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How Do You Feel About Remote Working?

How Do You Feel About Remote Working?
13 March 2020 | Updated 17 March 2020

In 2019, a joint-research project from Gensler and the British Council of Offices (BCO) on the rise of flexible workspace in the UK corporate sector discovered that that 40% of flexible space users would rather work from a conventional office.

However as it stands currently, many of us will be encouraged to avoid the office altogether.

With the government now advising that if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of COVID-19, then all household members must stay at home for 14 days, working from home in the UK is set to rise over the next few weeks.

This will see a new influx of remote workers, and perhaps many who have never before had the opportunity or need to do so.

For those businesses already au fait with flexible working and managing those who work remotely from home, this is not such a disrupting factor. As ThisWeekinFM reported, large companies such as Sir Robert McAlpine is championing a new non-reliance on the 9-5,  bucking against the constraints of traditional and rigid working arrangements.

When working from home feels like new territory, and has to be implemented urgently, things can feel uncertain for both staff and employers. 


Urgently need your staff to work from home? Try these 5 tips


Luis De Souza, CEO of NFS Technology Group, has worked in the workspace management technology sector for several years. When it comes to enabling remote working, here are his five ways to achieve success and keep staff productive:


  1. Don’t panic: The virtual world has become such a big part of our daily lives (shopping, Facebook, twitter, helping with homework…) that making the transition to digital working from home is psychologically simple. It won’t exactly be business as usual, but it’s definitely do-able.
  2. Assess practicalities: What devices will your people work on? Do they have the necessary functionality and bandwidth? Will some need to borrow equipment or need software updates? Decide your requirements and run an audit.
  3. Be secure: It’s not only humans who get viruses. If you don’t have good protection for your key networks, it won’t be helped by homeworkers perhaps accessing it via their own devices, or using unencrypted memory sticks. Set up protocols and secure practices immediately, and make sure every member of staff is aware of how important it is to stick to them.
  4. Think wellbeing: Encourage everyone to be coronavirus-aware, of course, but be aware that working from home can feel isolating and lonely. Use collaborative tools such as Skype to bring workers together virtually, and allow chat time. Managers should catch up with each person at least once a day on an informal basis, but also you should establish a formal process for communicating important information – you could use video or audio conferencing, emails, intranet postings and newsletters.
  5. Monitor productivity: Many people find working from home makes them more productive, but there are others who will be prone to distraction (or simply keen to loaf). Deal with this by setting clear and realistic deadlines for projects, and monitoring outcomes.


The unexpected effect of Coronavirus


De Souza added that he was hopeful that lessons would be learned in how to successfully implement a more agile working culture:

“We don’t know how long the Coronavirus crisis will last, or even how bad it will be.

“But one thing is for sure. In dealing with it and finding practical ways to carry on, we’re learning valuable lessons about how to work.

“Could Coronavirus, once beaten, actually be ushering in a whole new world of agile working? We sincerely hope so – and in the meantime, be safe.”

Picture: With the government now advising that anyone with a new, continuous cough or high temperature self-isolates for at least seven days, to help delay the spread of COVID-19, working from home in the UK is set to rise over the next few weeks.​

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 13 March 2020


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