Are you struggling to manage your team that is working from home? Are your directives falling on deaf ears or poorly implemented? You are a decision away from eliminating all that.
As businesses continue to experience the wrath of Covid-19 in different ways and magnitudes, working from home now seems more necessary and/or inevitable than optional. Some companies are considering this as a temporary solution until things go back to ‘normal’. Others are treating it as the only working strategy that they will consider from now onwards. Still, others are considering it an alternative now and in future should the pandemic or other economic disruptors occur. Regardless of the option and the reason for your selection, working from home presents as many challenges, if not more, as the benefits, especially among business leaders who are doing it for the first time. But even those who have been doing it for a while cannot deny the occasional occurrence of challenges. Nonetheless, hearing of a firm that has 900 staff members and no office shows that working from home can be successful.
As an HR, you can make your work easy by drafting a remote workers policy. This article has details about some elements you can consider when drafting the policy.
Some elements to consider when drafting a remote worker’s policy
The need– whether you want to solve or prevent a problem, keenly investigate the issue and find the best way of attending to it. The best thing is that you do not have to wait for some challenges to manifest to draft a policy. Being in a tech-enabled world and having volumes of information on the web can help you to know about challenges occurring in other industries and in consequence take the right measures to prevent their occurrence in yours.
Purpose– what do you want to achieve using the policy? Make this clear. Also, ensure that the directives are in line with the organizational objectives.
Eligibility- the main question here is, who is the policy addressing? Other questions can be: who can work from home and for how long? Which activities can be done from home? Which are the limitations of working from home? What are the consequences if the rules are not followed?
Working conditions– with employees being at liberty of choosing their ideal working stations, there is a high chance that some may choose some that are less appealing than others. If this is something that has been directly or indirectly affecting performance, it is best to inform your team about it. Let them know about the preferred state of working environment for easy working. For example, do you prefer they work from certain places? Are there elements that should be in their working spaces?
Dress code – working from home means employees showing up at their work stations in whatever they feel comfortable in. But sometimes, the choices may not reflect the values of the organization or the working mood. Addressing the need for appropriate dressing eliminates the need for constant repetition.
Equipment and supplies- inform everyone under which conditions the company is planning to supply some products or services to ensure seamless flow of operations.
Technology to be used– research shows that people are spending more time than ever on their phones seeking entertainment, shopping, or following updates about the pandemic. This means that there is a risk of some employees handling work using their personal devices, which can be risky if data is sensitive. Address some questions such as;
- Which devices are employees supposed to use?
- Are they allowed to use personal devices for work purposes?
- If yes, which ones?
- What should the right specifications of the devices?
- Will the personal devices be monitored and how will security be ensured?
- What limitations or security features will you require?
- If not, will the company provide the working devices?
You can also address factors such as WiFi and software.
Security– cybercrimes are on the rise. Inform your team about the data security standards you expect them to observe.
Communication – so far, this is the main challenge in the working from home lifestyle. You can however detail about the communication devices and platforms that should be used, when employees should be available to respond and how often during the day, who to contact for work-related issues or emergencies, and so much more.
Working approach-how long are the employees expected to work? When should they check in and out? Are they free to choose their working hours throughout the day as long as they finish the projects on time or should they provide regular updates?
Benefits– the new working approach may have eliminated commute but increased electricity and internet bills. Therefore, it is not uncommon to hear of some projects being delayed because employees couldn’t settle their bills on time. It is important to inform your team whether you will be providing any benefits that would help them work efficiently or not.
The company’s input when some challenges arise – Anything can go wrong, like computers breaking down and work being put on hold. With people working from home, it is hard to know whether it was accidental or carelessness. On one hand, you have a responsibility of ensuring everyone has the necessary tools to accomplish their tasks. But on the other, it can be financially draining if the team members report machine breakdowns frequently due to carelessness. With that in mind, it is important to specify the instances when the company can get involved when some challenges arise. This will not only instil a sense of discipline but also prevent delays that arise when some problems arise and no one is taking the responsibility to resolve.
Safety and health – accidents can occur during working hours and this can burden the company financially. For this reason, inform your team about their obligations in terms of health and safety. Perform regular checks to confirm their adherence to the guidelines. Address how different emergencies and illnesses will be handled if they occur.
Performance and productivity – many human capital leaders are struggling to motivate their teams and ensure they are meeting their targets. Also, the lack of performance metric suitable for remote workers makes them take their duties lightly. Determine what needs to be measured and the metrics that will be used in ranking.
Training and skills development– the drastic change in the corporate structure shows the need for frequent learning. Let the team know about the learning schedules
Termination of service– on which grounds can you terminate the employment contract? Letting people know about this helps them make appropriate choices. Otherwise, it would be too stressful working with people who are pulling the company backwards.
Majority of leadership challenges arise from unclear rules. However, writing a policy for all people who are working from home emphasizes the importance of rules and challenges them to be accountable for their actions. Eventually, management becomes easy.