We have been hearing and experiencing organizational management for some time now, shifting their traditional work practices to work from home and remote working. But then what and how much do we know about work from home? Most probably if you start your job search today you will probably see many options for working remotely. We know that there is a vast division of people favoring the concept while others are not. At times, either group is left with no option but to oblige to the then existing circumstance, which makes necessary to follow a work from home policy.
Understanding The Rise Of Work From Home Approach
Work from home isn’t a new concept as most of us think it to be. It’s the rise and the access to the technology that’s popularizing the approach. We all are very well aware that remote workers weren’t born overnight, wherein the internet first came into existence in the initial days of the 1980s. It was an extended criterion even before the presence of downtown offices and commuting.
Before the Industrial Revolution, the history of man’s evolution reveals to us that man was working from home selling handmade goods. This included blacksmiths, potters, carpenters, etc. But then, the industrial revolution led, in a way, people to move out of their homes to work in factories and workspaces. Of course, this too didn’t last long.
Soon after World War 2, the rise of the corporate headquarters, bigger spaces for offices, and drab cubicles began to strengthen the US economy. This was when the 8 hours work policy came into existence. And with this came the advancement of technology and its various tools that have provided the platform for the new perspective of remote working that we know and witness today.
The two driving factors are the availability of personal computers and easy access to technology, which has led to the connecting of people no matter where they are physically present has widely paved the way for effective and thriving remote working. Thus from home to factories to cubicles to WiFi, the working habits and practices have experienced a considerable transformation.
The image below will help us understand the employee’s perspective towards the remote working approach. And you’ll find an increasing level of wanting for remote working among the employees.
What Does It Mean?
A work from home can be defined as an agreement between the employer and the employee. All the expectations and responsibilities are clearly mentioned for the workforce who desire to work from home. It includes the eligibility, process to request, and the approval procedures related to working from home.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic that led to the entire world’s lockdown has given a new perspective to the work-from-home approach’s history. Many organizations are trying to figure out the right policy to assist them in work practices without affecting their functions and productivity. Developing such a policy is quite a big challenge for many managers.
Factors To Consider While Formulating The Policy
As we are now well aware that the future is unpredictable, and at times we are not left with an option, any organization’s management needs to be prepared. Especially when it’s about working from home policy, but still, the very thought of formulating a policy may give rise to many questions. Considering the present struggle that the organizations are going through, here’s a list of concerns that any organization needs to consider to achieve a smooth flow of the organizational functions despite the hindrances.
To whom do you want to offer the remote working option?
The first and foremost concern is to whom you want to offer work from home. The statement itself denotes that not all profiles have the possibility of completing their tasks remotely. Define this in the policy that you will be formulating. If it is the organization’s need, there can be turns or rotation systems among the pre-defined employees.
According to this, you can also determine and differentiate among the employees who can be productive and need constant guidance and monitoring. And based on this, you can assign remote working to the deserving staff.
Does it support focused work?
In connection to the point discussed earlier, determining and evaluating the possibility of remote work for the various profiles is essential. Because there are specific profiles for which being physically present at the work spot to complete the task is mandatory. Therefore, the proper concern is needed when it comes to allotting working from home to the employees.
Does it cut down on absenteeism?
The management also has to ensure that the employees are regular when it comes to work, despite them working from home. It is observed that many employees are taking and applying for leave. Work-from-home can be the best solution for organizations suffering from the problem of employee absenteeism.
It helps and provides the employees with an opportunity to work from wherever they are. On the other hand, when you give employees an option for flexible working when they feel sick, they are less likely to spread illness or fever to the rest of the workforce. Contributing to a better outcome, that is, a healthier and more productive team.
Does it contribute to employee productivity?
In continuation to the previous sub-point, the management’s concern shouldn’t be only on the employee’s physical presence. But then, the presence of the employee should contribute to productivity. Hence, when we talk about work from home, the primary concern arises as to whether the employees will be productive.
If you have the trust and confidence of your employees regarding how they can contribute to the company’s productivity and the ways to increase it, you can go ahead with the policy. Ensure that specifications related to productivity are mentioned, such as a target for each day or so.
Do you have the proper means to communicate and coordinate?
Another concern is about how to make coordination and communication possible while working from home. It’s quite challenging for the managers to ensure that communication flow is smooth, even though the employees or the workforces are separated by distance but still united by technological means.
However, thanks to technology’s growth, organizations with many software tools can assist them. For instance, human resource software help employees access their details of salary and payroll. This has led to the simplification of the tasks related to the HR manager as well.
Are your data and device secured?
If the working from home approach has been decided to implement in your organization, then the policy you define should consist of the rules and conditions regarding data security. This is to ensure that your organization’s information and data don’t become a victim of data theft.
It may also happen that you may assign specific devices to your workforce who work from home. The policy should also include the way those assets are to be treated. To avoid misunderstandings at later stages due to your data or the devices’ damage, ensure that you mention how you want to deal with it.
How will you monitor the employee’s performance?
The major challenge is not just the framing of policy. But to ensure that your employees are engaged and achieve the targets assigned to them. Unlike the traditional working experience, the workforce is all scattered, and it becomes very complicated to manage their tasks.
However, technology acts as a rescuer even in this case, with its many software tools to monitor your workforce. Some of these tools are excellent and offer the best monitoring possible. Because of this monitoring, the employees are cautious and engage themselves and prioritize the completion of tasks assigned to them.
Does it lessen your expenses?
Added to all the above mentioned is another important one, that is, the cost factor. Financial management is one of the fundamental concerns that arise in almost any decision you want to make for the organization. It is said that the cost incurred in terms of remote working is comparatively lesser than the expenses incurred when the entire staff is working at a commonplace.
But also, it may depend on the nature of your organization and the way you function. Therefore, it is necessary to frame a policy and discern according to your organizations’ needs.
What not to consider?
There isn’t anything that we can mention as to “not essential to consider. When it comes to business, even a minute aspect, such as an expense on purchasing a small stationery item, is as critical as the purchase of massive machinery for production.
Still, you may wonder as to why it’s mentioned in the title of the article. Let me tell you. It’s to emphasize the importance of how much concern is required when you draft a policy. As we all know, many aspects of life are easier said than done. And preparing a policy is so very important as it forms the basis for your organization’s performance on a related particular aspect.
There is considerable importance to formulate a policy that assists and ensures the smooth flow of work in your organization. As mentioned earlier, developing a policy according to the need of the organization and not letting go of any concern unnoticed is much more critical.
It’s also essential that you educate your employees regarding the working from home policy, so they are aware of what to do and what not to.
The policy that includes on how to deal with those who have violated the aspects mentioned in it will also be quite helpful, in order to avoid any misunderstandings, in case there should arise. Finally, a more significant part is to make sure that the policy is well implemented as per whatever is mentioned in the policy.
Divyang Metaliya is a Business Consultant. Apart from managing and improving business processes, his hobby is to spread his vast area of knowledge to the people out there. He loves to create content that is innovative and engaging for the readers.