In the history of the workplace, there’s never been a better time than the present to have employees work from home. The advancement in technology has removed the barriers that once prevented this from happening.
Working from home, like other things, comes with its pros and cons. However, organizations only see its disadvantages, which many are yet to embrace despite its enormous benefits.
Ironically, it’s a risk many organizations don’t want to take. Telecommuting is the future of work and organizations heads need to start understanding how to properly manage it. Here are a few tips that will reduce the risk involved with having work-at-home employees.
Put Things in Order
First, it is important to evaluate how working from home will affect your organization. This has to be very comprehensive so that every job position and department are considered. It is necessary to take this step first because not all jobs can be done from home. A good example is the job of a manager that will have to monitor employees working from home.
Management of this form can be ineffective especially if the manager is not adept at managing remote workers. A comprehensive evaluation ensures policies guiding telecommuting operations are consistent with the need and firm policy. It sees to it that the organization can allow employees to work from home in a way that will have any adverse effects on the organization.
Additionally, be sure to engage your company’s legal counsel to ensure that the process doesn’t violate employment law or create employee relations issues.
After running a comprehensive assessment and you’re clear with the ramifications involved with having your employees telecommute, next up is to evaluate your employees to work. After your organization has provided an environment that enables employees to work remotely, you want to be sure your employees will not take advantage of the freedom.
All employees are not the same and even the most efficient worker can become less so when working remotely. Some employees, even when physically present, need close supervision to ensure their work is done. With a comprehensive employee evaluation, these possibilities can be accounted for and addressed appropriately. One way to do this is to make provisions for a seminar to educate employees on the ethics of telecommuting. Policies that guide working remotely should be put in and made known to employees.
As much as diligence is expected from employees, it is not right that they are left alone without supervision. For some employees, telecommuting might be a novel experience and, as such, will require help adapting to the system.
Working from home presents plenty of sources of distraction, which can lead to low productivity on the part of the employee. Without adequate supervision, the cause of under-productivity, or any other problem will not be ascertained. Several strategies can be employed when managing remote employees.
Employees within a particular geographical distance can be assigned to a supervisor and a weekly meeting can be conducted. Or a manager can employ technological solutions to monitor employees. Regardless of the strategy used, monitoring has to be frequent and scheduled.
Resource and Data Protection
Employees must have all they need before the initiating of telecommuting, otherwise the whole thing will fall apart. Top on the list of needs is a computer and reliable internet connection. Telecommuting requires that remote workers have unfettered access to internet communication tools such as email, instant messaging and other applications, used by the firm to provide customer and service and support.
There have to be file-sharing utilities on hand for collaboration as well. Remote employees should only use company-issued computers and devices. This ensures your organization can properly secure its data as every employee’s devices are subject to the same virus and system upgrades as the rest of the company. Mandating that employees use company-issued computers also reduces the risk that your company will be unable to comply with an e-discovery request.