Remote working is fast becoming the norm and we should measure up as a nation. Remote working is fairly new in Zimbabwe. Most employers are still sceptical of remote working; this trend is prevalent globally as well. Several limiting factors make remote working less desirable to many, particularly in Zimbabwe. In the minds of many, remote working entails sophisticated and costly hardware and software. However, that is not necessarily always the case; it does not have to be. That is why I am discussing a simple approach that can be used in Zimbabwe.
What Is Remote Working?
Before we proceed an understanding of remote working is the first thing. Remote working can be termed online working or teleworking. It is a practice by which people work from anywhere else other than the traditional physical company workplace or office, whichever applies. This means remote working does not just refer to working from home alone – a misconception many have. In remote working, the location from which you work can be anything. It can be a coffee shop, an internet café, a co-working space, a park, a public library, and so on. There is a simple way you can use to streamline remote working for your company.
Managing Workflows And Supervision
The greatest concern for many is effectively making sure employees are working. Most employers feel that not being in the same physical space makes them lose control. There is something that employers generally seem to forget at times though. When employees are working in a physical company workspace most of the time is not productive time. Did you know that? You would be amazed at how most of the 8 or so hours are spent on non-work-related activities. Yet at the end of the month, you have no issues giving them their salaries simply because they were there full-time in your sight. Then when it is remote working you get concerned about whether or not they maximizing their work time.
You see, it is a mindset issue at best. Why am I saying all this? In remote working, you must focus more on deadlines and results than time itself. Your measure of effectiveness or performance must be the completion of given tasks within the timelines agreed on. Whether someone finishes the required day’s work in 2 hours or 8 hours that should not bother you. This makes workflow management easy; there will not necessarily be a need for sophisticated software for clocking in and the like. If companies in Zimbabwe could appreciate this aspect I just covered here remote working would be easy.
This is another area that is riddled with challenges in pursuit of remote work in Zimbabwe. When doing intra-company meetings I do not see the need to insist on using platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and the like. There is nothing wrong with using those platforms. However, they tend to be problematic due to variables like internet connectivity, data costs, and other associated ones. Do you know that you can hold even more effective meetings exclusively via WhatsApp?
The problem lies in that some people think conducting a meeting via Zoom is a must. Yet in most cases, I have realized that Zoom meetings are seldom smooth and valuable time is lost. Via WhatsApp, you can systematically incorporate the use of text, voice notes, short video clips, photos or images, and even group voice calls. Using this platform can cut costs, and maximize meeting times. Even the sharing of files can be done on WhatsApp. WhatsApp is much more than what you think it is if you use it smartly.
Hybrid Or Blended Working
If you feel that exclusive remote working is a tall order then you can tone it down to hybrid or blended working. This entails using both remote working and onsite working. There are many possible ways of rolling this out. For example, someone can work remote for 2 weeks and then 2 weeks onsite. Another example can be some staff members working remotely full-time whilst others are full-time onsite. That way you get the best of both worlds. This is easy to implement and some big companies in Zimbabwe are already doing it.
There you have it, a simple approach to remote working in Zimbabwe. You do not need any sophisticated software and hardware; simply use what is easily available. You have emails, you have WhatsApp, and you have voice calls. At the very least these can suffice for a remote working regime in Zimbabwe. Anything beyond that will be a bonus.