A Smart Manager’s Guide to a Remote Work Policy – The Tech Report

The number of people working remotely has risen by 159 percent in the last 12 years. Thousands of smart business owners are looking for help to create a remote work policy.

Businesses are shifting away from an “office-first” mentality and toward one of flexible working. However, formal rules have the advantage of providing clarity and certainty on the company’s remote work policy for both employers and workers.

Companies that do not adopt formal remote work rules struggle to properly handle workers who are away from the office. The lack of a policy also causes problems and confusion. In addition, it distances your employees and fosters mutual distrust.

The smart definition of a “work-from-home” policy?

A good remote work policy is a clear and detailed contract between employer and employee. Above all, it’s a set of rules that a firm employs to define the standards and duties of workers. It applies to all, whether they work from home or from a distant location. WFH policies must address these important issues:

  • Which staff are eligible to work from home?
  • When and how often are qualified employees allowed to work from home, including the employee attendance policy?
  • What are the rights of employees who work remotely?
  • What equipment is provided?
  • Have we clearly articulated the goals and needs of remote workers?

How can you be wise when writing a policy on remote work?

Businesses all across the world are adopting remote work, but many are doing it without a good, clear policy in place. Creating and instituting HR rules takes time and resources. However, that’s no excuse for not having a clear remote work policy. Businesses are wise not to expose themselves to a great many risks by leaving the policy unwritten. Before adopting a remote work policy for your company, it’s smart to consider the following recommendations.

1. Be wise in deciding which staff work from home.

Be careful of offering remote work as a “reward” for tenure or seniority as it risks causing other workers to feel left out. Make remote work available as part of a plan to increase efficiency while allowing more freedom.

Not all jobs can be done remotely, based on your industry. Wisely decide if working from home may be right for a worker. Do so based on whether the jobs are client-facing or are limited by tools that are only in a central office. These issues can be solved by letting employees work remotely only on specific days of the week.

If you wish to define inclusion criteria, it’s good to think about the following.

Will all employees be able to telecommute?  Will there be limits for those who choose to work from home?

For example, a policy may state that only workers who have been with the firm for six months or who have met 90% of their goals are eligible to work from home.

Be smart. Establish a limit on how often staff can work from home.

Is it possible for workers to work from home on an endless basis? Will the number of days per month be limited? Will this differ from one team to the next? Does it differ from one department to the next? Do you want to set out certain days for everyone to report to work?

Decide who will approve requests for remote work.

Do you want your HR department or managers to handle work-from-home requests? In either case, using an HR system to manage remote working requests is always a good idea.

2. When and how should leaders interact with remote employees?

This policy should cover how often managers should check in with employees. In addition, it deals with how often one-on-ones should be set, and which remote devices to employ.

Let’s say, for example, that your policy allows employees to mostly work from home whenever they choose. You’ll need to develop more clear ways to keep in touch with them. You can be more flexible if they telework on a less frequent basis.

Here are a few good ways to connect with remote workers.

Set objectives early. If your staff is working remotely on a more long-term basis, they need clear direction.

Always give good instructions about how often and when you’ll meet with direct reports one-on-one. If workers work remotely less often, planning one-on-one meetings when you can both be there may be simpler. Keep last-minute planning to a minimum. In addition, agree on definite meeting days and hours.

Decide what types of communication you’ll use. Select which sorts of video conference solutions will best fit your needs for one-on-one and group meetings. Decide whether you’ll need to offer project updates or a shared agenda.

3. What are some smart ways to determine efficiency?

Measuring your employees’ output is a challenge if you’re new to managing a remote workforce. However, if you ask workers to use a time-tracking program to add up their working hours it may give them the feeling that you don’t trust them.

Consider outcomes-driven productivity. This means focusing on the end results of a work or project rather than the process used to obtain it. Allowing remote work is trusting people to work in the manner that best suits them in order to obtain the results desired.

Finally, throw off the notion that employees must work a full eight hours to be effective.

Keep staff up to date. Let your staff be aware of any measures you use to assess performance. It’s smart to specify measures like time spent on a project or the number of touches it takes to close a deal if they’re going to be scored on them.

To stay on track, use good software. You can keep track of how tasks or projects are moving with the aid of a decent task management app. Set tasks, discuss progress as a group, and track how far you’ve come.

In addition, use a visual for every remote project. These will help you clearly see the need for policy tweaks.

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