Technology has made it possible for more workers to complete their job duties regardless of where they are located. And with these advances comes the ability to work from home. But the big question for many managers is simple; when is it appropriate to let your staff work from home?
The trick is if your business supports the use of mobile technology, many of your employees are already. The checking of email through smartphones or taking a company laptop home over the weekend essentially create a work-from-home concept within the workplace even if the process isn’t official.
So, if you are interested in determining a more official approach to work from home opportunities, here are some points to consider.
Assigned Job Duties
The biggest factor regarding whether working remotely should be an option for your staff involves the duties that are assigned. Some positions lend themselves well to working from anywhere. Often, these are jobs that require limited or no in-person contact with customers, and the majority of the work is performed on a computer.
Remote desktop connections, softphones, and other technological capabilities mean that an employee can essentially have full access to all of their resources even from the comfort of their own home. They can receive business phone calls without having to use a separate line and can access networked systems as long as they have an internet connection.
Collaborative or Independent
Certain positions are more collaborative in nature than others. While improvements in communication options, like IM and video conferencing, can make collaboration between remote employees easier, certain tasks are better managed with everyone in the same space. This is especially true when tools or resources are not necessarily accessible online.
Employees that work independently are often simpler to transition to a work-from-home paradigm. However, you also need to consider the amount of supervision the employee may require. Even if work is completed without the direct input of coworkers, if a high level of involvement on the part of the employee’s manager is required, a remote workplace may not be ideal. Workers that complete their tasks at an appropriate quality without a lot of supervision will likely perform similarly when working remotely.
Issues of Fairness
The option to work remotely is highly coveted by many employees. That means that providing the option selectively might lead to some internal issues of resentment or perceived favoritism if not all internal employees performing the same or similar duties are given the option. This often requires that entire workgroups be examined at the same time. And, if not everyone can be counted upon to perform well from an alternative worksite, it may be wise not to offer the option at all.
Create Firm Guidelines and Expectations
One of the biggest points of fear regarding the support of work-from-home opportunities centers on the perceived loss of control over an employee’s activities. However, these concerns can be alleviated through the creation of clearly defined policies, procedures, and expectations.
Having communication standards to keep all pertinent information flowing freely and to ensure that all key management personnel are properly informed are critical to the program’s success. Just as attendance and productivity standards are set for employees working onsite, the same approach can create a remote worker policy that defines how and when work should be done.
With strong guidelines, you can open your hiring opportunities to skilled individuals outside of your primary location. This can provide access to the new talent you may otherwise have deemed inaccessible.
If you are interested in finding new employees for remote or onsite opportunities, The Advance Group can provide you access to new candidates who have the skills you need. Contact us today and see how we can help you hire the right workers for new remote opportunities.