2020 was a strange year, full of special circumstances which forced companies to re-think their strategies regarding their employees’ work conditions, specifically keeping them in their offices or approving work from home.
What is a work from home policy?
Before going deep into this…
Deciding if remote work is even an option: this is the first and most important step when considering approving work from home. Analyze if the work can be done remotely or the employees’ physical presence at the office is required in order to fulfill their duties. This depends, of course, on the company profile, but lately, more and more managers got creative, adapted their business, and reconsider the change of work environment.
A Work from Home policy (aka WFH policy) is an agreement between employees and managers, that clearly defines:
- Who is eligible to work from home, and how often?
- Expectations and responsibilities for employees who work from home.
- The request and approval process for work from home privileges.
- Basic guidelines and suggestions to optimize remote workers’ productivity and reduce risk.
These are a few things managers can do to ensure they are able to protect their business while they consider approving work from home.
How to create a WFH policy? Key elements to include.
- First, you have to make sure that you have a clear and understandable policy about how often employees can work from home. Depending on the company profile, the manager sets expectations for all team members. However, you might want to set a few limits: you do not want to have a policy that allows your full-time employees, or top talents to work from wherever they want, whenever they want.
- Tools needed when the employee works from a remote location
In case the work can be done from home, you have to check if the employees have every tool they need to do their job and to prevent any technical difficulties that might arrive:
- A fast and stable internet connection. Whether it is tech support, sales & marketing, or developer job, this is the main requirement to consider.
- A well-defined space where they can work from with as few interferences and distractions as possible. Work-life with children or cats :) around is a real challenge and managers have to keep this in mind and understand specific situations that might appear.
- A dedicated work device from which no other private activities are run thus reducing the possibilities of a virus/malware infection that can lead to loss or leak of important company data.
- A VPN connection to the company network for further securing the data transfer between a work device and the office infrastructure.
- Designated Projects
Now that you have decided that the work can be done from home and that proper work conditions exist, you have to set up the workflow for the project on which the employee will be working. You have to give exact guidelines and mention what every employee is expected to do. The deadline of the project, the intermediary steps which must be followed, and times of the day/week when reports have to be filed are mandatory so you always know the progress of the project. You cannot lose track of activities, as this will complicate things and will affect your business performance.
- Organizing and collaboration
Another thing to consider is: will the person work alone or as part of a team? If he/she will work alone, you can convene if the work hours are fixed eg. 9 to 5, or the working schedule is flexible where the workday can be broken up into different segments. If the employee is part of a team, you must make sure that all members of the team have the same work hours so there are no delays in the information exchange. Establish that all members of the team have adequate ways of communication with each other, like instant messaging and video conferencing tools. As there are plenty of online teamwork platforms nowadays, this shouldn’t be an issue anymore.
- Attendance and Productivity measures
Now there’s only one thing remaining, a way to check that the employee is doing what and when he/she is supposed to be doing. This policy should also specify how remote workers’ productivity will be measured. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example, productive time spent on the project, the number of cases handled and resolved, the number of customer interactions, and many others. Managers need to decide how they want their remote workers to be assessed.
“Focus on being productive instead of busy.”
Tim Ferriss, American podcaster, author and entrepreneur
The easiest way to track employee performance is to use non-intrusive employee monitoring software, time-tracking software which will give you an exact map of the employee’s workday, when the computer was turned on, for what it was used, what sites were visited, and for how long, what documents were accessed and/or printed and if the online activity was productive or distracting.
Our recommendation is to use the super awesome Cyclope employee monitoring software to have a perfect overview of a person’s activity who’s now working from home.
Increase your remote teams’ productivity with Cyclope – Computer Monitoring Software!
Hopefully, now you have an exact idea of what you need to organize your company and what policies to set not to lose or even gain productivity and to grow your business during these tough times.
Stay safe everyone!