Cyber WorkPlace

Remote collaboration consultants

24 Jan: Remote working memories

Post the Hatfield train crash:  plus the significant increase in my commute time; and since I hadn’t envisaged myself spending over 20 hrs travelling a week (and I was lucky that I could walk from Euston to my workplace which was just off Gower St!);  I approached my employer and asked about working from home.

It was a really interesting challenge as I knew that if I screwed it up I could ruin the chances for colleagues working alternatively i.e. not the conventional 9-5 pattern.  Also, although I thought that I could work from home, I wouldn’t actually know whether I could until I tried it.

To cut a long story short…. I started a 6 month trial in the spring of 2000.  This was followed by a ‘no-holes-barred’ review meeting between Me, my Director, and the Head of Personnel, resulting in amendments to the Staff Handbook.   The changes included an option for alternative working arrangements (at the discretion of the relevant Director).

The fundamental thing behind approval for working from home was TRUST.  Anyway…. here are some of the lessons learned.

  • Not everyone is suited to working remotely
  • Regular contact with colleagues is crucial
  • Some face-to-face contact with colleagues is important
  • Trust is paramount
    • from the manager to the remote worker – that they are actually working and delivering
    • from the remote worker to their manager – that they are connected and supported
  • Line management needs to change as you can’t just knock on the bosses door.  It’s important that the boss responds quickly to any calls for help or advice
  • Subordinates need to understand how you are working, and feel confident that you are ‘there’ when they need you
  • I arranged for two colleagues who worked with me most closely, to come on a visit.  It proved invaluable as they could visualise how I was working and they felt confident that they weren’t intruding when they called me.

So leap forwards 10 years and I had perfected the remote working thing!  Knew I could do it. My manager (s) knew I could do it.  My colleagues knew I could do it.  Plus, the people I worked on behalf of (members, volunteers and activists) knew I was doing it and applauded my employer for being so forward thinking.  Benefits all around.

NB: I mention the commute/working arrangements in a previous post.

Lyndsay (from a Nov 2011 post).


2 comments on “24 Jan: Remote working memories

  1. Pingback: 2nd Feb – Extreme remote working « Cyber WorkPlace

  2. Pingback: 10th Feb: Trust in the workplace « Cyber WorkPlace

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This entry was posted on January 24, 2012 by in Remote collaboration and tagged , , .
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