Key Features of Work from Anywhere, At Anytime Policy
Pandemic has led every business scenario to be able to transition into the new norm of work from home to ensure business continuity. Simultaneously it has become imperative for an individual to manage their health and hygiene and of their loved ones.
Employers will have to adapt quickly to what the new workforce comprising of millennials and generation Z really desires: the ability to work flexibly and from anywhere, improved work-life balance, and more independence in the workplace. This situation has made organizations realize the economies of remote work focusing on improved productivity and health reduced absenteeism, greater retention of talent, and more effective recruitment
This has led to new ways / innovations-reimagining traditional processes on a few roles/functions which could be offshored/automated.
Above all, one thing which would have to be consistent and improvised is the employee experience and work environment (virtual) to keep them engaged and productive.
According to a recent survey of 25,000 employees across 12 countries by Morar Consulting, 98% state that a ‘work anywhere’ culture has a positive impact on productivity, and business leaders are increasingly warming to the idea. The Work Foundation predicts that by 2020, mobile working by individuals and organizations will reach an adoption level of 70%.
Few pointers need to be kept in mind:
- Set the Regular Working Hour- Work From Home Policy should clearly state when employees are expected to work, and when they should call it a day. If you value flexibility, this might mean setting a total number of hours Establish an Approval Process- Likewise, once you establish eligibility criteria, clearly outline the personnel and process for approval. Employees should know how to request work from home privileges, who will be approving, and the timing for approval.
- Set New Work from Home Rules- While in the office, a person can physically interact and is aware of the schedule of their colleagues from meetings to breaks. Working from home removes these obvious cues that a co-worker has to know when to contact. Creating clear guidelines – Setting status “Away”, Busy or Available to align your schedule, take breaks, and get time to focus on important tasks.
- Create a Dress Code- While wearing sweats throughout the workday seems like it should be a perk of any Work From Home situation, employees may still have to interface with customers, clients, or partners via video conference. A note about the acceptable wardrobe in these situations is appropriate.
- Prioritize Work Status Updates- Working from home makes it important to keep the teams updated on any change in delivery timelines with clear reasons for extending the timelines. Communication is the key in order to avoid any misunderstandings.
- Set Productivity and Performance Expectations- Employers are often wary of offering remote work opportunities for fear that employees will take advantage of the policy. However, 65% of employees think they would be more productive at home than in the office. Manage expectations and reiterate that the work-from-home policy is truly a benefit by outlining productivity and performance standards. Additionally, determine how to track productivity.
- Opportunity to Showcase Potential- While working from home, an individual has to answer a lot of questions for themselves. This is allowing them to be autonomous. Quite often they know the answer, but thru the manager they get it validated to proceed further. This autonomy makes an employee confident and ready to get trained to take up more responsibilities.
- Virtual Work Environment Engagement and Colleague Bonding- Being away from the office can also erode the bonds between an employee and the company itself. An office – especially one with a thoughtfully designed Workplace Experience – gives your employees a sense of identity and connection to your company and its values. This declines when you spend too much time away from it. It becomes essential to keep virtual communication ( informal) with the colleagues with whom you took lunch breaks or laughed or played sports etc. The channel needs to be kept alive to keep you balance with work/home/breaks.
- IT Support- working from home, employees will rely on technology more than ever. Performing the most basic communication and job functions require working IT. Providing IT support is both more important and logistically more difficult for a dispersed employee base.
- Define Security Requirements- Because you can’t guarantee what kind of network your employees have access to at home, it’s vital you clearly outline security expectations, such as no working in public settings or on public WiFi networks. Additionally, in order to make working from home a reality for your employees, you may need to offer security resources, such as a Virtual Private Network (VPN), in order to protect your people and business.
- Connection with Culture- Keeping employees engaged, recognition programs, informal sessions like Happy Hours, Coffee time plays a vital role in enhancing productivity and a sense of belongingness with the company culture.
- Evaluate the Policy Regularly- You won’t get everything right the first time. Create avenues for feedback from managers and individual contributors alike. Anonymized feedback is best. Most importantly, implement changes where appropriate
To ensure your work-from-home policy is as successful as can be, check in with your team and managers regularly after implementing the program. Has productivity increased, or worse, are there major project delays? Are managers finding it difficult to keep tabs on their reports and direct their team now that several employees are remote? Additionally, how do in-office employees feel about the policy — has it created any unforeseen obstacles to their success?
Finally, whether we realize it or not, implementing work from home Policy will require change management. Our goal might be business as usual but achieving that means widespread adoption of new behaviors.