Making the Most of Homeworking
Within the context of the Coronavirus lockdown, homeworking has provided an alternative and viable means of working for the many organisations that are still able to operate. Whilst the arrangements have been relatively successful, it is highly unlikely that they are sustainable in the longer term. In order for homeworking to work effectively organisations need to provide the correct environment and support. This will allow them to reap the many benefits of homeworking whilst avoiding the various downsides.
Some fundamental considerations for organisations to start with include:
- Creating a sustainable homeworking strategy – first and foremost organisations need to consider their unique needs and motivations for implementing or improving their homeworking policy. From there, formal guidelines, technologies and organisational arrangements can be established.
- Developing the right organisation – to be successful homeworking needs to operate in harmony with the rest of the organisation. This means thinking about homeworking within the context of each element of the organisation in order to properly align and embed the arrangements.
- Selecting the right jobs – not all jobs are suitable for homeworking. A key requirement is that jobs should be capable of being performed just as well by someone working at home. Suitable assessment criteria are required to test whether jobs can be feasibly done at home.
- Selecting the right people – the question of who is suitable for homeworking is more complex than that of which jobs are suitable. This needs to take into account the skills and needs of the worker, their manager and the impact that homeworking may have on their work colleagues and the organisation itself.
- Setting up the homeworker to work from home – homeworking brings about a distinct set of challenges in relation to the working environment. Home circumstances need to be considered closely to ensure the domestic arrangements are suitable for working safely at home.
- Managing homeworkers – how staff who work from home are managed will influence whether homeworking will be a success. Some of the key ingredients for managing productive homeworking include:
- Building trust between staff who work from home and their manager.
- Agreeing how work performance will be monitored and managed.
- Creating and continuing regular and clear channels of communication.
- Paying a great deal of attention to motivating homeworkers.
- Helping homeworkers overcome social and remote isolation.
- Ensuring that homeworkers get the developmental support that they need.
- Caring for the health, safety and wellbeing of homeworkers.
Making homeworking work isn’t just about providing robust technology and letting people get on with it. It is about clarity, purpose and connectivity. If you would like more information about implementing sustainable homeworking in your organisation, contact myHaswell on 0118 449 2829.
Dr Angela Ellam
Angela is a co-founder and Director of Haswell Analytics Limited. She has played key roles in the shaping and managing the myHaswell services.