How to Make Work-from-home Work for Your Team

More companies are exploring their options when it comes to employees working remotely. There are numerous reasons for doing so:

  • Increased worker morale
  • More flexibility in work schedules
  • Enhanced cost savings by not paying for office space.

With all the benefits, it makes sense that employers are considering whether or not working from home can work for their team.

Here are 3 steps you can take to make working remotely as successful as possible.

1. Be upfront about your policies

You’ll need policies about what you expect from your team as they work from home. Do you need them working Monday to Friday, or is their schedule somewhat flexible? Are there meetings you’ll require them to be part of? Are there certain procedures or security protocols they still need to follow?

Have a policy book or set of guidelines that specifically lay out your expectations for employees who work remotely. In it, include the expectations you’ll hold yourself to, as well. Will you be available at certain hours if they need you? How much time do you need to respond to emails or phone calls? Will the company check in on employees periodically to see how they’re doing?

Setting your expectations upfront allows your team to work more cohesively because they know what you expect from them. While you probably won’t foresee every issue that could come up, you can address some common areas of uncertainty.

2. Communicate more than you used to

When staff is in the office, they have access to additional information they may not have when working remotely. In the office, they might share information about a project while standing in the breakroom, or pop in for a quick chat about a client. When they work remotely, they don’t have those same opportunities.

If there’s a question about whether your team should know something or would want to know it, share it, so you can be certain they know everything they need to. Not everyone will get that information through the grapevine when they work remotely, so you’ll need to be vigilant about sharing it yourself, or delegating someone to keep everyone informed.

These days, there are many possible channels, including phone, email, text, IM, Slack, Zoom, and Skype. Do you have different channels that you use depending on the information being shared? Make sure employees know the best methods of sharing information depending on the purpose.

3. Encourage informal communications

One thing your team might miss is the social aspect of gathering in one space. Previously, they saw each other every day and likely had informal chats at break time or throughout the day. Schedule a group lunch or break time and encourage your team to join. Don’t make it mandatory, as they may have other pressing priorities –such as feeding their own children or walking their dog.

Having the space available gives them the opportunity to catch up with their colleagues and feel part of the team. Make sure the lunch chat is informal–don’t encourage talking about work.

Final thoughts

There may be other things you need to do, such as providing your team with necessary equipment or technology access to enable them to do their job successfully. It’s also always a good idea to ask your colleagues regularly for feedback on what is working well and what is more challenging when working from home, and adjusting as necessary.