What does a manager need in order to implement an effective working from home policy?
Working from home is nothing new, but it’s become a popular topic in our office. I'll admit to having a bias against employees working off-site, and we've been reluctant to formally incorporate it into our work culture. My inclination toward in-office work is rooted in bad experiences with past contract workers and their lack of accountability. However, when it came up this time, I had a better understanding of the value in working from home and its potential for uninterrupted work time.
Since having my daughter last year, I've been working from home a lot. I often marvel at my productivity levels when I remove the ringing office phone, the meetings, and other distractions.
My trust in our employees assuaged any further concerns I had around off-site work. A manager’s biggest fear is that when staff are left to their own devices at home, they won't work. But, as my colleague put it in a recent post: Trust is cheaper than control. Do I think an employee might run a load of laundry while they're working from home? I do. I also know they won’t miss deadlines and will complete the work they've committed to. If trust were a real concern, they probably wouldn't be my staff.
When sorting out your guidelines for off-site employees, there are a few key things to consider.
Working from home policy questions
– What hours will the employee keep?
– Which communications tools does the employee need to stay in touch?
– Will the employee participate in meetings from off-site?
– How do you monitor and supervise the employee's work?
– How often are you comfortable with staff working from home? Do you set limits on the number of days/hours?
Once you've solidified your guidelines and communicated them to your team, you'll also want to consider your legal responsibilities as an employer. Most importantly, your employees require a safe work environment at home, and you must ensure that they're carrying out best practices around your clients' privacy.
We're currently drafting our working from home guidelines and will be starting trial runs shortly, adjusting our policy as new issues arise. I'm looking forward to creating an environment of flexibility, freedom, and trust.