With the help of technology and changing workplace culture, the flexibility to work from home has almost become expected in most modern office jobs. Research shows it that is beneficial for both employers and employees alike in terms of costs and productivity. For businesses that have not considered work from home before though, figuring out how to enable employees to do this can be a daunting task. How will employees take work calls? How can they access work files from home? Should I let them work from home whenever they want or on an established schedule? Let us outline below the answers to some of these questions to get you started setting up employees to work remotely.
Establish Communication Methods
At first thought, communication with remote workers might seem like a deal breaker. But when you really think out your main veins of communication, most of them wouldn’t be changed by an employee working from home. How often do you email, call, or send a message on something like Slack versus actually speaking with someone in person? In most companies, the only real face-to-face business communications happen in meetings.
By setting up a forward on office phones to either a home phone or cell phone, the regular methods of communication will go largely unchanged by remote work. Employees can still be in the office for meetings, but for day-to-day communications, they will easily be able to keep in touch from home over the internet.
Accessing Work Files Remotely
Gone are the days of bringing home a briefcase full of files to review over dinner. With modern working from home, your office computer’s files can easily be accessed from different locations and even different devices. With services like remote desktop and cloud computing, projects started in the office can be seamlessly picked back up from home.
Remote desktop services allow for your desktop to be accessed from any device through the internet. All settings, file locations, and data are stored in your cloud provider’s servers, not on your physical computer at work, so there is no difference in the experience of logging in at home. Getting set up with a cloud provider is an affordable and easy transition, so it is a popular choice for employers wanting to allow remote work.
Decide on a Schedule
If you are new to allowing employees to work remotely, it is a good idea to set expectations of what sort of schedule you expect workers to keep. Would you prefer those at home keep their same hours as in the office, or are you okay with them keeping any schedule as long as they get their work done? Avoid misunderstandings when you try to call an employee during a work day and get their voicemail. By agreeing on their work from home schedule at the get go, everyone is on the same page.
In addition to their daily schedule while at home, decide if you want to set a limit of how many days can be worked from home or if you’d like to have set days each week that certain employees will be at home. The most popular work from home schedule is to have an established 1-2 days a week that certain employees can work from home. Then, set at least 1-2 days a week that everyone will be in the office for meetings and touching base.
Set Up Employees to Work Remotely
Giving your staff the flexibility and technology to work remotely is a win-win for both employer and employee. Get started by establishing communication methods, setting up cloud computing, and agreeing on a schedule. Soon it will not feel odd at all to work on collaborative projects with each team member in a different location!
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