your employees to work remotely.  You can implement this option by providing a platform for employees to undertake their work without having to be present on the work premises.

What Is Remote Working?

Remote working utilises technologies to enable staff to perform their role without having to physically be in the office.  These include the sending and receiving of emails, connection to the office network, teleconferencing facilities for remote meetings and call diversion.

In a nutshell remote working allows the majority of employees with a telephone, laptop and a broadband connection to do all the things they are able to do in the office from any location in the world.

Downsides

As with everything there can be some negatives to remote working.  It is harder to manage employees, harder to garner collaborative working and you do have to have a great deal of trust in your staff to work unsupervised.  Though if you ensure that all your staff are easily contactable when working remotely, that you have a clear remote working policy/guidelines in place and that your staff spend some time in the office then you will have little to worry about.

People respond positively to trust; employees shown more trust and given more empowerment will more often than not reciprocate with more loyalty and effort.  Whilst users working from home may not do a typical 9-5 day, they will often be more productive without the distractions of the office, meaning an increase in output.

Security can also be an issue but there are many basic, simple measures that can be put in place to counter the threat.  Strong security regulations and guidelines should be put in place with employees understanding that it is mandatory to comply with these as well as following basic good practices (i.e. lock laptops, password protect important documents, strong passwords on devices, changing passwords regularly, backing up data etc).

Technology

There are so many options with regards to technology and working from home.  Many companies now have a VPN (Virtual Private Network) which allows a user to remotely access their work machine, meaning they can literally use their work machine from anywhere with a secure internet connection.  This holds significant advantages in terms of having relevant software installed, cutting down on the need for extra licenses to have software installed on several machines, as well as increasing security as company firewalls and systems remain in use.

You don’t have to have fancy systems to enable people to work remotely though – remote access is simple and the use of systems such as Skype allows people to stay in contact and even enables video calls to keep that face-to-face communication going.  Online and Cloud-based storage solutions enable access to files remotely as well so users literally have all they need to be effective.

Benefits

Although it may seem scary to allow your employees to work remotely studies show that allowing staff to work remotely increases productivity and strengthens staff loyalties.  This is due to the flexibility and efficiency remote working offers.  When implemented correctly remote working allows employees to work at times that were previously impractical to them and to work in the time they would normally be travelling to the office.

There are also practical benefits to the business to remote working – less people in the office means less office space is required.  This could bring significant savings in rental and other associated workplace costs.

So this Festive period don’t shy away from this new way of working, embrace it; implement a remote working solution for your employees.  That way no matter what the weather or Christmas commitments everyone will still be able to work.

You may also like our recent blog ‘MOT for your IT’… for our 5 Top tips keep your systems running smoothly: http://jfls.com/hints-and-tips/mot/

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