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Reality Bites When Working From Home

Covid-19 has certainly has certainly helped to speed up the future of work.

The future of work is about using technology to aid our lives, so that our minds can be freed up to accomplish higher order activities such as business management, creative thinking and people management. Technology, automation, SaaS tools should be of service to our daily lives.

Is Coronavirus a ‘tipping point’ of how companies are enabling work from home structures, to keep business running and their employees productive and employable? Gallup’s State of the American Workplace 2017 study found that 43% of employees work remotely with some frequency. It also indicates that working remotely for 2 to 3 days is the most productive because the other days of the week can be used for meetings and collaboration. Hard to achieve when split-teams of employees are asked to stay-at-home as part of business continuity planning for any company.

What are some of the challenges that employers look out for when a considerable amount of time spent is working from home?

Empower your employees with accountability. Using a system that allows quick and easy time-in and time-out on a daily basis, will help keep employees accountable and feeling as if they are “checking in” to the workplace – even if it’s just room to table. Whether you are a remote worker or an in-country employee, everyone is still entitled to a day off from work, which is especially important if one needs to tally up overtime hours and work-in-lieu days off. Ensuring that leave applications are funneled to the right head of department and then automatically escalated to management if there are special circumstances requiring leave approval.

Be careful about employees being burnt out, it can creep up on one unsuspectingly. Having to work from home means that you need to be always present and on all devices. Unsurprisingly so, as work collaboration apps work on all devices. Being “always available” means that each individual needs to have rules around their own down time, and communicate this clearly to every member of the team. Put up a Do Not Disturb (DND). Being respectful to a DND sign on your communication app means that you expect someone else to return you the same courtesy. A healthy mental work life balance (even if at home), is part of welfare management. Educate your employees and helping them understand how to step away from their work is critical to preventing burn out and happier work from home experience.

Establish an official protocol for working from home.  There are a few ways to do it. If you have a company that does not need any front-line staff, you can formalize it in the job description, and state clearly the deliverables and performance indicators on which an employee’s performance will be evaluated. Set clear reporting lines between manager and staff so that they know who to report into. Automate management reporting and set up a process to enable supervisors to remotely monitor the performance and progress of each individual. Have a communication schedule, for example, some companies practice 15 minute daily scrums to keep everyone in the team updated and accountable to each team. Others use project management tools to collaborate across distance and time zones. Find a tool that is suitable for your company size and has the ability to scale up in pricing whenever you need.

Building stuff cohesion is more challenging than ever when you work remotely or have teams across distances. But it is not impossible. Consider holding “Town Halls” regularly once every week. Also known as a full staff meeting there where the big boss or CEO talks to all employees via conference for announcements, movements, big wins or any other company social activities.  Having common break times or lunch times also helps each employee step away from desk and device, knowing that others are similarly enjoying a small space in time to decompress.

Finally, having all documentation on the cloud really helps give a department freedom to work from anywhere. Using a HR management system or an app, provides you with all the important information that you need, across any device. This makes running payroll or managing new employees’ data files a breeze. Deciding if HReasily is the tool for you?