Why planning is important for effective remote working

Planning and preparation are critical to developing a culture of high-performing remote working.

Failing to plan will affect the operational performance of the organisation and the personal performance of the employee.

The manager should focus on six key planning and preparation areas:
1. Laying the foundations
2. The remote working environment
3. The use of technology and support
4. The remote working experience
5. The remote manager expectations
6. The remote employee expectations

Remote management focus

1. Laying the foundations for remote working includes greater management focus on the logistical arrangements need to enable remote employees to work effectively.

Areas of focus will include technology requirements, software applications, networking capability and remote working guidelines from the organisation.

2. The remote working environment is an important factor towards maximising the productivity of the remote employee. For some people, working remotely may be an alien way of operating, particularly if they are used to working on-site.

Areas of management focus will include the organisation of personal workspace (for employees working from home), maintaining energy levels, personal motivation and concentrated effort.

3. The use of technology is critical to effective remote working. For many digital savvy employees this will be easy. For others though, the use of visual and verbal communication software and platforms may be more challenging.

Management focus will include direction regarding the use of technology and software linked to the needs of the business, at the right time, in the right job role scenarios.

4. Even though remote employees are working off-site; many working experience and performance principles remain the same.

The focus of remote managers will be around clarifying the role and responsibilities of employees, agreeing goals and priorities and maximising the use of their time.

5. Remote managers expectations are different from on-site managers. Inspiring and motivating remote employees places more emphasis on the remote manager’s ability to communicate effectively.

Their focus will be on identifying the barriers to effective virtual communication, the reasons for poor feedback from remote employees and how to develop a strong communication grapevine.

6. Remote employee expectations are also different to on-site personnel. Collective focus and personal discipline are important to effective remote working. Identifying the expectations of remote employees is crucial to morale, productivity and performance.

Remote managers will need to adapt their management style to the different needs of their people. This can only be achieved by listening to their thoughts and concerns.


It is important to involve remote employees in the planning and preparation of the six areas highlighted above. By doing this, greater accountability and personal ownership towards the goals and expectations of the organisation will be achieved.

Encourage your people to find a way of working remotely which brings the best out of them.

Invite them to share their input and ideas with other remote colleagues.

Best wishes on your development journey, wherever it may take you.

John Stein, Founder of the Fast Five Series.

Source: Managing Remote Employees eBook 2020 ©