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More than two-thirds of people around the world work away from the office at least once every week, according to researchers. For example, employees from the United Kingdom, are much more likely to work from home: more than 4 million British people have their daily office at home. However, in Spain, more and more employees are demanding flexible hours and can work from anywhere on certain occasions. Therefore, as managers, every time we are going to find more cases in which we have to manage a geographically dispersed team. This supposes new challenges and considerations to take into account.
Before allowing your employees to work from home, you will need to make sure that all the relevant paperwork has been completed. Workers at home also have to meet a series of requirements in terms of occupational health and safety. It is the duty of the director to ensure that these are being met. Another key consideration is insurance since the home insurance of most people does not include work from home. Therefore, it will be necessary to include them in the insurance of the company and provide precise details, such as your address, to ensure that it complies with the company policy.
Workers from home need to be able to make use of technological solutions that allow them to correctly perform their work. It is worth the investment since studies show that remote employees can be up to 39% more productive when they have tools such as video conferencing. Cloud-based solutions can be a great way to streamline business processes. We should consider investing in a global solution in the cloud, such as UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service in English). Thus, workers from home and employees who are in the office will receive the same experience and will be able to use a series of communication tools to collaborate effectively.
Many employees who work from home worry that the lack of 'face-to-face' time will affect their professional career. They believe that they may be out of the game in terms of new opportunities within the company. Managers can combat this by ensuring that team meetings and follow-up meetings are held periodically by video conference. Never underestimate the value of eye contact. The most lost remote workers are face-to-face meetings, but modern technology can correct this. It is also important for everyone to remember that you have to invite workers who are at home to important events such as team building exercises or the Christmas party so that they feel part of the team in general.
In the digital age, training resources must be available online so that employees can access them from anywhere at any time. This should include a portal where workers who are at home can access the video recordings of the training sessions that have been done in the office, and that is supported by written materials. In this way, you will get a better return on investment of any training, whether done by others or by the company itself. Access to training is also key to reinforcing the belief that employees who work from home will not be adversely affected by their career by working remotely. You can also encourage workers from home to share their learning with others through an internal social network.
Employees who work from home often work excessively. This may be due to the fact that they 'lose' less time in having to arrive daily at the office; there are no traffic jams to get to their job, and they feel they have to work more hours. As directors, we have to keep their entry and exit times controlled and help them develop a balance between work and personal life, to avoid exhaustion. This will make our team happy and more productive, and help the company improve staff retention rates.
The change to work from home is already happening in many companies, so it is vital that managers are prepared for it. A combination of technology, processes, and attention to detail will make it possible for employees who work from home to be as productive, or more, than their colleagues in the office.
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