Establishing a Work from Home Plan – Employer Version

In part one of our series on working from home, we discussed the many benefits, mainly from an employer’s perspective, of having the ability to work from home.  Allowing employees to work from home can increase employee productivity, employee engagement and possibly most rewarding, employee satisfaction.

The fact is times are changing and technology has dramatically changed how we do business locally and on a global scale.  The need to have the ability to have a work from home options is not a matter of if, but a matter of when…  Chances are if you do not have a work from home or telecommuting policy your competitors do.  In order to adapt to these changing conditions you should look at establishing a work from home policy that benefits your organization and your people.  The fact is upward of 40% of workers will be self-employed by 2020, so your HR team must be prepared to deal with this shift.  Part of this means having the ability to attract talent by offering the ability to work remotely.

The article referenced above goes on to state that:

“Brands will need to transition from being the owners of ‘work dungeons’ to the providers of business technologies that allow a much bigger and more powerful gig workforce to do their best work,” he added. “Being at the forefront of the transition to this recruitment approach will spell the difference between success and failure for a company in the open economy of the decades ahead.”

So whether it is for freelance talent or for your “in-house” employees, establishing a remote working policy will be required.  How you plan the spaces that your team works in will require some thought and why not be proactive and plan for it now.

Establishing a Work from Home Policy

Prior to establishing your work from home policy, think of who the policy will apply to.  You might want to consider establishing protocol based on the following scenarios:

  1. Establish a policy for third party freelance talent that you will be working with
  2. Establish a policy for your actual employees who will be working from home

The focus of this article is on the later.

A couple of things to consider when planning your work from home policy:

  • How often will employees be able to work from home? More specifically consider your options of allowing employees to work from home on a full-time basis or only on a specific # of days.
  • Consider the roles that it makes sense to offer the option of working from home. Not all roles may be conducive to being able to work from home.
  • Determine what equipment and infrastructure that you will need to set up in order to make working from home a reality.

When mapping out a work from home policy there are really four things that should be covered:

  1. Expectation for getting the work done– the work still needs to get done, this does not change if your team is working remotely or is in the office. At the end of the day the work needs to get done.  Have clear expectations for the work and ensure that the employee is clear on these expectations, timelines, and deadlines.
  2. Be Available – out of sight, out of mind does not mean that you are not available when you work from home. With your policy place some of the responsibility for the remote workers to let people know when they will not be available, this could include little things like setting their Skype (or other communication tool) status to available or away, or working from home today etc.  Clients still come first so ensure that even if you are working from home, that you must be available for client meetings (during regular business hours).  You need to be able to talk to your employees when needed, technology makes a lot of this possible, but remote employees need to be responsible for being available.
  3. Open Communication – with remote workers, communication becomes even more important.  Just as if they were in the office, actively seeking input and feedback from employees is a must.  Make it easy for remote workers to communicate with other workers, management and clients.  Ensure that remote workers are active in the communication process and have the ability to communicate if they are stuck on something, require some additional support or resourcing etc.  From a performance perspective, they will still need to set personal goals and targets and should be reporting on these on a regular basis.  Working remotely may mean that stronger communication is required on behalf of the remote worker.
  4. Empowerment – trust in your team is a large part of having a work from home option. You have to trust that your employees are going to get their work done, be focused, be there for the clients and be there for their teammates.  Have your remote workers be aware of the policy, have them sign it and revisit it bi-annually or annually so that clear expectations are set with regards to your company’s work from home policy.  At the end of the day work with your employees to define your telecommuting policy and monitor what works best for your organization and for your employees

There are a number of benefits to having a work from home policy.  Setting clear expectations and having a clearly defined policy will ensure that your team and your organization get the most of what they need out of telecommuting and working from home.  Technology has made it possible to work virtually, but this may come with a slight change to your company’s culture.  Plan your workspace according and establish a work from home policy that meets the needs of your organization and of your team.

Are you an HR Manager who needs some HR consulting, setting up a work from home policy or simply needs some recruiting assistance? Contact Aspire Recruitment Solutions at 778-484-0161.

Aspire Recruitment Solutions is the leading human resource solution and employment agency provider to clients in Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, Northern BC and Alberta. We connect great employers with the best candidates every day.