Remote Access & Work From Home
Work From Home, (WFH) also known as telecommuting, or remote access is a general term that encompasses a range of workplace policies. It refers to a policy and practice that permits an employee to work from home or any other approved remote location.
Why a WFH Policy is Important
Organizations adopt WFH policies for many reasons
- Employee satisfaction: Most employees like the freedom to work from home at least part of the time. Offering WFH opportunities can increase levels of employee satisfaction.
- Productivity: Worker productivity is a major driver for WFH policy adoption. Increased productivity is a bottom line issue and studies have shown that in many cases productivity improves when employees work from home.
- Less commuting time: Anyone who sits in traffic or on public transportation each day sees the merit in this benefit.
- Studies by major consulting and recruitment firms are determining that the opportunity to WFH can be a key factor when selecting a new employer. The lack of a WFH opportunity has also been shown to be a reason for seeking alternative employment.
- Caregiving needs: While some WFH policies restrict at-home workers from handling caregiving needs, others provide WFH for that very reason. Employees who have child, parental, or spouse care responsibilities require flexibility to handle these demands. WFH may be a way to accommodate these needs.
- It may be greener: Cutting down on daily commutes may have a net positive effect on energy savings. However, if nothing else, employees will see a cut in their weekly transportation costs.
- Real estate costs: For companies and organizations who believe WFH will be their long-term model, this can mean eliminating office space, cutting considerable fixed-costs out of the bottom line equation..
Implementing Work From Home
If possible a WFH policy should be designed and adopted after carefully planning and forethought. Here are the steps to follow and consider.
- Identify which jobs are eligible to be completed from remotely.
- Decide which employees are the best candidates to successfully adopt WFH. Employees with performance or disciplinary issues may be not be a good choice for WFH.
- A slow, incremental rolloutis important if possible.
- Set Parameters and Expectations: Policies you may wish to consider a) Availability window – Will it be necessary for them to be completely available during certain periods? For example, must they conduct their WFH within standard working hours, e.g. 9-5. Or will there be a flex-time approach, where availability is only required within a smaller window, e.g. 10-2. b) Responsiveness – How responsive must they be to emails, phone calls, text, etc? One of the risks of the modern workplace is the feeling employees have that they must be available 24/7. Because WFH may have less structure, this perception may be exacerbated. c) It is only about deadlines-just get your work done on time. The rest is up to you.
- Cancellation: If the plan is partially or fully repealed, will employees be given sufficient notice to make plans to cover for child care, etc?
- Equipment: It should be outlined what equipment and utilities employers and employees are responsible for providing and maintaining. Will bandwidth be a reimbursable expense? Will laptops, phones, etc. be provided by the business or will this be a BYOD project.
- Equipment maintenance: If technology is provided by the employer, what is the employee’s responsibility to keep it maintained, upgrades installed, etc. Even if you have a BYOD policy, are employees required to bring their devices in for upgrades and security checks?
- Overtime: Just because an employee works from home, it doesn’t mean overtime laws go out the window.
To be successful, a work at home/telecommuting/remote access policy depends heavily on a solid IT infrastructure, it is important that an IT professional is closely involved with the entire planning process.
Are you ready for YOUR technology to finally work for you? Contact the IT specialists at All Mountain Technologies today to make your business more efficient, organized and successful.