The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to reevaluate their policies regarding employee work-from-home arrangements. This has meant some businesses’ sudden and unexpected transition to a remote workforce. Even as the number of COVID-19 cases is going down every day, many employees are still working from home. Businesses are also benefitting from increased productivity and cost savings.
Whether your business is considering implementing remote work for the first time or you’re looking for ways to improve your current setup, here are some best practices to keep in mind.
1. Define expectations upfront
When allowing employees to work from home, setting expectations from the outset is essential. This includes clarifying what is expected regarding work hours, dress code, communication, and availability. By setting these expectations early on, you can avoid misunderstandings and potential conflicts down the road.
When setting expectations, it’s also important to be clear about what is not allowed. For example, specify if you don’t want employees working on personal projects during work hours. You should also make it clear that you expect employees to adhere to the same rules and regulations as if they were in the office. Just because they’re working from home doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want.
2. Create a dedicated workspace
One of the challenges of working from home is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. It can be tempting to work from bed or the couch, but this can lead to back pain, neck pain, and other health problems. It can also make it more challenging to focus on work.
To help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance, Asking them to create a dedicated workspace is essential. This can be a separate room in their home or a corner of a room that is designated as their work area. You want them to have a space where they can close the door and not be distracted by family members or other household activities. If you have remote employees who live in small apartments or don’t have a separate room to use as a workspace, ask them to create a space that is as free from distractions as possible.
3. Invest in remote desktop software
Many businesses rely on remote desktop software to allow employees to access work computers from home. This is a valuable tool for businesses because it enables employees to work on their work computers as if they were in the office. It also allows companies to maintain control over their networks and data.
Several software programs are available, so it’s essential to choose one that is right for your business. Some factors to consider include price, features, security, and compatibility with your existing infrastructure. Depending on your business needs, you may also want to consider a cloud-based solution. Many online reviews can help you compare different options if you’re unsure which software to choose.
4. Trust your team
If you’re used to managing employees who come into the office every day, it can be challenging to let go of that level of control when they’re working remotely. However, it’s essential to trust that your team can get the job done without your constant supervision. Overbearing management is one of the quickest ways to kill motivation and productivity, so give your employees some space to do their best work.
You want to balance micromanaging and giving your team too much freedom. The best way to do this is to set clear expectations and trust that your team will meet those expectations. If you’re constantly checking in on employees or second-guessing their work, it’s a sign that you need to back off.
5. Encourage regular communication
When team members are working remotely, communication tends to suffer. To avoid this, encourage regular check-ins via phone or video call, and set up a system where employees can easily ask questions or request help when needed. This will help everyone stay on the same page and minimize the risk of projects falling through the cracks. You may also consider using a chat program like Slack or Microsoft Teams to facilitate communication.
Some businesses hold regular video conferences or team meetings to stay connected, while others prefer to communicate as needed. There’s no right or wrong answer here, but finding a system that works for your team is important. Try out different communication methods and see what works best.
With more businesses considering a transition to remote work, it’s crucial to have a plan in place that sets clear expectations and fosters a sense of community among employees. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your business is prepared for the future. With the right tools and mindset in place, working from home can be a productive and positive experience for everyone involved.