Guest blog post from Capita
Working and managing teams remotely has been the norm for some of us for a while but not everyone relishes the prospect. For a lot of people, it’s a major cultural shift in how they work and manage a team, and they may feel much more confident and happier being in an office environment.
Carefully navigating these differences will help organisations to make sure that everyone is able to be as productive as possible while out of the office.
The urban myth is that everyone loves working at home and eagerly grabs any opportunity to avoid the commute and work in their pyjamas. But that’s not the case. Capita’s end user research in 2019 found that nearly a third (29%) of employees prefer not to work remotely and 12% see no benefit to it at all. 
From a team management perspective, there is evidence that certain demographics feel more comfortable with this arrangement than others. Research by human resources research firm Inavero and freelancing website Upwork revealed that 74% of millennial and Gen Z managers have team members who work a significant portion of their time remotely, versus 58% of baby boomers. They’re also twice as likely as baby boomers to invest in technologies to support remote working.
With all of this in mind, it’s really important that all members of the workforce come together and support one another. Those who are more confident – either through experience or desire – could help those who are not to build their confidence in their ability to work remotely successfully.
It’s also really important that managers find ways to keep their team members engaged and to recognise early on when people are feeling isolated, so they can keep their performance high without resorting to micromanagement. If, as a manager, you have concerns about team members’ productivity while they’re working remotely, talk to them and collaborate with them on building objectives that focus on outcomes – recognise them for what they achieve, not how they achieve it. This will help them to feel part of the solution and will help to bring your team closer together even if they’re physically further apart.
Clearly, technology plays a vital role in enabling all of us to work effectively from home. Collaboration tools like Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google’s G Suite are easy to deploy and manage, while offering excellent functionality to ensure people can easily work remotely and continue to collaborate effectively. Although they’re easy to set up, some people find it a challenge to get the most from them because they require changes in behaviour, such as sharing documents with each other rather than emailing them as attachments. For this reason, when you introduce these tools, support and encourage your team as they learn how to use them effectively and try this new approach.
Although there will be bumps in the road from this enforced change, we can take a lot of positives from it too. We are all at home more, which means less time in our cars commuting, which is good for our planet and, in some instances, our sanity! We have a great opportunity to define how we work differently, which means we can all play a part and tailor it to our individual needs and preferences.
And, once this is all over, we’ll already be back to business as usual and the only decision to be made then will be where and how everyone will want to work. Will those who didn’t enjoy remote working now want to? Will those who did enjoy it at the start no longer do so? Have organisations that didn’t encourage remote working seen enough productivity and engagement to now feel confident enough to do so? This will be when organisations can take the next step and really get to grips with agile working, setting people free to work productively whenever and however they want focused firmly on high performance and valuable objectives.
 Capita End user Survey (2019)
 How millennials and Gen Z are reshaping the future of the workforce: https://cnb.cx/3bvbTqv
This is an advertorial in issue 19 of In our View. Read the whole issue here: https://socitm.net/download/higher-marks-for-homeworking-issue-19/
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