Over the past few years, remote work has gone from being just a trend to a more prevalent policy across organizations, big and small. Advanced technology and mobile solutions have not only enabled workers to become more flexible, but have also changed the way people do their jobs.
While the productivity boosts of remote working or telecommuting are getting attention, so are the skills required to maintain a successful remote policy. If you’re thinking of implementing your own remote work initiative, you must first remember that this transformation won’t happen overnight. You’ll need a thorough plan of action to streamline the process.
This might seem like a tedious task, but putting in the time to plan ensures that you and your employees will reap great benefits of a successful remote work setup. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of an effective remote work policy :
- Less time commuting – Working from home reduces transportation costs, which means your employees can relax and save, thus resulting in a happier, healthier workforce. A reduction of the time spent on a stressful and long commute is definitely an advantage for employees while giving your business a boost, too.
- Reduced employee turnover – Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can rarely compete with larger organizations when it comes to employee salaries and benefits. But with a good remote work policy in place, you can provide staff members with the agility and flexibility they need to accommodate life's little distractions, such as quick bank runs or fetching kids from school if classes are suspended early. This ultimately translates to an enhanced work-life balance, which greatly contributes to employee retention.
- More access to a wider pool of applicants – The “millennial effect” where younger generations can communicate cheaply and effectively from anywhere in the world has raised working standards wherein they expect the same flexibility in the workplace. Offering a remote work option can help you attract young, highly skilled employees who thrive in a relaxed work environment.
- Lower costs – Office space is expensive. In fact, it’s one of the biggest fixed costs in your business. By allowing your employees to work from home on an agreed rotation and operating on a hot-desking policy, you can reduce the amount of office space you need.
- Increased productivity – While this might not apply to all employees, some may find that being allowed to work in an environment of their choice can actually motivate them to perform better at their tasks.
In spite of these benefits, there are still some businesses that are reluctant to let their employees telecommute. They are apprehensive about the risks involved, such as poor communication, lack of accountability, and decreased employee engagement. Here are tips on how to create an effective remote work policy:
Clearly define cybersecurity practices for remote workers
Create clear protocols for accessing, transmitting, and storing sensitive data. Make sure to provide your employees with proper tools that ensure cybersecurity, such as anti-malware programs and virtual private networks (VPNs) that enable secure remote access to internally held company data.
Additionally, educate and train your employees about the cybersecurity protocols. This must include implementing security protocols in your bring your own device (BYOD) policy. For example, if employees lose their device, they must report it immediately and take urgent action to mitigate risks.
Have the proper technology in place
To run a successful remote work policy, open communication is crucial. Since face-to-face contact is reduced, it should be mandatory for remote workers to establish clear and timely communication among teams in order to convey priorities, goals, deadlines, and reports.
Invest in communication tools like chat software, secure document sharing, and web conferencing. Applications like Skype or Google Hangouts allow for some face time, which could be beneficial for urgent updates.
Define and set specific guidelines
Without guidelines and checkpoints, it will be difficult to keep track of your employees and hold them accountable. As such, it is your responsibility to communicate your needs and expectations.
Come up with a document that clearly states your policy, make sure that everyone has access to relevant information, and require all to follow the guidelines. Include how you’re going to communicate, track time, and fulfill the requirements for rendering remote work. Providing clear direction and crafting your strategy will help boost communication between you and your staff when it comes to telecommuting.
Launching your remote work policy should be done before you implement it. Remember, not all jobs are conducive to remote work so it’s good to evaluate each employee or position to determine which type of employee is suited for telecommuting.
You can overcome the challenges of deploying your remote work policy by partnering with Charles IT. Our team of experts can help you discover and implement the right technology solutions for your needs. Contact us today for more information.