Is your business planning to keep all or some of your employees working from home once the pandemic is over? Though many giant companies are planning to keep employees working remotely, whether your company should do the same will depend on varying factors such the type of industry the size of your company and your available resources. Here are four things you should consider if you are planning to keep your workers working remotely.
1. The resilience of your company and your employees - it can be difficult to create a workable balance between how things were done prior to the pandemic and how they will be done under the new conditions, and adjustments will need to be made. Companies can create a plan where some employees work from home and some work in the office, but remote employees should still have some on-site presence. Distributing a workforce has to take into account business functions, workplace characteristics and office culture and weigh it against the preferences of the employer and employees. As these changes will have quite an impact on your employees it is important that they are resilient and able to adapt to the changes so that their mental health, productivity and health and safety do not suffer.
2. Setting up a distributed workforce will require some logistics - work premises will need to adhere to new health and safety measures including ventilation, proper distancing and limited use of common spaces, but outside factors also have to be considered such as the use of public transit and access to the building. Outside factors particularly can make it very difficult for a company to isolate itself even though they have the proper rules in place within the workplace they cannot control what is happening outside the office and the building. Logistics for remote staff will include the home office set up, providing the equipment and technology and security measures to protect the business and it's information. Clear remote working policies will need to be set including confidentiality agreements and compensation terms, vacation allowances and expense eligibility.
3. Aligning employer and staff - some workers will want to return to the office but there will be those who prefer to remain at home. The company needs to take into account each employees risk tolerance and remote working environment. Not all employee situations are the same and can change, so employers and employees should be willing to be flexible as needs change.
4. One of the upsides of having remote workers is the ability to choose new employees from a wider pool of candidates anywhere in the world. However these workers also come with additional responsibilities for the employer including adhering to different labour laws, tax laws and employment benefit obligations so it is important that the employer is familiar with the rules in each country where employees are working. It is the new reality that many employees have made the change to work remotely and are looking for work that allows them to do that. Employers need to pivot to accommodate these workers if they want to hold on to their talent and acquire new staff. At the same time companies need to create an inclusive culture so that everyone feels part of the work team and this can include attending meetings in the office from time to time to keep in touch as face to face contact is invaluable.
From an article by Sophie Nicholls Jones