Flexibility and technology key for remote work to succeed
Offering remote work as an option to employees can serve as a powerful recruitment tool and one that can be easily implemented by organisations with the right resources, according to Naresh Khatri, Associate Professor of Health Management and Informatics in the School of Medicine at the University of Missouri.
Khatri suggested that the success of shifting to remote work depends on the flexibility of the organisation to adjust to individual employees and the technology available to them. In his guest editorial published in Personnel Review, he emphasised the importance of having strong HR and IT departments, and elaborated, “Regardless of where employees are working, these two departments are vital to a healthy workforce. Many organisations are embracing this newer option because it opens up the potential for more applicants and employees.”
Khatri analysed several studies and found that work completed by employees from home was not statistically different from work produced by employees in the office. In fact, no matter where they were working, employees were able to complete collaborative tasks with a similar level of quality and quantity.
He advised organisations to support HR and IT with funding and labour to better prepare for issues such as motivation and technical glitches that employees might encounter while working from home. HR practitioners should also tailor their motivational practices to ensure they meet the needs of their employees, including those who need to or would like to work from home, he said.
“People are different,” he concluded. “Some are more efficient when working from home, and some are more efficient being around people in the office. Either way, the workforce is changing. Industries are changing, and if organisations are preventing people from working from home, they are missing out a valuable way to expand their profits, personnel, and organisational health.”