Workplace flexibility isn’t going anywhere. Employees want it and employers who get it right are seeing some serious benefits.
If you’re thinking about offering telecommuting benefits to your team, you’re in good company. Employers with remote work policies in place have reported lower levels of absenteeism, fewer employee sick days, increased hiring flexibility, lower turnover, and reduced overhead costs.
Meanwhile, employees with remote working options say they feel more productive and more valued. They also report higher levels of job satisfaction, and are more likely to say they would remain with their current employer than those who did not have the ability to work remotely.
If things like better employee recruitment, retention, engagement, and productivity sound good to you, creating a solid remote working strategy could be a great way to go.
But in order for your telecommuting policy to be successful, you’ll want to put together a plan that focuses on these three things:
Communication is important for every organization, but even more so when you have remote workers. The good news is that there are a million technology tools to help your team stay connected and on track.
Programs like Join.me, Zoom, and GoToMeeting allow coworkers collaborate from different offices, time zones, and even countries with easy conferencing, video, and screen sharing options. Instant messaging apps like Slack and Teams let everyone “hang out” and have conversations in real time. Project management programs like Asana, Trello, and Basecamp let everyone follow and contribute to the projects they are involved in.
No matter what technology platforms you’re using, you’ll need to assess your communication strategy to make sure you are effectively reaching all of your employees— wherever they are and however they communicate.
Just because everyone isn’t in the same place doesn’t mean they can’t be on the same page. If you’re hiring with cultural fit in mind, you’ll end up with a group of people who are likely to work well together, even if it’s primarily online.
That said, you’ll want to take some of that money you’re saving on office space and furniture and invest it in making sure your team gets together in person from time to time. Fly your out-of-town staff in for the company holiday party. Offer to pay mileage for those who are willing to drive into the office once a week. Host regular team meetings and events that entice people to work and play together.
Tech solutions are fantastic, but nothing beats a little real, live interaction every now and then.
If your company culture is terrible, it doesn’t matter where your employees are working from. No one is going to be inspired to do their best. The same holds true for companies with great cultures. Employees will be even more devoted when they are given high levels of trust and flexibility, even if they rarely step foot in the office.
If your culture is negative, questionable, weak, or undefined, you may not be ready to go remote. Simply put: You need to get your own house in order before you let people start working from theirs.
On the other hand, if you’ve already built a strong organization and culture, these things will work in your favor. Companies with high levels of employee engagement and trust will have a serious edge when it comes to implementing new policies and allowing workplace flexibility. If this sounds like you, go ahead! Give it a try!
Put together a telecommuting program that turns home sweet home into work sweet work.
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Photo by Romolo Tavani