One of the rare positive sides of the restrictive, social-distancing measures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is remote work. People get used to working from home quickly, enjoying the better work/life balance and flexibility to choose when and how they want to do their jobs.
The statistics show that the rate of people who want to continue to work from home in the future has soared rapidly, showing that remote work is here to stay.
On the other hand, many people are eager to go back to the office, missing social interaction and in-person communication with their colleagues. This is why managers across the globe have become interested in the hybrid work model that allows employees to combine work from home with working from the office.
If you belong to this group of business owners, you need to create a clear work-from-home policy to outline some ground rules and avoid confusion. This policy should list the valid reasons for working from home, designating specific remote days and work hours.
But if you want your employees to stay productive and in sync with the company’s objectives while working remotely, you should also be clear about your expectations, their responsibilities, and other requirements that need to be met to make the hybrid model work.
This article will offer you valuable tips for creating a clear work-from-home policy to ensure seamless communication, high productivity and foster the company’s core values.
Outline Clear Communication, Responsiveness and Availability Guidelines
One of the major concerns most managers have when adopting a remote work model is the lack of communication with employees that may lead to misinterpretations and misunderstandings.
On the other hand, remote workers often feel pressured to be available all the time, checking their emails or chats constantly, fearing that they may miss some important updates or decisions. This can easily ruin their productivity and prevent them from reaching their goals.
To avoid these scenarios, you need to include communication guidelines in your work-from-home policy. Here, you should provide answers to the following questions:
- Do you expect your employees to be available and responsive throughout the day or just during designated work hours?
- How do you expect them to deal with meetings while working from home?
By doing this you’ll help your employees manage their time better, balancing out their work and private matters, becoming less stressed and more productive.
Furthermore, make sure to determine the level of responsiveness and preferred communication channels to avoid misunderstandings between office-based and remote members of your team. If everyone knows that remote workers don’t need to respond immediately, office workers will seek immediate answers from someone else.
Determine Requirements for Technology Support
Creating an efficient hybrid workplace will demand relying on advanced technology solutions. Therefore, be clear about technology requirements your employees need to meet if they want to work from home.
By pointing out which software, internet speed, and computers are needed to get the job done efficiently, your employees will have time to adjust to these requirements.
Also, list all the equipment that your company will provide to make sure your employees have all they need in their home offices to complete their tasks successfully.
Be Clear about Performance Expectations
One of the traps employees can get into when working remotely is the sense that they aren’t doing enough and that their work is “invisible.” This misconception may force them to work overtime, leading to burnout.
On the other hand, managers fear offering the work from home option to employees, believing that they’ll become unmotivated and disengaged, even though statistics show that remote workers are more productive than their in-office colleagues.
The key to high productivity is setting clear expectations and achievable goals. However, if you want to shed all the doubts about your remote employees’ performance, you can start monitoring employees’ activities.
Before you check out how an efficient employee monitoring solution can improve your time and project management and positively affect your performance, make sure to include an employee monitoring section into the work-from-home policy.
Employee monitoring is a controversial issue that many employees feel uncomfortable about, so make sure to be transparent about it and use the monitoring software ethically. This said, try to give honest answers about what activities will be monitored and how you intend to use the tracking data.
Also, focus on benefits your employees may have from this practice, like improved time management and detailed, real-time feedback you can use to reward hard workers.
Only by being open and honest about the practices you intend to use to ensure high employee performance can you work towards achieving this goal.