Is remote working here to stay?
Are workers more or less productive when working remotely? That’s the question on many business leaders' minds as we continue to navigate a post-pandemic world. While hybrid working has its pros and cons, with 46 percent of Australian employees working from home in some capacity (according to an April 2022 survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics), remote working is here to stay, and it’s up to us, as employers, to adapt.
Here’s how we’re making it work at Royal Wolf.
Trust and responsibility
For remote working to be effective, employees need to have a sense of responsibility. Many workers recognise that being employed by a strong business provides job security, and they don’t want to jeopardise that, so they are generally productive when working from home. At the same time, remote working requires employers to have an inherent trust of the employee. At Royal Wolf, we’ve found that allowing our workers to work remotely about two days a week has had a positive impact on our business. We’ve also found that thanks to the flexibility hybrid working provides, we have fewer staff members requesting to work part-time, as they are more easily able to juggle work with other responsibilities such as parenting.
Learning from each other
That said, there are benefits to being in the workplace, especially when it comes to learning. The 70:20:10 Learning Model, which is widely used around the globe, suggests that the majority of our learning takes place on the job, with a further 20 percent through social interactions such as coaching and mentoring, while more formal learning programs account for just 10 percent.
To help support new employees, at Royal Wolf, we’ve recently implemented an informal “buddy” system, which is part of our comprehensive induction program. This has been effective in helping new starters, especially those who are working remotely, better understand their role and the company, by providing someone to talk to if they need help. One of our core values is a “passion for people”, so we also support regular team check-ins to facilitate two-way communication, professional growth, and teamwork.
With water-cooler conversations fewer and further between, it’s important for teams to make time to connect in person. We encourage people to come to work for events like our Wolf Pack Day, R U OK Day, International Women’s Day, Harmony Week, and Movember, where everybody puts their tools down and has some fun together.
With a remote workforce, it’s also crucial to consider how you communicate. I’ve found that company communication has to be more frequent and succinct. By making our written communication engaging and informative, we are better able to connect with our employees. In general, however, talking face-to-face (whether on video or in person) is more effective than an email or chat message, which can be misinterpreted.
So, while there are some challenges to be overcome, with the right technology and programs in place, employers can make remote working work for them and their staff.