How Working Remotely Can Work For Your Business

If you walk through the halls of my office building on Fridays, you'll notice a sparse number of employees. Less than a third of my company's employees are in the building on most Fridays. While not all managers allow this (including mine), many do let employees work from home on specific days. And, in some cases, employees can work from home every day.

Working remotely has been a growing trend to cut commute costs and time, contribute to fewer cars on the road and engage talent in all corners of the country and across the globe. Despite its benefits, there are challenges to make it work for your business.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these recommendations from Shari Buck, founder of Doximity.

1. Apply the policy to everyone. To make work-from-home (WFH) work, the policy needs to apply to everyone in the company because the uniformity is an important piece of its success. Done right, it helps your whole team with work-life balance, regardless of each person's family situation.

2. Hold your team accountable, wherever they are. Be rigorous in measuring employee productivity and hold people accountable for meeting goals. For larger companies, this works best when you break out employees into small teams, and each team is then accountable for quarterly or even monthly goals. Goals should be challenging. If your team achieves or misses the goals set, they do it together. This makes it nearly impossible for individuals to shirk from their responsibilities because everyone is relying on each team member to do his or her part.

3. Schedule WFH in the middle of the week. Make your WFH days those other than Fridays and Mondays. Here's why: If you schedule a weekly WFH on Fridays, employees will already have the weekend on the brain and are more likely to "push things off" until Monday. Starting or ending the week at home may also encourage working while on vacation which tends to make people less productive. Scheduling WFH days on Wednesday, on the other hand, creates a mid-week break from commuting, and people return to the office refreshed and energized.

4. Encourage everyone to have a work station at home. If you're working from a couch, swaddled in blankets with the TV streaming, you will not feel motivated to tackle those spreadsheets. Neither will your employees. Require a home work station for employees who work remotely and offer to have one set up if needed. Having space where you can set your laptop on a clutter-free desk while sitting upright in a chair makes all the difference in productivity.

5. Set availability expectations early. Just because employees are working from home doesn't mean your team can go completely off the grid. Set expectations early that employees should be available through the usual channels (phone, email, instant messenger, text, etc.) so they are easy to find in case they're needed urgently. It's perfectly fine to take breaks--in fact, it's encouraged. But when they do take that walk or grab lunch, the expectation is that they let their team members know.

Flexibility plus accountability is the key to making work-from-home policies effective. When done right, a WFH policy with correct parameters can make your employees work more purposefully and help make them happier people.

Source: Alongside her co-founders Jeff Tangney and Nate Gross, Shari Buck founded Doximity in 2011 with the goal of building a free, secure social network for physicians. Today, Doximity has more than 70 percent of U.S. doctors as verified members and thousands of nurse practitioners, PAs and pharmacists. Buck spearheads all R&D and has expertise in mobile-software design, development, QA and user testing.

filed under July 2018
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