Organisations across the globe have had to rapidly change how they operate in the face of a global pandemic. Many employees have, as a result, found themselves working from home. For some, this is familiar territory—as many as 68 percent of Australian employers allowed remote work in 2019—for others, this is the first time they’ve managed remote teams.
One of the most significant ways that employers can combat the uncertainty and confusion that goes with this forced change is to establish a work-from-home policy. Not only will this be helpful in setting expectations and standards in the short term, but as remote work is likely to continue at a greater rate even after the coronavirus pandemic, this will help set your organisation up for the future.
1. Define processes and expectations
The first step to creating a work-from-home policy is to define the processes and expectations that accompany remote work. How often can employees work from home? Who should they inform? How do they communicate this with colleagues and clients (if necessary)? Are they allowed flexibility around which hours they work as well? What tools should they use for communication with colleagues and clients when working remotely? Are there particular days or weeks when they’re expected to be in the office?
Establishing tools and documents that help with this, such as an online calendar, remote work request form and working hour guidelines and limits, as well as the right communication tools, will help to make this a smooth process and keep everyone on the same page.
2. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
While offering flexibility to employees is, you still need to meet your business goals. Establishing KPIs is crucial for management to assess whether productivity improves, falls or is consistent regardless of where a professional is working. This then allows you to decide whether to roll our remote working more extensively in your organisation.
An additional benefit of KPIs is that they give your employees a target to work towards that motivates them and keeps them connected to the team goals, even if they’re not physically with their team.
3. Provide employees with the tools to succeed
It’s vital that workers are given the right tools to work remotely. This could range from a laptop or mobile device, rather than a desktop computer, to additional antivirus technology to minimise cybersecurity risks. Ensuring that they are fully equipped is the minimum requirement for any business offering remote working.
Beyond material benefits, it is also important to ensure that employees’ work is humanised as much as possible. Contact via webcams or video conferences helps to add a human touch, which reduces the risk of loneliness when working from home. Regular contact in this way should be outlined in any policy to guarantee that managers and colleagues alike fulfil this requirement.
4. Communicate your policy clearly
Communicating this kind of policy with the utmost clarity is essential. Telecommuting is not simply a one-way street. While it brings benefits to the company to have workers based at home, such as productivity and cost-efficiency, the prospect of remote work could cause anxiety for workers or and can even increase household bills for them.
Clearly communicating your policy and what is expected of workers, as well as how they will be supported, will go a long way to allaying fears and encouraging employee buy-in. Being open to feedback from your staff as they adjust to working from home can also lead to process improvements, and ensure that both your organisation and your workers are getting the most out of your remote working arrangement.
For more information on remote working best practices, infrastructure and more, visit our Remote Work page.
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