The number of people in the U.S. who are working remotely is continuing to go, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. With benefits such as improving job satisfaction rates to saving money, letting your employees work from home is something that is worth considering.
During the coronavirus crisis, the transition to working remotely is a crucial step for any business to ensure it will continue operating and to safeguard their employees’ wellbeing. Find some tips for working remotely to use with your employees here.
Create a Remote Work Policy
The first step in transitioning employees to work from home is to create a remote work policy. You need to ensure the policy is clear, so your employees understand without having to request the services of a lawyer.
Essentially, a remote work policy will define how employees will work in a remote setting and include things like software tools, productivity measurements, and working hours. The remote work policy that you create and use needs to be updated and reviewed at least one time a year.
Some of the topics this policy should cover include:
Who can work from home
How often this can be done
The requirements for working hours
What tools and software applications are used
Tracking for deliverables and time
When creating your company’s policy for remote workers, you may want to consult with internal stakeholders, such as legal, HR, team leads, and management. You need to make sure your employees have what they need to work from home and know what processes need to be put in place to manage the workforce effectively.
Set Up the Necessary Remote Working Tools
When creating your remote work policy, you may have defined the tools and programs your employees need to use in their day-to-day work. Ideally, you need to make sure your employees have the tools necessary to remain productive in their role for your company. You will also need to provide training if new tools are being used.
Prepare Your Managers
Management processes and practices are going to change when a workforce moves from a traditional office environment to a remote working environment. Team leaders and managers will have to make adjustments and relinquish some control while building trust. Be sure to collaborate with your team leaders and managers to determine what management strategy will work best for you.
Help Your Employees Get Started
As a team leader or manager, you need to provide guidance and support for your employees through the transition process and make sure you manage expectations. Be sure they understand all the new processes and that they have the tools needed to succeed. Even more important, make sure your employees know how to use the tools you have implemented.
It is also necessary to provide guidance to workers on how they should set up their home office. Be sure to provide support during this process. Not all employees are going to have the ideal environment to accommodate a home office and there may be some things you can do to help with this, like providing tips and equipment, along with best practices to create boundaries between home and work life. Also, make sure that they are set up on your payroll system that it won't be a problem for them to continue to clock in their hours from home.
Maintain an Open Line of Communication
When establishing guidelines for communication, you need to outline the frequency and types of meetings you will have. You need to make sure you schedule meetings regularly to keep social interaction and your company culture intact. It is a good idea to start these with some small talk. Ask your employees how they are doing and be sure you encourage them to share the experiences they have had while working remotely and how they are coping with this change. This interchange won’t only help your employees feel more connected to the business and team, but it will also offer everyone to share some of the best practices they have discovered.
After your meetings, it is smart to follow up with a chat or email message that covers the key points that were talked about during the meeting, how you plan to move forward, and what to expect at the next meeting. Make sure you always include a few words of motivation and appreciation.
As you can see, there are a few things you can do to help ensure that your employees are able to transition into a remote working environment. While things may seem rocking in the beginning, they will smooth out and become easier as time passes. Being informed and knowing what to do is the best way to ensure that your workers are successful while working from home.