Winter is coming. Can your staff work from home?

Winter months in the UK can sometimes come with severe weather conditions. It is quite rare to experience winter without hearing forecasts of ice or snow and weather warnings cautioning people to take care when commuting, or even to avoid commuting entirely.

Your staff may be unable to get into the office due to travel disruptions caused by bad weather, or some may feel unwell with cold-related illnesses, like the flu, and may feel unable to deal with the commute into the office. Before these issues arise, it is worth planning ahead, to ensure you have a business continuity plan in place that avoids or minimises disruption to your business if the wintery weather proves challenging.

One option is for staff to work from home. Remote working has become more of a workplace trend recently, though it can be challenging for managers to ensure that staff productivity, efficiency and communication does not diminish when working remotely. Here are three questions to consider to help you effectively implement remote working during winter:

  1. Is your IT system set up for remote working?

Remote working may be difficult if staff are unable to access the office systems from home or other locations outside the office. In fact, it may be impossible in paperless offices for staff to work from home without access to their electronic files.

You will need to consider whether your IT systems are set up for remote working and ensure the remote connections work as effectively as connections in the office.

  1. Are there clear procedures for reporting to management?

While supervising staff remotely can be challenging, if you put in place clear objectives, targets and procedures for staff to report back to you, setting directions for staff can work just the same way as in the office.

  1. Are there regular and clear channels of communication with staff?

To avoid disengagement with staff, consider how best to communicate with them on a regular basis. Modern technology provides many options, such as video conferencing, chat, email, texting and phone calls. These options can help you facilitate discussion and decision-making among staff and allow you to proactively seek out new roads and shape the direction the company takes, even if your workforce isn’t all in the same location.

While remote working can introduce some challenges, it also allows leaders to break with tradition and take up new, dynamic ways of working. For more information about how your leadership style can help improve team performance, whether your team are working from home or not, get in touch with us today.