You have to take a lot into account when you’re setting a work-from-home policy, but there are ways to make sure it works well for your business. It’s not just about creating a template so your team can work from home from time to time, it’s more about creating guidelines that enable your employees to be more effective, both in their professional and personal lives.
Here, we’ll take you through the considerations you need to take on board to create effective work-from-home guidelines and how to implement them.
What type of work does your company do?
The nature of your business will have a huge impact on whether you decide to implement a work-from-home policy. Does your business involve a lot of solo or individual work? Are there interdependencies between teams and team members? Do you have an office where lots of clients or customers are on the premises? Do team members need access to specialist tools or technology that are only available on-site? All of these questions will help you tailor your approach to flexible working.
For example, if you’re running an agency and you’re pitching for business but you’re running a policy where the team can work from home whenever they like, it may not give off the greatest impression to your prospective clients when they see dozens of empty desks.
Not all businesses and businesses are suited to a flexible work-from-home policy, so give that proper consideration before you dive into a set of guidelines that give your workforce too much freedom.
What type of team do you have?
Think about the people within your business. What kind of individuals are they and what is important to them? You may have team members who are parents or carers, or you may have others with health problems, and others who commute long distances every day.
A thorough understanding of the dynamic of your team and what makes them tick is essential, because an effective work-from-home policy can be extremely useful in getting more from them and keeping them happy.
Once you’ve considered the above, you’re in a position to start shaping a work-from-home template for your organisation. Here’s a few tips on how to make sure your policy is one that works for all parties.
What are the makings of a good policy?
- It’s simple - Clarity is key. If your policy is unclear, it’s also confusing. So make sure your team know what the policy is and outline what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
- It puts the onus on team members to communicate - An effective policy is one where your team are the ones communicating with managers about when they’re working remotely, not the other way around.
- It makes it easier for people to achieve their goals - does it improve productivity and help your business reach its goals? If not, it’s worth reviewing your policy.
- It shouldn’t allow for lazy decisions - you want a policy that requires forethought from your team and for them to arrange working from home in advance. You don’t want a policy where an employee can wake up and decide they don’t fancy coming in today, so decide to work from home.
- It should take into account the normalities of life - things like parenthood, pregnancy, health problems, family, busted boilers and trips to the dentist happen. So build a policy that understands that and takes it into account when people need to work remotely.
How do I implement it?
- Communicate during onboarding - new-starters should know exactly what your policy is from day one because you’ll have taken them through the policy at the very beginning.
- Over-communicate - make sure you’re constantly communicating it in different ways. So, if people forget or weren’t in the office on a particular day, there’ll have plenty of reminders of what the policy is and how it works.
- Pull people up on it if they’re abusing it - if your team members are throwing in last-minute requests or working from home more than your policy allows, pull them up on it.
- Review it constantly - Like most policies, it’s important to regularly take stock of how your work-from-home policy are working. If they aren’t helping your organisation or your team, review the guidelines and make some changes.
Our work-from-home policy
We’ve honed and refined our policy and approach to flexible working, so to give you a flavour of what your work-from-home policy could look like, here’s what we do.