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Best work from home practices for employers

Best work from home practices for employers

With the massive shift to remote work, keeping off-site staff safe and engaged is imperative.

Before the pandemic of 2020, working from home was a perk. Now it is the new norm. Nearly 40 percent of Canadians are in jobs that can be done from home.

This massive shift is compelling employers to play catch up on their policies. Today’s telecommuting is growing in sophistication. Helping staff thrive off-premises and maintain productivity is a crucial management imperative.  

In an effort to minimize disruption and keep employees engaged, some basic best WFH practices have evolved. They range from keeping people connected to rewarding output instead of hours logged. 

Staying in contact

Among the most significant upheavals for those not used to working remotely is the sense of isolation. Once severed from the office, it is easy to start feeling out of the loop or even forgotten.

According to Aline Ayoub, President & CEO of Aline Ayoub HR Consulting, “To ensure that remote staff do not perceive that they are on their own, companies are doing regularly scheduled check-ins at the start and end of shifts.” 

Another part of this equation is being able to contact off-site staff when necessary. Establish a phone, text or email policy to reach remote employees in case of urgency.  

Providing tools for collaboration

For those working remotely, contributing as a team member is a challenge. “Managers must ensure that their group is properly equipped and trained to interact as a whole,” says Ayoub. “You have to provide a care package of tools, instruction and feedback to be effective.”  

In terms of equipment and services, employers are providing remote employees access to, subsidies for, and training on the following:

· chat and collaboration software (Google Hangouts, Slack, etc.)

· video calling and conferencing (Zoom, Skype, FaceTime)

· screen sharing

· project management system  

Rewarding performance, not hours put in

“Employers realize that what matters most is results, whether those are delivered from home or the office. So there is more of a focus on productivity and the value added by remote workers,” says Ayoub.

This shift moves away from measuring hours put in, toward pre-defined outputs. It results in a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE). Ayoub adds, “To help make employees working from home more accountable, involve them in setting the goals and timelines.”

Caring about health and safety

In the past, many people who worked remotely chose to do so voluntarily. But with the massive influx of forced telecommuters, not everyone adapts readily to their changed circumstance.  

Ayoub notes that for this reason, employers have become increasingly sensitive to their remote workforce’s physical and mental health. On the physical front, some employers are offering to do ergonomic reviews of the home-based office. Subsequently, they point out health risks and pay for proper chairs, desks and other such items. 

Regarding mental health, companies are trying to reduce the adverse effects of isolation. In addition, they are inviting home-based workers to online social events or just mixers with other staff via teleconference. “It is important to try and create opportunities for casual interactions, which can forge bonds and generate creativity, adds Ayoub. In short, office visits might be considered a perk in the future. 

Keep Learning

Want more information on how to manage employees virtually? Or tips on interviewing by video? Keep looking to the Monster Resource Center for those topics and many more articles with useful hiring advice.