Homeworking presents a wealth of challenges employers need to overcome. This is a challenge that businesses are facing daily around the globe. We have put together a list of things employers may need to consider when thinking about transitioning the workforce from office to home:
- IT Equipment
While many employees only require access to email and Wi-Fi to be able to perform their role, others may need more advanced software, laptops and specific IT programmes to be able to carry out their job from the comfort of their home. Employers need to consider if it is cost effective to install software on laptops and purchase extra equipment for use away from the office.
- Managing the Workforce
Managing staff who are based at home is a challenge in itself. Whilst an employer does not wish to apply ‘big brother’ tactics, it is important for managers to have contact with their staff to ensure the same level of productivity is being met as in a traditional working environment. Some of the things an employer may need to consider are:
- Building trust between manager and homeworker
- Agreeing how work performance will be supervised and measured
- Training so both staff who work from home and their managers can do their roles effectively
A lack of trust can be the biggest barrier to achieving successful homeworking. It can be challenging for managers who prefer face-to-face supervision. Managers should make sure the employee knows what is expected of them and set clear guidelines around communication.
- Effective Communication
For staff who work alone, a sense of isolation is one of the factors most likely to make home working fail. As a result, it’s important for an employer to put formal systems in place to ensure people feel part of the team.
- Frequent two-way feedback sessions about projects and workloads
- Clear procedures to follow and people to contact if things go wrong
- Regular updates from other members of the team
Communication is key, so finding the right balance will help to make the transition easier.
- Updating Company Policies
If staff are to work from home for an extended period of time, a company may choose to update their existing policies. A policy may include:
- What is expected from staff?
- Working hours – fixed or flexible
- Monitoring performance
- Health and Safety considerations
- Safeguarding of company property
With proper policies in place, an open line of communication and adequate IT equipment, employers can overcome these hurdles to ensure there is minimal disruption to the business.