Working from home is a solid option for many different types of positions for many reasons. This is being talked about more and more now with the focus on Coronavirus. Whether it be for this type of situation, temporary, or more as a way of work for some, here are some things my clients have found helpful when considering this option.
Questions to ask related to consider such an arrangement:
- Is there top management support?
- Can budget be made available to cover expenses?
- Will technology support such an arrangement so there is “seamless” work flow?
- Is the job conducive to such work?
- Will this arrangement be available to anyone or just based on certain positions/locations?
- Will there be a certain number of days allowable for such an arrangement?
- Are expectations, performance, accountability clear?
- How will such an arrangement be monitored?
- How will working hours be monitored?
- How will the manager effectively communicate with staff?
- Employees must have skills to work with equipment required for such an arrangement (computer proficiency), so be sure to assess their level of competence.
- How will work non related to technology be handled?
- How will such employees participate in meetings? I find online options with video is key for focus and more of a feeling of being "together".
Successful programs contain the following:
- A formal application process to work in such a manner
- Frequent contact between manager and employee; formal and informal as well as check in meetings, progress reports required on a weekly/daily basis
- Employees willingness and ability to have appropriate, regular contact with main office on a formal and social basis
- Comparable participation in office events, performance evaluation and promotion opportunities
- Be care that it is not necessarily a substitute for child care. This poses problems if employees cannot focus appropriately and so expectations and outcomes are key to ensuring this is working. During this pandemic, this is more the norm, so perhaps have your employees carve out a specific time they can focus daily on what work they are expected to complete.
- Have some expectation that the telecommuter will be at the main office at least occasionally.
- Training on how to work with telecommuters and benefits to the organization of doing so.
- Telecommuting agreement on expectations. Initial period may be “trial” only. Be specific on days, hours, job function expectations, ergonomics, work space setup, safety issues, reimbursement procedures, responsibility for injuries.
- Annual (or more frequent) /formal review of such arrangements.
- Determine specific law workers comp parameters.
- Insurance, check with carrier about whether special protection is needed to insure telecommuters.
- Tax and zoning issues. There may be local ordinances limiting type of business that can be conducted.
- Telecommuting is a condition of work and as a result, where unions are present, must be vetted by the union.