AgriFutures Rural Women's Award Winner
The 2019 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award National Winner, Jo Palmer is a remote work advocate and founder of Pointer Remote Roles. During COVID-19 she has been inundated with requests for support from companies moving to remote work.
As many businesses and workers now consider the unfamiliar world of “working from home” Jo Palmer is optimistic there is a silver lining to these challenging times.
“Talk about a crisis to make people look at remote work as a legitimate way to do things,” said Jo Palmer.
As Jo knows only too well, rural, regional and remote areas in Australia hold a wealth of highly qualified and experienced professionals and much of this talent is sitting idle, particularly among women. Pointer Remote Roles provides a valuable pathway for companies, corporations and government agencies to fill positions with the best candidate for the job, regardless of where they live.” Based in The Rock, near Wagga Wagga, Jo Palmer personally demonstrates that location is no barrier for individuals looking to create impact, innovate and make a difference.
Her vision enables others to also contribute to the prosperity of rural and regional Australia. Initially inspired by her own network of highly-qualified professional friends, many unable to make the most of their skills as a result of living in regional areas.
“This mad rush to ‘go remote’ has the potential to open up a can of worms that organisations haven’t thought of before,” said Jo Palmer.
“There are some serious considerations that business owners and managers need to take into account.”
So here are Jo’s top tips to help business owners and managers survive working from home:
Work Health and Safety implications for your team
Managers are still responsible for the safety of their staff, even when they work from home. It is management’s responsibility to ensure that workspaces are safe so you don’t have Workcover come knocking if there is an incident.We recommend having a WHS Audit of your team’s home offices as soon as possible. With many organisations being thrust into remote work situations for the first time, we understand that there is much confusion and uncertainty. The most important consideration is the WHS implications for your employees working from home.
Collaboration and communication
If you’re used to being in the office, incidental collaboration and communication usually happens in person. This does not automatically transfer to the virtual world. Collaboration and communication takes effort, consideration and negotiation when being done remotely. I suggest come up with a Remote Communication Strategy or Policy so everyone is on the same page.
Culture and inclusion
Maintaining (or completely reshaping) your company culture needs to be front of mind when working in a distributed team. Regular check-ins to ensure everyone is feeling supported is vital. Boundaries around work expectations need to be set and there also needs to be a huge amount of consideration, patience and understanding being demonstrated throughout your organisation. Many will be working with kids at home or other caring responsibilities, so take it easy on your team and ensure that you are showing empathy.