During this coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it is important you consider setting up a work-from-home policy to help prevent the spread of the virus in your workplace as well as in the wider community.
If you don’t currently have a work-from-home policy set up, here are some tips on how to set it up and how to make this policy as effective and successful as possible.
How to set up a work-from-home policy
- Set productivity and performance expectations – Determine how you’ll track productivity with specific metrics that are relevant to your business. While time logs are the obvious choice, they’re less indicative of performance than time spent on a task. You may like to consider using managers to gauge productivity by tracking completed tasks, or utilising a task-management platform to make work progress visible.
- Outline communication, responsiveness and availability expectations – To ensure everything gets accomplished that needs to, consider setting communication guidelines. Are employees expected to be online and available over the course of the entire workday, or just during predetermined core hours? Set clear expectations so employees can better coordinate their personal matters alongside their work responsibilities and be more productive throughout the day.
- Equip employees with the right tools – Make sure your employees have the right tools (like a laptop) and appropriate software to get their job done. You should also consider giving your team access to programs that allow them to collaborate and share ideas and documents. Aside from email and phone, there are a plethora of work-from-home tools that your remote workforce can utilise such as social sites (like Yammer, Slack and Google Hangouts), face-to-face communication platforms (like Skype and Zoom), and task management tools that can help facilitate the flow of information (like Pivotal Trackers and Asana).
- Define security requirements – As you can’t guarantee what kind of network your employees have access to at home, it’s vital you clearly outline security expectations such as not using public WiFi networks. Additionally, in order to make working from home a reality for your employees, you may need to offer security resources, such as a Virtual Private Network (VPN), in order to protect your people and the business.
- Educate all employees about the policy – Clearly explain the rules and expectations to every team member before implementing your work-from-home policy. It’s important you take extra time to review the policy with mangers so they are completely across it and know how to uphold it.
How to ensure your work-from-home policy is successful
- Make communication a priority – As a result of not working in a shared space, employees who work from home are likely to have less contact with their team. That’s why it is essential you schedule regular meetings (whether it’s a daily 15-minute update or weekly debrief), as it’s no secret that things can get lost in translation over email or instant messaging. This will provide a direct and clear communication channel for employees to get specific questions answered, and where managers can check on the progress of their team, and make any necessary adjustments to their team’s priorities or deadlines without creating unnecessary confusion.
- Lead with trust – It’s tempting to switch into micromanaging mode when you have employees working from home, but doing so will likely aggravate your employees and drive them away. Trusting your employees as much as you value them will mean they’re likely to reward you with their loyalty and be more engaged with the business.
Due to the fast-spreading nature of COVID-19, and all of the unknowns surrounding the virus, it’s important your business has a contingency plan in place to keep your people safe. A work-from-home policy is one such measure you can implement to minimise the risk for your business and workforce.
The key thing to remember when it comes to implementing a work-from-home policy is that you need to ensure your employees feel connected to each other and the organisation. Communication is of utmost importance when it comes to updating your employees on everything that is happening, and thereby mitigating the risks to your people and those around them. Take a read of our article on keeping employees in the loop amidst the coronavirus outbreak to find out how your business can implement a communication strategy during this pandemic.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency department, or call the emergency services immediately.