Clear goals key to working remotely

Giving employees clear expectations and regular communication are the key to successfully working from home, a Dunedin expert says.

As an increasing number of people shift to working from home in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, University of Otago management lecturer Paula O’Kane said employees needed clear direction from their managers about their expected output.

New Zealand had generally shied away from a working-from-home model.

Many big companies were now having to get their heads around how it could be made to work.

"At a general level, people often report they get more done in a shorter period of time," Dr O’Kane said.

"It can be quite positive."

Employees needed clear expectations set around when they would be working, what they should get done during that time, and how they would communicate with their colleagues and managers.

But it also could have its challenges.

Social isolation was one, and it was important for managers to keep communicating with their employees, she said.

In the Covid-19 situation in particular, there could be challenges around people having children and partners also staying home.

"That balancing act can be quite difficult for people working from home."

Some office supply companies have started offering work-from-home packs to clients.


If there's anything positive in this virus situation then it is forced large-scale remote work experiment. Long daily commutes for office and knowledge workers who only need a computer and stable internet connection is insanity. Hopefully many employers will learn the benefits and remote work option will last longer than the outbreak.



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