These days, telecommuting has become more of a necessity than a mere luxury. After all, not only does it offer much greater flexibility and productivity in business operations, but it’s also an effective way to overcome cultural and economic changes like health crises and recessions. And this is why many businesses today have begun to adopt remote work practices by utilizing various technologies like cloud computing services from the likes of Amazon Web Services and hyperglance.com.
While remote work can undoubtedly be advantageous, it’s not without its fair share of challenges. If you want to ensure that your employees ease into this practice with confidence and clarity, you must take the right approach. With that said, here are some tips on how you can develop successful policies in telecommuting.
1. Look up policies from successful companies
One of the most challenging stages for companies in planning policies for remote work is the brainstorming phase. Fortunately, you can make things easier on yourself by listing down companies that you admire for their cultures, practices, and philosophies. Those with widespread appeal and are household names are likely to have information published in accessible forums and websites and can save you a lot of time creating your own.
Make sure that you focus your efforts on researching the following areas:
- What the chosen companies did right.
- The things that they should have done differently.
- How remote working has elevated their operational efficiency.
- The methods used to address remote work challenges.
2. Consult operation experts
Before diving into the specifics of your telecommuting policies, you must consult with legal and financial departments and the human resources sector to advise potential issues that may arise as a result, be it taxes and budgeting, geographical concerns, and employment laws. These specialists will allow you to keep abreast of any regulations and remain compliant when executing remote work operations successfully.
3. Determine the purpose
Once you’ve found a source of inspiration for the desired telecommuting policies and consulted with your experts on the rules and regulations of the upcoming changes to your business model, the next step is to determine its purpose. The reason why this is important is that it will serve as your telework’s mission statement. It must describe the reason for implementation and any objectives you hope to achieve when activated.
4. Establish measurable indicators of success
Calculating a remote work policy’s success is much more nuanced when compared to the evaluation of traditional metrics like profit margins and consumer growth. Thus, the metrics established should be based on the overall business objectives set for the team and how they work to reach the desired benchmarks.
5. Check for eligibility
Eligibility should always be considered when it comes to remote work. Telecommuting might sound like an appealing prospect. However, the reality is that it can be challenging to maintain a consistently high level of productivity when working in an environment free of supervision. For this reason, you must factor in your employees’ work ethics, personalities, and attitudes and make sure that they align with your company’s telecommuting expectations.
6. Consider the security
One of the reasons why telecommuting can be a daunting prospect for any business is that working outside of a secure office network can make them more susceptible to data leaks and hacking. And this can also cause a lot of problems for the company. As such, you must consider security when developing your policies in telecommuting. Providing equipment that you can monitor and establishing necessary safeguards from breaches must be prioritized. Additionally, all company devices must be password protected and the right technology be made available to users to delete all stolen or lost equipment files remotely.
7. Avoid abuse of the policy
While hoping that everyone will be accountable and respectful or working remotely, there’s always a possibility for its abuse. It’s imperative to state that telecommuting isn’t a luxury but a privilege that can be revoked when employees cannot meet expectations and fulfill their respective responsibilities outside of the workplace. You can minimize, if not mitigate, any abuse by holding all of the teams accountable for the results.
8. Stress the importance of communication
Interpersonal dynamics change when employees are allowed to work outside of the office. Interaction becomes more schedule-based, and there’s no chance for any encounters to happen from casual check-ins or at the cafeteria. It can also be much more challenging to pick up workers’ social cues if they struggle with certain issues. Therefore, it’s crucial to stress the importance of communication when telecommuting. All teleworkers should always participate in meetings and regular check-ins. Since most communications are likely to be through emails and messaging, their writing ability has to be evaluated.
9. Invest in the right technology
Since technology is essential to telecommuting, investing in the right software, applications, and systems can bring those working remotely much closer together than they otherwise would have been. For instance, incorporating a web conferencing program into the meeting habits of the workplace can have a significant impact on productivity. It’s a much more efficient and engaging approach than merely communicating through phone or email, after all. So make sure that it becomes a part of your company’s remote work practices.
10. Address compliance concerns
Like most human resource issues, compliance plays an integral role in any successful telecommuting policy. It is essential when you consider employees who are eligible for overtime or non-exempt employees. It can be challenging to track your workers’ time if they aren’t on-site when you get right down to it. By addressing compliance concerns now, you’ll enable your business to take advantage of the perks of remote work without liability.
Whether your company is planning to transition from a more conventional office to a virtual environment temporarily or permanently, you must develop an effective policy for it. Doing so will allow you to achieve the intended outcome, be it in the long-term or short-term.