How to make a work from home policy work

As a business owner, you’ll be keen to attract and retain the best talent, and offering employees the chance to work from home is a good way to go about it – not only will your people appreciate the flexibility, it could actually increase productivity.

But before you offer staff the chance to work remotely, you need to make sure it’s right for your business and ease your way into it – here’s how…

What type of roles suit remote working?

Some roles lend themselves more favourably to telecommuting than others – while many office-based jobs can be carried out from home without many issues, jobs in industries like manufacturing and retail obviously won’t be able to offer workers the benefit of working from home.

Even predominantly office-based jobs don’t lend themselves well to home working, such as customer-facing  or employee support and HR roles.

The first thing you need to do before implementing a work from home policy is to assess which roles are best suited to telecommuting, and then work out how often staff in these roles can realistically be out of the office – even if the role can be done away from the office, the people in those roles might still be needed in the office, particularly if they are in a more senior role.

In the instances where you can’t offer staff the opportunity to work remotely, it might be worth offering flexible working, which means people aren’t tied to the 9-to-5. Or, it might even be worth batching the weekly work that can be handled remotely for certain roles into one calendar day to give even your most office-bound staff the option to occasionally work remote.

What types of employee suit remote working?

Once you’ve assessed the roles, you then need to assess the people in those roles – remote working isn’t fore everyone, and managing expectations is key.

If you have employees who struggle with deadlines and don’t work well independently, then there’s a good chance they won’t be suited to telecommuting and you might even see a dip in their performance and productivity.

When offering any sort of work from home benefit, always set strict targets that must be met as an absolute minimum – it’s best to make these targets as stringent as possible at first and then relax them if necessary, rather than rolling out a relaxed policy and and having to revise or pull it completely.

And prepare yourself for complaints from staff who don’t qualify for the work from home perk – you should preempt such protests by making a clear work from home policy that outlines exactly what roles are eligible and why. If you’re denying a member of staff the opportunity to work from home because of a questionable attitude, you should also be prepared to be straight with them on this and have that awkward, but necessary. conversation.

Remember, to keep an open mind, communicate expectations clearly, roll out changes slowly, and measure results to determine if a telecommuting benefit could be the key to boosting your company’s morale and productivity.

For more on this, check out How to draft a work from home policy.

What tools are required to work from home?

One final thing to consider before you go live with the work from home policy is the equipment you’ll need – employees need to be able to work as efficiently from home as they can in the office, and it’s your responsibility to make sure they’ve all the tools and tech to do this.

For more on this, check out Top 5 essential tech for telecommuters and  7 tools to make working from home easier.

Remember, if you don’t provide the right equipment, you can’t complain if staff aren’t hitting targets. And a reliable conference call provider is an absolute must so staff can still attend meetings when away from the office.

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