The current situation
Remote working, often working from home, has been common practice in some sectors for several years. As communications and technology advanced, the ease of working away from the office or business premises has become easier. ‘Hot-desking’ became popular in the early noughties but over the last 10 years, the ability to work remotely has been a more realistic and practical option, particularly for field-based teams.
The Office for National Statistics data shows there was a gradual increase in the number of people working remotely, going up by 12.35% between 2012 and 2016. In April 2020, statistics released by the ONS showed 49.2% of adults in employment were working from home, due to the social distancing measures introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic. That equates to approximately 18 million people working from home or other remote location for most of their working time.
This represents a huge shift in working practices and the urgent need to provide the right support, training, and conditions for people to be effective and productive, which for many, is a completely new way of working.
With such a shift in working practices, one view is things will return to ‘normal’ when the pandemic is under control and people can return to their previous workplace. However, two key things have happened –
- Many employers, including some of the biggest companies in the world, have come to realise that most of their employees are just as, if not more productive, when working away from offices and other communal workplaces. This situation was forced on employers, and preconceptions about individuals not working effectively have largely been dispelled. If the conditions are right, working remotely can be more productive and can reduce company costs considerably. Therefore, many employers are looking for remote or blended models for the long-term. For example, Google have given all employees up to US$1,000 to help them set up home offices.
- Working from home is not just a straightforward physical moving to a different location. Neither is it just thinking about the physical set up such as a quiet space, reliable connectivity etc. There is a real need to understand the personal and professional standards required, the ways communication with colleagues and clients changes, being an effective member of workplace digital communities and how to be creative and innovative.
Here at Imagine Performance, we thought about how we can support employees as quickly as possible in a simple way, that allows them to focus clearly on what is important when working remotely. In consultation with a number of industry experts and have made available a free, new app, Perform™.
Perform allows an individual to record quickly and easily when they are demonstrating the behaviours needed to work effectively. A record of an employees behaviours can also be sent to line manager to demonstrate what they have been achieving.