Tips from an HR expert: the remote office

Tips from an HR expert: the remote office

We speak to Else-Marie Lång, a senior HR consult about what it means to work remotely.

What does it mean to work remotely full time? 

The concept of remote work has become more commonplace during the pandemic in order to make it easier for both employers and employees. I think that during this time, many employers have not considered any long-term consequences or how to handle remote work in the long-term. It has been a trial period for both parties.

Working remotely on a permanent basis means that both parties must agree on what that means, how it should be regulated in the employee’s contract and also understand any work environment issues.

What benefits and challenges have you experienced with this work model? 

For many employees, it has clearly been beneficial. For example, saving the time they would have spent commuting, being able to pick up their children on time or working alone and being able to concentrate better. Another benefit is being able to organise your workday yourself to some extent.

For others, it has been demanding. For example, for those who live in a small home, have children at home during the day or have partners who also work from home and therefore need an office space too. It may be difficult to draw a line between work and leisure and you can end up also working evenings and weekends. You never feel off-duty.

For companies, it can lead to difficulties in communication between departments, groups and individuals. Sometimes when working remotely you find that information only flows one way, from the top down, and communication and development between colleagues may worsen.

What does the future hold for remote working? 

I think we will see more models for remote work in the future. Many companies will probably accept their employees working partly from the office, partly from home or elsewhere. But it is important to figure out how to maintain a "team feeling", how to participate in the company's values ​​and culture and how to transfer knowledge and skills to new employees.

Some employers will probably reduce their office space as the number of people working from the office on a daily basis will decrease. We may also see companies that completely remove their offices and instead rely only remote work or "co-working spaces".

What’s your best tip for remote work?

As an employer, you should set out a formal policy for remote work. It’s also important to stay up to date on rules and regulations around homeworkers and the responsibilities of the employer. You can get the latest guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Make it easier for employees to get good technical equipment and office furniture in their homes.

Remember, it is the responsibility of both the employer and the employee to continuously monitor how remote work is going and make adjustments if necessary.

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