Remote work is a huge topic of conversation in today’s workforce, and it’s something that can help companies gain a competitive edge when it comes to recruiting talent. Unemployment is pretty low, which means the market for capable employees is thin. Are you missing out because you don’t offer remote work options?
Maybe you’ve never really thought about it because you didn’t think it was feasible for your workforce in the past, but technology has come a long way in recent years. If you’re a professional services company, geography shouldn’t be a barrier to getting the talent you need, but you should be strategic and mindful about your approach.
Remote work can mean different things to different people. In some cases, it means an employee who lives in a different city than the company they work for who works remotely every day. In other cases, it means having the flexibility to work from home periodically, either on a set schedule or due to things like car trouble, inclement weather, or having a kid who’s home from school.
If you’re thinking about offering remote work, there are three key policies to consider.
1. Remote work policy
This is your core policy for employees who do not live in the vicinity of the organization’s office. That could mean employees you’ve recruited from other cities or employees who started with your organization but then moved away for some reason.
In this policy, you want to set clear expectations for what positions are eligible for remote work and how those decisions are made. You also want clear guidelines around technology, cyber security, internet and phone access, schedules, attendance, acceptable work space (a desk rather than the dining room table), and any travel requirements for team meetings or other events.
Depending on your business, you might still have a dress code that applies to remote employees so that they’re customer and coworker ready at all times for video conferencing.
2. Work from home and flex time policy
This policy takes into consideration that life happens. It can cover a lot of things, such as employees with extremely long commutes, inclement weather, medical reasons, parenting responsibilities, or other unexpected things. This is for your employees who typically work in your office location but may need some flexibility to work from home periodically.
This should be paired with a flex time policy that provides guidelines around employees arriving late or leaving early due to family responsibilities, medical appointments, or other issues that may occur.
As with a full-time remote work policy, this policy should address technology requirements for working from home, data security, schedules, and communication with supervisors and team members.
3. Communication policy
Every company should have a policy that outlines expectations around communication, but it becomes even more critical with a remote workforce. This includes things like indicating work from home days or other out of office time on a shared calendar, being trained on using video conferencing tools, and expectations around response time to email and phone calls whether in the office or at home.
Remote work can be an attractive benefit for employees and can have a positive impact on your company culture, but it can also have a negative impact if not managed correctly. If remote work or work from home options are granted only to certain employees without clear understanding as to why, it can be frustrating to those employees who are in the office every day. If people are trying to communicate with remote employees and not getting a timely response, that can also create frustration and resentment among your staff.
Ultimately, remote work can be a powerful tool to engage top talent if managed correctly using the three policies listed above.
Need help creating an effective remote work program for your employees? Contact Why HR today for more information.