Make Working From Home a Success

In these times of uncertainty, your company may have to rework certain policies and practices that have been in place. If your company didn’t have an official work-from-home policy before the COVID-19 outbreak, now may be a good time to create one. With the recent surge in telecommuting, we are reminded of the benefits for both employers and employees:

  • Employees who have the flexibility to work from home have a better work-life balance, lower commuting costs and less stress.

  • Employers can benefit by having less office space, lower overhead and a wider national recruiting base to find the best employees in their industry.

Working from home can work for everyone, but it’s important to have a policy. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Re-evaluate how to manage your staff

Just like any working environment, certain people are self-starters while others need direction and supervision. Set clear expectations about working from home, including measurable goals and clear ways to track your employees’ progress. Regardless of your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, a system of management check-ins is essential.

Establish a presence protocol

Anyone working remotely needs to be as available as they would normally be in the office. That includes meetings, performance reviews and other company events. When the time comes and your staff returns to a work environment, your policy should clearly define when they are required to be in the office.

Strike the right balance

If anything, during this time of new challenges, we’ve all had to become more flexible. Before employees return to their regular work environment, set the stage for when they can work from home.

  • Set a specific number of work-from-home days an employee can work in a given week (or month).

  • Consider important days you need your staff present (like a weekly team meeting) and build schedules around them.

  • Balance your needs and your employees’ needs when creating a schedule.

  • Be flexible to ramp up or ramp down your policies as everyone adjusts to a new normal.

Set clear expectations

Set realistic expectations for success and failure. This can include making certain that employees:

  • Have the technology needed to be remotely present.

  • Understand that work from home privileges may be discontinued if productivity decreases.

  • Know what hours to be available for customers, managers or colleagues.

Just as online shopping is a different experience than visiting a store, working from home can never replace the advantages of face-to-face interactions and social bonding that a work environment provides. Remote connectivity can be beneficial, but it can also be a dramatic change to your company’s culture. If your work-from-home policy is clear and well thought out, it can be a valuable perk that helps your employees feel motivated and appreciated. It may also help you attract top talent and add value to your company’s benefits.

COVID-19 Resources: Managing Your Business During a Crisis