Remote working policies and fully remote positions are becoming more common. The motivation to enter the physical workplace has decreased significantly as workers can now complete work anywhere. Mobile platforms and cloud-based apps have made remote work feasible.
According to a recent Upwork survey in the United States, more than one-third of full-time staff are expected to work remotely within the next ten years. According to the survey, 63% of organizations now employ at least some remote workers, although most do not have a remote working policy.
Remote work is still a novel notion, and businesses must adapt. However, the lack of remote working policies is not surprising. "Unspoken or informal policies are more prevalent than people might think," Castanon-Martinez stated. "This is most likely due to the learning curve that companies face in their early phases."
Employees must be aware of their expectations, whether working in or outside of the office, to set them up for success. A distance between employees and their managers may develop in the absence of remote working policies, which is both counterproductive and harmful.
What is your remote working policy?
Principles outlining all the requirements for allowing workers to work remotely is known as a remote working policy. These principles define who is qualified to work remotely, how they should behave, what is expected of them, how their work will be evaluated, what resources are available, and their legal rights.
When creating a remote working policy, there are many factors to consider, and it must be in-depth to serve as an effective manual for staff working from home. Here are some inquiries you ought to be posing:
- Which job functions lend themselves well to remote work? What parts cannot?
- How will you prevent hourly workers from putting in excessive overtime?
- How will you now compensate your staff members? Will you help them with some of their internet and power bills?
- What equipment will your staff require? How are you going to get the equipment to the employees?
- How will your staff members interact and work together? What about check-ins and meetings?
- Using what measures will you assess performance?
- Which laws apply to remote employees?
Related Article: Why do companies not like remote work?
How do I create a remote working policy?
A step-by-step guide for establishing an effective remote working policy:
1. Look for positions that can be performed remotely and those that cannot.
Not every position inside a company allows for remote work. Unlike software developers, a forklift driver cannot simply carry out their job from home using a laptop and an internet connection. Therefore, it's crucial to understand which responsibilities may seamlessly transition from the workplace to the home environment.
Next, determine which tasks employees in office- or warehouse-bound professions can undertake remotely by looking at those roles. Give these workers a few days a year to work from home.
2. Reinstate the regulations (Determine which rules and policies must be followed).
It is critical to emphasize that rules, regulations, and policies may apply even if employees are no longer working in the office. Generally, all regular business rules apply. Employees will value understanding what is anticipated of them in this regard.
3. Create work strategies for remote employees.
3.1 Break down corporate goals and obligations into quantifiable goals and responsibilities.
Break down organizational objectives into quantifiable goals and duties in collaboration with department heads. Assign managers the duty of creating work schedules for each of their subordinates, discussing them with their employees, and then checking in to ensure that targets are met.
3.2 Determine what resources workers will require to work from home.
Remote employees require the appropriate technology and tools not just to perform their jobs from home, but also to connect with co-workers, interact with supervisors, and feel like part of a team.
3.3 Talk about the performance evaluation process.
While keeping track of time records has its merits, it is not reliable to monitor productivity. Choose the metrics that will be used to gauge success, such as the number of tasks finished in a week, words written, sales closed, calls made, etc. There will be specific key performance indicators (KPIs) for each job.
4. Determine the methods of communication.
The success of the remote workforce is strongly dependent on effective communication. Your remote employees must understand how frequently you want them to check in, how they should collaborate with others, when they are required in virtual meetings, etc.
Examples of questions to pose include:
- How soon should they reply to emails from clients and co-workers?
- When will there be individual meetings?
- When will there be team meetings?
- How do you deliver virtual presentations to clients?
- Are their phones supposed to be on all the time?
- How will they share their daily accomplishments?
- Which process should they use to report any technical issues?
5. Clearly explain the advantages, insurance, and liability problems.
Even though the staff is not working from the workplace, employers are still worried about their safety and security. A comprehensive remote working policy outlines the rights of the employees while working from home.
6. Specify security precautions (Reiterate how crucial confidentiality is).
It is crucial to keep your staff informed about the need to protect sensitive corporate data and confidential information while working remotely. This will already be stated in the confidentiality agreement your staff has signed, but it is still essential to review.
7. Discuss compensation (Be transparent and honest about compensation adjustments).
Any adjustments to benefits or pay from working remotely must be disclosed to your staff. Set down in detail the costs that workers are eligible to seek reimbursement for and the process for doing so.
Related Article: Remote working jobs you can do at home
What are best practices for a remote working policy?
While some firms have been working remotely for a long time, the year 2020 forced more organizations to do so out of need. According to Buffer's State of Remote Work 2020 research, 57% of participants now work from home 100% of the time, up from 31% in 2019. When asked what their main challenge with working remotely was, participants provided a diverse bag of responses:
All of the responses had one thing in common: they all immediately impacted productivity. Productivity is essential to the survival of any successful firm. Without it, staff will disengage, deadlines will be missed, and customer satisfaction will suffer.
In other words, when productivity declines, so does everything. The next section of the article will look at the best remote working policy practices to keep the firm productive:
1. Adopt and implement current regulations
To identify how current business rules and procedures should or will apply to remote workers, as well as whether any policies need to be altered, modified, or formed, consult with the company's CPA, lawyer, HR advisor, IT personnel, and others.
2. Commit It To Paper
Business operations specialist Nina Ross has created remote working policies for employers. To avoid misunderstandings between management and staff, she advised outlining expectations in writing when discussing remote work rules, processes, and agreements. Every business has its own set of conditions.
Establish rules for employees to follow to qualify for the employee benefit of remote working. A problem employee with difficulties with attendance or other concerns remote working for this individual will not end well.
4. Designate Home Workspace
Home workspaces should be safe and devoid of any trips or other dangers that may cause damage. All specified remote workplace places must be approved by management as one way of ensuring a productive workspace. Another way is to request that your qualified insurance agent assist your organization in developing a safety checklist.
5. Work Hours and Expectations
Workers must be immediately accessible for (camera) face-to-face teleconferences and phone conversations and react to emails promptly within working hours. All broad language, such as 'prompt,' should be defined by the organization.
This is where there is a lot of misunderstanding between management and employees. Great care should be used when formulating and communicating this information to staff.
6. Business Equipment
Remote personnel should be directed to only work on all corporate duties and company projects using equipment supplied and owned by the business. Equipment held by the firm should never be utilized for personal uses. Alternatively, files should be produced on a personal computer and then moved to a business computer.
The risk of a virus corrupting data, corporate servers, and other company computers is decreased by this strategy. It also aids with document control for the business.
7. Internet Safety
Company IT specialists should determine what internet connection is necessary for distant staff. Will there be a need for internet redundancy? Will internet charges be refunded to employees using their internet at home? Using public hotspots or sluggish internet connections may reduce productivity. A backup internet connection guarantees no pauses during meetings, projects, and so on.
How will employees communicate with management? With one another? How long will it take to respond to management and client communications? This should be specified explicitly by management and by the remote working policy.
9. Cancelling Approval
Those given the option to work remotely presume that this arrangement is ongoing. Make it clear to workers that their permission to work remotely may be modified, updated, or cancelled frequently for any individual worker.
Related Article: What are the employer's concerns in terms of remote working?
Richard Mapfuise is an Organizational Development Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a business management and human resources consulting firm.
Phone: +263 242 481946-9/481950
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