As little as five years ago, if one of your employees walked up to your desk and asked to either work from home or stagger their hours, you might have looked at them like they had lost their mind! Today, flexible work has become the norm, and with it comes remote working best practices.
The costs and risks of letting staff work remotely have not been worth it for companies – at least until 2020, when businesses had little choice.
Since 2020, businesses have had to adapt quickly to make the best of the negatives. The other option is to risk losing their business, or at the very least losing great staff who are now accustomed to the work-from-home life, making it a dealbreaker for many.
Allowing your employees flexible work arrangement options is a choice you have to make as an employer, with consequences both ways. However, with some preparation, your decision shouldn’t impact your business.
Keep reading to learn how to leverage flexible working and remote work best practices to ensure your company stays ahead of the curve.
The Struggle of ‘Work from Home’ for Employers
As an employer, you have probably hesitated to offer flexible working options for your employees, understanding the potential consequences for your business.
Some downfalls of working from home include:
- The inability to conduct impromptu team meetings
- Difficulty tracking working hours
- Challenges to ensure good-work ethic and manage your company culture
- Slight loss of productivity for teams
- Reduction in collaborative jobs
That said, the majority of Australians would prefer to work from home. In fact, according to NEXGEN, 90% of Australians would like to continue working from home. With most of the workforce preferring flexible working options, it’s crucial to have a plan of action to remain competitive in the job market.
So what will you do when a worker asks for more time working remotely? What are your obligations?
Benefits of Remote Work for Employees
There’s a reason that employees seek a flexible working arrangement more often than ever, as it provides several benefits for their lifestyle. Some of the most common benefits of flexible working arrangements include:
- The ability to get more exercise
- Better management of childcare obligations and family responsibilities for working parents
- Reducing travel time
- Being able to see their families more.
It may not seem like this at first, but providing these factors to your employees also benefits your company.
To help you get started, let’s discuss remote working best practices.
Remote Working Best Practices
Remote work isn’t easy to implement. It takes planning and organisation to transition your workplace into a flexible remote working environment successfully.
So let’s talk about how your company could offer your employees flexible or remote work. Here are five remote working best practices for employers:
1. Give your employees notice and consider what they want
Although your employees may want to work from home, that doesn’t mean you should spring the change on them. When implementing a flexible working arrangement, it’s essential to give your employees notice.
Before you transition to, or add, working from home as an option – or shoot down the idea entirely – listen to your employees.
Sit down with employees and discuss the pros and cons of workplace flexibility without making any decisions or promises. Get your employees to write down what their ideal work week would look like and take that into consideration.
2. Create structure
A good flexible work policy should be structured, and the structure cannot be the same as your traditional work policy.
Make sure you lay out your rules and regulations for remote work or a flexible work option before announcing your work-from-home policy. Your flexible work policy should include:
- How many days per week employees can work from home or are expected to be in the office
- Whether your remote team members have to use their own equipment.
3. Provide support
Just because your employees may be working at home or have a remote work arrangement, flexible working hours doesn’t mean they no longer need your support.
Working from home may pose additional challenges for remote workers. Some of these challenges include:
- Lack of resources
- Poor collaboration
Moreover, not every remote employee will have the same needs in this flexible arrangement, so it’s essential to have a system to check in on each team member.
4. Create opportunities for collaboration
One of the main downfalls of working from home is the lack of collaboration. Collaboration is vital for all organisations as it boosts efficiency and inspires new ideas.
However, when employees are behind a computer screen in their own homes, there’s no opportunity to talk to their peers outside of scheduled team meetings.
That’s why it’s key to create opportunities for collaboration for your work-from-home employees. Whether they collaborate on different projects via a Zoom meeting, attend regular remote team workshops, or do leisurely team outings, it’s essential to give your employees opportunities to interact and communicate with one another and build relationships in the remote environment.
5. Download our working-from-home toolkit
What’s most important is to document your procedures for working from home. This way, you have something for you and your employees to reference when needed.
To ensure you don’t leave anything crucial out, download our Working from Home Employer Kit to save you time and get your flexible working policy off the ground immediately.
Flexible Working is the Future
For most businesses today, it’s impossible to avoid flexible working discussions. Considering that many Australians seek positions that allow them to work from home, it’s crucial to enable flexible working, establish a remote work policy, and use remote working best practices.
If you need some extra guidance in transitioning to flexible working for your remote staff, HRonHand can help. Contact us today.