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Australian managers are not equipped to deal with remote workers and yet they are relying on them more than ever


New research by global workplace provider Regus has revealed that 80 per cent of Australian small businesses have shifted their focus to measuring employee outputs rather than time spent in the office – yet less than half (44 per cent) of firms are offering senior management special training in supervising a remote workforce.

This latest research, that surveyed over 1,000 respondents, revealed that over half of Australian professionals (54 per cent) now work away from their main company office for at least half of the working week.

Newly appointed Regus CEO for Australia and New Zealand, John Henderson, said it’s clear that management skills need to rapidly evolve to accommodate this prevalent shift towards a more remote economy.

“This latest research proves, now more than ever, the significant uptake in companies adopting flexible working practises to further enhance their business outputs,” he said.

“Respondents have claimed that working remotely can help improve their customer service as they are able to react more efficiently, and also help increase brand visibility as they can set up closer to their customer base. With this in mind, it’s apparent that we need to upskill management to ensure both parties understand and take advantage of this new working culture.”

What else did this Regus research find out?

Additional key findings from the small business respondents included:

  • 63 per cent currently manage individuals or a team who work remotely at least some of the time
  • 78 per cent claimed that senior managers are more productive if they can work flexibly
  • 42 per cent said that junior employees became more responsible and disciplined through remote working
  • 63 per cent revealed that firms use flexible working as a tool to improve employee retention and attract top candidates
  • 71 per cent said that senior management trusts that remote working can be productive
John Henderson
John Henderson

John continued, “The Regus data shows that there is clearly an imbalance between the number of people currently charged with managing a remote team of workers, and those who are trained and equipped with the skills to do so.

“While the shift for flexible working has been heavily influenced by personal agendas – such as the demand for a healthy work:life balance – it’s also crucial that the business as a whole sees the benefits of this.

“With successful remote management processes implemented, small businesses can become much more agile with improved productivity, better staff retention and lower operating costs.

“Our research revealed that over half of the respondents felt it was difficult to have an informal exchange with remote workers, so these are factors that have to be addressed. Implementing technology, such as remote-accessible servers and cloud-based messenger tools, is one way to counteract this.

“The key to being a successful remote manager is about building trust with your team, creating an element of accountability and offering rewards and incentives for those who are bringing value to the company.”