How to make the WFH revolution work for you
Although not a new concept, the pandemic has revolutionised the way we look at remote working.
The pandemic quickly forced organisations to break down technological and cultural barriers in order to continue working. A year later ‘work from home’ has become the norm and has proven to be successful. According to ONS, in July 2020 as many as 30% of adults in the UK were working from home all the time. The statistic for tech and SAP professionals is most likely much higher, given the ability to carry out so many tech tasks remotely.
Will work from home remain after life goes back to normal after the pandemic? Having seen the success of it, according to McKinsey & Co, business leaders indicate that a remote working will be here to stay at least to some extent. What can you do to ensure the work-from-home-work-from-office mix is a success for your business? Read on for our best advice.
1. Know the benefits of WFH
Work from home has been found to benefit the employer as well as the employee. Studies have found that despite managers’ fears of a dip in productivity, work from home can actually increase productivity. Business Wire reports that remote working can increase productivity by 47%. With the lack of office distractions and being able to completely focus on work, this is an encouraging statistic for managers. In the SAP world, architecture plans require thorough planning and concentration. With the need to be able to focus on work, SAP professionals benefit greatly from working from a remote location, especially if you specialise in a particularly complex field, such as S/4 HANA.
Further to the ability to focus on work, work from home will continue to bring the advantages of an eliminated commute time and having everything ready at home. Studies show that nowadays, the average workday starts at 8:30am and finishes at 5:30pm. Professionals are able to dedicate the time they would otherwise use for commute either for work or for personal time, offering a better work life balance option. This can mean better sleeping habits, which in turn will lead to more productivity.
2. Know how to measure productivity
Measure productivity so that you can have the confidence your team is in fact doing what needs to be done. Agree on metrics to help you keep up with your workers’ progress. In SAP, this can be in the form of certain KPI metrics that you can set on a weekly basis. Think about the implementation of the project, what are the steps you expect your consultants to achieve in a week’s time? How quickly is the implementation being carried out? Is it carried out to the standard you would expect? Ask such questions and set defined goals each week so you and your employees can be on track to achieve them each week, whether working from home or the office.
3. Effective remote leadership
Although many people have worked from home successfully for nearly a year, there can always be improvements, especially when it comes to leadership of employees into more effective working from home. After the pandemic, with shifting to a hybrid model, it'll be more important than ever to continue building on the knowledge of how to manage teams both remotely and on-site, and how to mix both.
Some of the most effective strategies for remote leadership are to make effective use of technology and focus on outcomes. The office has practically gone virtual in the last year, taking advantage of the digital landscape to bring businesses forward. If you’re using MS Teams at work, make sure you know it inside and out, including creating groups, tagging your team and assigning tasks. Use tech to communicate with your team effectively and keep the focus on the general outcomes of tasks being given rather than the actions. This will give your team a sense of general direction, helping keep up the motivation levels as well as productivity.
Check out our blog about what you can do to manage a remote team better, and make sure to keep upskilling.
4. Keep up strong team engagement
Engagement in the team is a crucial part of a positive and motivating work environment. With employees working from home for extended periods of time, studies show this can take a toll on their mental health. As a leader of your team, you should keep this in mind and emphasise not just professional communication but personal as well.
Starting the day with a call to check in could be a great way not just to add a more personal touch to working remotely but also set the goals for the day and ensure all employees know their KPIs. Set up team groups for collaboration so they’re always in communication with their team about the projects they are working on.
If they’re not doing so already, encourage the HR team to conduct internal campaigns to support workers’ mental health during this period. In your catch ups with your team, ensure to ask how they’re doing personally so they know they’re not only supported professionally but their wellbeing is being looked after as well.
5. Rethink the location requirements
Do your employees need to be limited in where they choose to live based on where they work? Perhaps this is a thing of the past. ONS reports that during lockdown, as many as 1.6 million Londoners worked from outside of the city and 26% of them want to continue to work outside of the city after the pandemic. In the ONS report, 38% of Londoners felt that their jobs had previously stopped them from moving outside of the city. 33% say that flexible working would encourage them to move. Accommodating employees and offering more work from home time if they’re based farther away from your office could help attract more high quality candidates as well as retain your current staff.
Looking into the future, once the pandemic is over, we are likely to have a working model that is a hybrid between working from home and at the office. Business leaders have seen that workers do not need to be at the office to be productive, which enables them to cut costs on office space and rather invest in tech infrastructure. Furthermore, after having worked from home, employees will expect to have that option in the future so offering this option will be good for employer branding. What will the new normal look for your organisation?
RED have a talent base of over 200,000 SAP and tech professionals and we can help build an outstanding remote team for you. Click here to get in touch with a RED consultant. Visit our blog page and our Remote Working Hub to explore our career and business advice further.
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