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Remote working – is it now the future for your company?

EMC’s guide to a successful approach considering the benefits and challenges!

By Carl Fillery

Covid-19 has brought the topic of remote working sharply into focus as companies are being forced to innovate in order to run their businesses.  Some are discovering ways they had not imagined could be achieved remotely.  Home working and serviced offices were always predicted to significantly grow, one can only imagine that growth will be even higher now?

The unprecedented quarantine on billions of people globally and the advances in communication technology has meant that many can remain in touch whilst being apart… “It’s life Jim, but not as we know it”.  For businesses there is the immediate response and challenge of how to continue.  Then there will be the questions afterwards about what is the best way to work going forward both for the individual and the employer!

Having successfully delivered change management projects during times of crisis and implemented initiatives to working environments all of which resulted in large parts of organisations becoming remote workers, we are sharing a few of the pro’s, con’s and tips to successfully implement remote working strategies.


Positives of remote working are:

Increased productivity – comfortable environments, convenience, less interruptions can result in improved focus and performance.

Financial impact – reduction in overheads with savings on travel, the provision of facilities and office requirements.

Attraction to a larger pool of talent – access to a greater geographical footprint or people who prefer not to travel or need to work from home.  This will help loyalty and retention.

Improved motivation – flexibility of hours with employees being able to better balance life and work demands.

Fewer Sick days –  less contact with colleagues in the office reduces the sharing of illnesses.  Employees with the mildness of symptoms are still inclined to carry out work if working from home.

Organisation flexibility – ability to locate sales staff near clients.  Easier to relocate or reorganise the company in times of change and being able to scale up or down to cater for growth and demand.

In some circumstances the opposite could apply to these advantages.  For example, costs could increase if not managed.


Negatives of remote working are:

Performance management – issues and challenges with managing and monitoring.

Security risk and responsibilities – health and safety standards, data and security challenges are harder to control and manage.

Not all people & roles suit home working – working from home suits some jobs better than others and different personality types.

Problems with moral and employee development – employees may feel unnoticed or part of a team. There could be difficulty in maintaining staff development and upgrading skills.  Retention due to team bonding will not be as strong.  However, if managed well an employees well-being could improve.

Communication problems – increased feelings of isolation amongst home workers.  Only communicating when needed reduces real communication.

Motive – home working should not just be a substitute for childcare or not working efficiently.

The spread of home and remote working is opening up a new range of possibilities for the way businesses can work and structure themselves with the potential to transform results if done right!  Technology and VR are also starting to provide wonderful platforms to assist.  There are a number of elements to consider and seeking help and further guidance maybe sensible.


With the benefits and issues in mind here is a guidance summary of some key themes when considering the impact of remote working for your operation:

  1. Legal requirements: Amend terms and conditions of employment. Review your business insurance to cover equipment and liabilities of employees in their homes.
  2. Communication expectations: Employees could feel a sense of isolation and this is one reasons remote working may not be successful.  It is important to put formal systems in place to ensure people feel part of a team.  This could be in the form of office attendance days or one day a week in the office for example.
  3. Roles and abilities: When reviewing if an employee could work remotely or from home, you should think about if the job is suited to this.  The employee is also likely to need skills in a number of key areas including time management and reporting.
  4. Data security: You should have in place clear polices and control procedures.  Employees must comply with these and with data protection principles.  Make clear that the equipment you provide is for business use only.  You should also install the appropriate software and clear protocols for accessing your network.
  5. Health and safety responsibilities: Your responsibilities do not stop because an employee is now working remotely and not based at a work premises. You need to ensure equipment is fit for purpose, the environment is safe and lighting levels are appropriate to name a few.
  6. Equipment provision: You are likely to be responsible for providing, installing and maintaining all equipment.  Items you need to provide may include a desk, chair, printer and PC.
  7. Employee performance and development:Support and training needs to be in place for employees working remotely to develop the skills they need, for example, time management or writing reports.  Monitoring employees’ performance is also important to ensure targets are being met.

Carl Fillery is a Director of the EMC Growth Team and has helped a number of businesses successfully deliver great operating models. Carl recently managed a project for a traditional 9-5 office based business to enable a large number of the 300 plus work-force in being able to work remotely.  Overheads reduced, client servicing improved, IT security and capability improved, attracted new talent and productivity increased.

EMC have a number of experts and specialists to be able to assist.  If you would like any further information on this or would like to have an informal non-committal conversation  please contact Carl Fillery on M: 07738 028232 E: or the Hove office on +44(0) 01273 945984

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