Remote working has become a need for businesses all over the world. The coronavirus pandemic has urged enterprises to learn new ways of functioning remotely, which turned out to be a good step for businesses as well as employees. A study shows that businesses save almost 11,000 USD per employee annually that works remotely – this is on account of the reduced absenteeism, lower operational costs, and superior disaster management. Another study conducted by Stanford University found that remote workers are 13 percent more productive than their counterparts who work from the office.
While remote working offers numerous benefits, from adaptable planning to expanded efficiency, it likewise accompanies numerous difficulties. Keeping up with work relations and communication becomes excessively hard outside of the workplace.
As the pandemic keeps on affecting the way we live and work, every enterprise should review its remote working policies. In this guide, we have put together everything that you need to prepare for when letting your employees work from home.
- Schedule Work
The main principle for remote working is to set a work plan. A work plan helps you in organizing and structuring work, and limits the difference between remote working and working from the office. It also helps employees in separating their personal and professional lives and responsibilities.
- Figure out Who Can Work remotely
Contingent upon the kind of business that you run, a few positions may not be appropriate for remote work. Occupations that expect access to physical resources might not be right for telecommuting. For example, manufacturing factories might not be able to allow every employee to work from home; however, that is not the case when it comes to an office setting, most employees can be given the relief to work from home.
A few businesses have a rotating remote working schedule for employees. Half employees work one day from the office, half the other.
- Compile a Remote Work Strategy
As an employer, you need to compile a remote working strategy. Once you have decided the resources who shall work remotely, start working on the following:
- The expectations you have from each employee
- The standards for measuring productivity
- The equipment and resources needed by each position
- The methods and strategies for smooth communication
- The cybersecurity awareness and protocols
The objective of a remote work strategy is to set clear guidelines for your employees to follow. You would experience lesser hiccups if everyone stays on the same page.
- Set Clear Expectations
The strategy that you create ought to incorporate a rundown of the position that are qualified for working remotely, alongside the expectations you have from them. You also need to mention how many and which hours you need the workers to be available for correspondence.
You might want to have your remote employees be available during typical work hours or you may allow them to schedule their own hours. You may likewise expect them to come into the workplace on specific days. Alongside the work plan, the approach should cover the obligations of your employees.
- Track Productivity
While numerous studies show that remote working increases productivity, it is important that you track the output and productivity of your employees on a regular basis.
As such, you need to choose the metrics you want to use to track your employees’ productivity. This depends on the job type, for instance, you can track the productivity of a sales team by tracking their total number of sales and cold calls.
You can also ask your employees to report their daily tasks and progress every day, by the day’s end. This will allow you to manage the employees in a better way.
- Assign Equipment and Resources
Your employees will probably require some software or equipment to work remotely. It is recommended to not allowing employees to use their personal devices for work. This is on account of the security and confidentiality of your company files. Provide your employees with dedicated PCs preferably laptops. Depending upon the job, you might want to provide them with additional hardware and peripherals, however, most remote jobs require noise-canceling headphones.
The most important thing that you need to provide your remote workers is the internet. Without a reliable and stable connection, your employees would not be able to work properly. Many companies offer phone plans to their employees as well and if you do too, this is your chance to save some bucks. Bundle up phone and internet service for your employees to reduce bills and have them constantly available to you. This is a clear win. For this, you can try Spectrum bundles without signing any contracts, yet providing your employees with high internet speeds, unlimited data, a free modem, and a security suite.
If you do not want to come into the hassle of footing the bills, you can always choose the option to repay employees for their expenses.
- Strategize communication
Working from home makes correspondence somewhat difficult due to which efficiency can be affected. In the event that workers do not completely comprehend their jobs and obligations, they cannot fulfill your expectations.
To address the difficulties of communication when working remotely, create a set of rules. Determine the software and applications you want to use for circulating memos, file sharing, and other communications. The best teleconferencing apps include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Google Meet. Make sure that the apps you choose are available to every employee.
- Talk with IT to Address Security Concerns
Permitting employees to work remotely brings more IT security concerns, particularly when sending messages or sharing documents containing confidential information. Your IT office should audit any potential security issues beforehand.
Numerous businesses utilize Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to share documents safely. You should also provide your employees with a pack of antivirus and other security software. Alongside security concerns, work with IT staff to build up a specialized guide for remote workers.
- Share Your Remote Work Strategy with all employees
The strategy that you make ought to be shared with all the employees. All employees ought to comprehend their jobs and obligations and the duties of their colleagues for smooth operations.
Remember that a remote work strategy does not address every difficulty your employees might face working remotely. There are still some areas that you need to figure out:
- Employee relations
- Organizational culture
- Career progression
The Last Thoughts
Once you are done with implementing the remote work strategy, make sure to keep your employees connected and engaged. One important thing that often gets neglected is to treat all of your employees the same way, be it in-house workers or the ones working remotely. Keep a flexible attitude when it comes to remote working as many of your decisions might not yield output and so you would need to adapt accordingly. Allow yourself to adjust and revise the strategies on a need basis.