A lot has changed since COVID shut the world down in March of 2020, but the most significant change is businesses have revamped to include remote business practices. By May of 2020, nearly 70 percent of people were working remotely and by the time we reach endemic, that number could stay as high as 40 percent, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
Preparing your workforce to work exclusively from home or in a hybrid environment is not simply a matter of expecting your employees to check in for zoom meetings and assuming that staff is getting work done. So, what should supervisors, business owners, and HR personnel do to ensure that company dollars aren’t wasted on people taking advantage of working from home?
Here are a few key business practices to consider when creating a remote business plan:
With so many members of your staff working from home, it can be difficult to check in without them feeling micromanaged. To help both you and your staff succeed in this new setting, consider crafting a remote contract. Of course, you don’t have to write a new contract each time you hire someone new, you can just use a remote employee contract template.
Many companies and organizations rely on contracts that provide expectations for work from home processes. You could specify meeting expectations via videoconferencing. Another option may be to detail response time for phone calls, emails, or instant messaging contacts. Further, it’s essential to determine where your employees are going to work and what their hours will be. Some employers allow their staff the flexibility of working from their phone or tablet. Others prefer that staff stay by the computer for the duration of their shift. There’s no right or wrong way — it’s best to make these decisions based on company culture, according to Gallup.
Company Provided Technology
Many employees who work from home most likely have their own phone, tablet, and/or laptop. However, if you don’t provide the technology, you can’t guarantee that your proprietary information stays safe. As you develop your remote business plan, it’s a non-negotiable that you provide appropriate technology to meet the needs of your employees. If they need a phone, headset, or chair, you need to be prepared to provide it. In the same vein, however, you should provide a remote desktop to your employees or a laptop that they can easily plug into a proper monitor for ergonomic support.
The final piece that most business plans don’t take into consideration, but is essential to successful remote business plans, is to encourage self-care for employees. Working from bed, the couch, or the dining room table can make it difficult to emotionally separate oneself from work. Encouraging a designated area to work, a switch off time (no more checking emails or texts from work), and other self-care activities will ensure enhanced productivity — no matter where your employees are logging in.
Gain Ground with Your Employees
A lot of people recognize the benefits of working from home. They enjoy being able to be with their family, not having to commute, or the added flexibility that comes with working from home. When staff are happy and feel empowered, they are more likely to stick around long-term, which is the best benefit your business could ask for this year.