The new normal, especially in Malaysia, has been introduced due to COVID-19 pandemic, has provided clear evidence of the effectiveness of working from home. We are sharing some of the ideas for HR to consider a work from home policy to keep the business running smooth and productive.
With many companies now supporting or even mandating that employees to work from home amid global health issues over the coronavirus, millions can foresee having their daily workouts and routine affected. But not everyone is familiar with operating from home (Which not a problem to most IT professionals or companies who practises Flexi-working days even before the pandemic).
Hence, the work from home policy should step in to paint a clear picture to those who are new to the new normal. Let's start with the pros and cons!
The Power of Trust
Commitment drives towards success; hence, employees in your company who invested their dedication and willingness towards work thoroughly will ensure the organisation to achieve the goals. The power word is "trust", a company who encourage employees with trust to work from home will create an unconditional bond to the company which they will return the favour as appreciation.
It Cuts The Long Never-Ending Commute Time
One significant advantage most employees notice when they first work from home is to skip the hectic, never-ending commute. Stats have shown that Malaysian commute time has been increasing from year to year. Work from home will allow employees to replace their commute time to themselves, their families, their hobbies – making work-life more meaningful.
It Reduces Absenteeism
When employees spend more time working at home than at the office, it will reduce the likeliness to spread disease should they fall sick occasionally. The outcome? Company will see a healthier, more dynamic team which somehow relatable to the current pandemic situation like the COVID-19
People Live To Be Around Others
"Our bodies release the feel-good chemicals oxytocin and serotonin when we see people we care about – like friends, coworkers, and family members" - SnackNation. Being away from the office or office mates (should they miss the fantastic ping pong table in the office's breakroom or a laugh over lunch) can lead to depression. Work from home can be stressful if employees if they spend too much time away from people.
Distraction Can Be A Culprit
Crying child, noisy environment, and other subjective forms of distractions will contribute toward unproductive task management. The situation for each employee varies based on their stage of life, rarely occur to those who live alone or with a partner (without toddler), which focus on doing work is still possible. Different outcome goes to those who are living in a large family with no place to escape for work.
Tough Act To Follow: Company That Practises Micromanagement
A conservative company (in terms of work culture and management) will have trouble to supervise their employees when they do not have a choice but to work from home (during a pandemic, for instance). Many factors can be the causes of the issue if the employer used to micromanage their employees, and at this time around, they cannot do so. The outcome, productivity will eventually decrease if you do not have employees who can work independently or those always work if they are under supervision.
9 Work From Home Policy For HR Personnel
The end goal of your company’s Work From Home Policy should aim for excellent benefits while limiting the risks, eventually preparing your employees to be as thriving working at home as they are in the office. Let’ have a look at the first one.
#1 Determine The Adjustment
Not all job role can be shifted to remote work (such as employees who are very dependent on system software that requires office access). Thus you have to segment employees that can work remotely and those who cannot do so. Once you identify the group, time to look for a solution on how to make their job role work in a work from home environment. (Software install to a portable device, etc.)
#2 Establish A Mandatory Online Time
Once you establish step #1, time to come into an agreement where you prepare and brief to the employees a standard schedule on mandatory time to be online during the working hours. It will effectively eliminate delay for any urgent matters required throughout completing a task and when to expect least from people when they are off for a break.
#3 Set A Regular Working Hours
Your Work From Home Policy should affirm when employees should commit to their work, and when to call it a day. Should you go for flexibility, setting a total number of working hours would help. Still, it will affect response time and productivity (since employees are working at different hours, which can cause delay, and it will be hard for you to measure productivity).
The best method is to adapt the standard working hours, or you can establish several working hours based on teams or department. (Sales to choose the typical 9 to 5 while Software Developers prefer to work from 3 pm to 11 pm)
#4 Standardized team’s communications platform
While face to face interaction will no longer be an option, your internal comms must be scattered. It suggests you reconsider your current communications platforms and assigning the primary purpose for each (A single platform or specific for each team. It might also mean revoking unnecessary platforms as well. For example, if your company uses both Skype and Zoom, you should demand team members stick with one or the other to avoid disorganization.
#5 Ensure IT Support
This time around, employees on each department will rely on technology more than the usual. Implementing the most stable communication and ensuring flow in job functions requires a consistent IT support. Ensuring IT support is important to avoid downtime or any technical issue related that can affect productivity. Specifically if you are bound for a remote onboarding (especially during thee Covid-19 pandemic, guaranteeing smooth briefing procedure and flow is crucial.
#6 Consider Investing In IT Security
With the increasing number of businesses turned online. We can assume an attempt on cyberattacks will often become as well. For your team’s safety measure, investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect all system users will be a wise move. Since the company’s crucial documents (Financial report or any company’s blueprint) will be flying around online, it opens the opportunity for cybercriminals to take advantage of hacking those files.
#7 Resume internal communication as usual (Team meeting or Casual Session)
Any business in this world requires constant communication. Email and Skype updates should maintain. Your weekly or twice-monthly meeting will be more challenging than ever to retain, but there is no other way to other than to hold to it, even if you have to conduct it digitally. A weekly email from a CEO, for instance, will help everyone in the organization to have a clear and correct mindset on the company’s direction.
#8 Emphasize Dress Code (Even Working From Home)
While wearing pajamas throughout the workday (Possibly?!) seems like it should be a benefit of any Work From Home situation. But to keep in mind, employees in a certain department (such as Sales or Marketing) may still have to engage with customers, clients, or partners via video call. A simple note about attire to cater to those situations is appropriate.
#9 Gather Feedback And Track Concerns
It is impossible to get everything right the first time. Always chase for feedback from team leaders and employees for evaluation. See on which part of work from home in each job function needs an adjustment. Try to identify if there any decrement in productivity compared to working in the office. Ultimately, fulfilling your Work From Home Policy will demand a change of management. Your aim should be business as usual, and to achieve that means the extensive appropriation of new work routine. Set the precise expectations for all teams and support them to achieve breakthroughs.
How is working from home works for you and your team so far? Do you have any tips/tricks that worked well? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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