Contemplating a remote work policy? You’re not alone. Many careers no longer require punching a time clock. In fact, research indicates that 70% of people work remotely at least once a week. Nevertheless, many employers have not yet embraced remote work.
Offering a remote work policy for flexible working arrangements can be beneficial for employee morale. Other benefits include real estate cost savings and the ability to hire the best talent anywhere. While some early adopters – such as IBM – have called employees back to the office citing face-time benefits, most employees and employers see value in remote work.
A recent Indeed survey of over 500 each of employees and employers across diverse industries found that improved productivity and employee happiness are viewed as benefits of remote work. What’s more, many seek remote work opportunities, with nearly half (47%) of employees saying remote work policies are an important factor in choosing a job, and 40% of employees whose employers don’t currently offer remote work saying they would consider taking a pay cut for that option.
Facts to Consider
People who try telecommuting really like it. Three-quarters of remote workers (75%) say it improves work-life balance, with the vast majority saying they are more (57%) or equally (38%) productive when working from home. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of employers agree.
On the flip side, almost 4 in 10 people (37%) at flexible work companies believe working from home can result in less visibility and access to firm leadership. Other studies find remote workers are more likely to feel isolated and left out of important decisions.
Making remote work “work”
In my experience, several best practices can combat the drawbacks and enhance the effectiveness of remote work:
- Outline expectations – Clear expectations make happier teams. Be direct about team roles, responsibilities and project deadlines.
- Set realistic limits on work-from-home days – A few days in the office, if possible, can foster teamwork and eliminate isolation.
- Provide ample face- or voice-time – Check in frequently and hold set meetings via phone or videoconference. Make yourself available to employees.
- Get comfortable with communication technology – Use services such as Skype, Samepage, Livestorm, etc. to connect face-to-face. Slack is a popular IM option.
- Ensure equal engagement - When one or more employees is participating via video with a conference room full of people, be mindful of that remote person - actively ask for their opinions and ideas so they don’t get lost in the meeting.
A carefully considered remote work policy can go a long way towards higher job satisfaction levels – something every company should strive to achieve.