Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working is no longer an optional perk. The global public health crisis forced many organizations to adopt remote work options, giving employees a good taste of the digital life. As a result, most office job employees expect at least some form of remote or hybrid working options. In fact, a survey by TechRepublic revealed that 61% of respondents preferred to work from home rather than the office.
Allowing full remote or hybrid work schedules proves advantageous for employees and employers alike. With added flexibility, employees may manage a better work-life balance. This can result in a happier and more productive workforce. Likewise, employers are not restricted to hiring within a geographical region, thus sourcing talent from a much wider pool.
But remote working can also pose challenges. People who work remotely may work longer hours than their office-based counterparts, leading to stress and burnout. Of course, some employees will quickly adapt, while others may feel isolated working remotely.
So, introducing a remote or hybrid work policy requires a great deal of thought and planning if your company and employees reap the benefits.
Here are 5 best practices to consider to enhance your remote work policy:
1) Adjust your focus
Measure your employees on what counts – output, outcomes, projects completed, and impact on the company rather than the number of hours worked. You will need to trust your employees to achieve those outcomes, regardless of when and where they work. Outcomes and impacts are far more effective performance indicators and allow for greater flexibility.
2) Offer the right tools and technologies
It’s essential to provide employees with the right equipment to work remotely and communicate with your company from anywhere. Otherwise, they’ll find it challenging to be productive. They may need a laptop, printer, or mobile device. Perhaps they need a fast and reliable internet connection or specific software instrumental in performing their duties. Most companies engaging in remote work establish a virtual private network (VPN) to transmit sensitive company data securely.
3) Provide cybersecurity training
To that point, it’s essential to understand the security risks posed when employees use their residential or other internet connections. You can mitigate these risks by teaching employees correct cybersecurity protocols. Mandate strong and unique passwords, implement encryption software or multi-factor authentication (MFA) systems. Once they understand the dangers and identify warning signs they may be compromised, they can quickly respond to suspicious activity.
4) Encourage constant and open communications
When you have employees working remotely, maintaining communication can be a challenge. So, it would help if you planned how to engage with them effectively through technology. For example, when is an instant message warranted versus an email, virtual meeting, or intranet communication? Frequent one-to-one check-ins and team meetings keep teams connected and information flowing.
5) Establish healthy boundaries
The technologies that have enabled us to work at the family home blur the boundaries between our professional and personal lives. The easy access makes it hard for employees to switch off. There are several ways to help set healthy boundaries. The first is to lead by example. Ensure your managers and leaders are not emailing or asking employees questions during non-business hours. Second, you can establish regular working schedules and encourage employees to keep them. Encourage your colleagues to take care of themselves by taking a lunch period, establishing periodic breaks, or walking away from their computers for a stretch.
Offering remote work options has many benefits. But, if poorly implemented, it will hinder rather than help your employees and your company. Incorporating best practices into your remote work policies is very important. By doing so, you’ll help employees feel more fulfilled in their roles and achieve a better work-life balance. In turn, they will contribute more effectively to your company’s success.