How can companies help staff to adjust to Working from Home?

Copy Of June 2021 (1)

Remote work business models and/or hybrid working models (working from home and the office alternately) are becoming the new normal. Although many employees were put into pandemic-enforced remote work, not all businesses were ready to provide total support for their staff; and some employees were not able to adapt as simply as others.

Whilst there are still many that prefer one working environment to the other, there is no denying that working from home is on the rise and will become a more commonplace work arrangement. Consequently, businesses need to be ready to support any employees who want or need to work from home.

Here are our top 8 recommendations to provide employee support for more productive and engaged work habits when working from home:

Have a clear Flexible Work Policy

If you’ve decided to implement flexible work arrangements, you need to make sure your policy is clearly defined and easy to understand. Whether it’s a set office/remote-work schedule for each team, remote workstation set-up, and/or productivity expectations, whatever it may involve, it needs to be communicated with your employees.

It’s important to ensure everyone understands what the new normal is for your business and how to go about organising their work-from-home schedules.

Update technology to support remote work

Based on research conducted by Chandler Macleod in 2020, we discovered that whilst businesses thought their IT systems were up to scratch, not all employees felt the same way. Make sure you have the most up-to-date technology to support hybrid working systems for your employees. A secure VPN, cloud computing and collaboration tools such as Zoom are the essentials for an efficient and seamless remote working experience. You should also have an on-demand IT support team to fix any tech issues your employees may encounter.

Ask for frequent feedback

The best way to improving business processes is by regularly asking your employees for feedback. It will enable you to find solutions to challenges that many people are facing whilst simultaneously helping with employee engagement by letting your staff know you hear them and want to resolve their problems.

By doing this regularly, not only do you engage staff more often, but you will also be able to figure out what implementations are working and what you can improve upon.

Provide wellness and mental health support

Remote work might be great for the majority; however, you must also consider that not everyone will find working from home easy due to personal or environmental circumstances. It’s well known that happiness or satisfaction correlates with productivity and while you may not be able to provide complete solutions for your employees' personal challenges, you can provide them a good support system. Support can range from anything from finding or providing the right ergonomics for the home office, an employee assistance programme (EAP), to making sure everyone has a good work-life balance.

Engage remote workstation support and OHS checks

If the company has made the shift to a work-from-home or hybrid working model, don’t expect your employees to be fully equipped with the essentials. You should provide the necessary support in ensuring they have a safe and comfortable remote workstation for them to work efficiently and productively. Set up an OHS survey or checklist to find out if your employees have the correct set-up and the right equipment. Establish what needs to be improved and provide a variety of solutions such as home office subsidies, company laptops, and ergonomic advice/products.

Maintain an open stream of communication

The lack of face-to-face interaction with colleagues can cause a feeling of disconnection with others. It’s integral to the business for employees to engage frequently with others to maintain good working relationships. Make sure to encourage open communication and fully utilise collaboration tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams to improve team dynamics and engagement. Schedule and organise virtual events for your staff and regular social catch-ups to help your employees feel less isolated and more connected to their teammates.

Additionally, senior leaders should also enforce transparent communication regarding company updates. Whether the updates are positive, neutral, or negative, it’s important for your staff to feel involved and part of the big picture.

Lead by example

While working from home can offer more flexibility, this doesn’t mean you should expect your staff to be available at all times. If you’re sending late-hour emails to your teammates, this can set the expectation that they should be working to the same standard. It’s important to emphasise work-life balance especially as it’s much easier to work longer hours when working from home.

If you work best late at night and log off for a couple of hours in the morning, let people know your general work hours in your email signature. Alternatively, you can preface your weekend email with, ‘Please only read and get back to me in your work hours!’ to ensure you aren’t giving the wrong impression.

Customise your approach based on your organisation and employees

Not one policy should be the same and what works for another company may not fit with your business goals. Expect to customise your policy to suit the way your business works best. Whether it’s a temporary measure or the new working business model, you should evaluate your organisational needs and goals and see how these fit with your employees’ desires and needs and what will work for all of you as a whole.

You can view a full report on the future of Flexible work here!

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