Among the things businesses have learned in the last few years, especially during the pandemic, is the importance of careful planning.
But even before 9-5 workers started joining the gig economy and health restrictions were implemented, companies worldwide had already weighed the benefits and downsides of allowing employees to work remotely.
Although many strongly considered this level of flexibility in the workplace, only a few devised a concrete plan to ensure a successful implementation and seamless transition to a remote or hybrid work model.
In this article, we’re going to discuss why every business needs a remote work plan, how to set it up, and what are the benefits of having one.
- What is remote work?
- Benefits of remote work
- How to set up a company remote work plan?
- 3 tips for maintaining a successful remote work plan
Before going any deeper, let’s first define remote work.
As the name implies, remote work entails doing one’s job from a location that’s physically separate from the office.
While traditional work arrangements require employees to report to an office daily, remote employees work from off-site locations such as coworking spaces, cafes, or their home offices.
Digital collaboration and communication tools, document sharing, and other services help them do their job no matter their physical location.
We’re living at a time when uncertainty is at its peak, and developments don’t particularly announce themselves in advance.
That’s why being with an organization that can quickly take care of its employees’ health and safety is a huge plus.
Additionally, formulating a remote work plan eases some of the anxiety and stress employees may be dealing with during the pandemic and similar situations.
So, what are the specific ways companies and employees benefit from remote work?
Flexibility is widely accepted as one of the significant benefits of working from home for employees but is just as beneficial for companies.
It enables your remote team to work on their tasks at different hours than they would if they were reporting to a physical office.
Allowing your employees to be in charge of their schedule leads to better work-life balance and increased job satisfaction.
Allowing employees to work remotely can help businesses retain personnel and reduce absenteeism.
Remote workers are more likely to have a positive attitude towards organization leadership when they don’t feel micromanaged and believe their employer trusts them.
As a result, a sense of loyalty and dedication will be fostered and employees will be less likely to look for a job elsewhere or call in sick and miss work at random.
Renting an office space is expensive.
That’s why companies welcome anything that can help decrease these costs.
Remote working presents itself as one of the viable options as it helps reduce the size of required office space, potentially allowing a company to relocate to much smaller premises.
Eventually, it may even be possible to move away from having a single, centralized office once the majority of work can be carried out remotely.
Instead, companies might just pay to rent meeting rooms or co-working spaces when they’re actually needed.
Providing equipment for an entire workplace can also prove costly.
A company may need to purchase computers, printers, photocopiers, workstations, ergonomic chairs, and various other products.
Many of these expenses can be avoided or significantly reduced when employees have the option to work remotely.
For example, if companies allow employees to use their laptops and smartphones in a remote work setup, that will significantly reduce associated costs.
New research from Catalyst reveals that remote work access significantly increases productivity, well-being, and inclusion.
Employees are free to set their work schedule and work during the hours they are more productive.
Furthermore, working from home (or any other remote location) limits distractions such as a teammate who wants to chat, or colleagues’ conversations.
Now that we better understand the benefits of working remotely it’s time to discuss how to set up a company remote work plan.
The first step is to involve appropriate personnel in the planning process, such as the IT and HR departments, office administrators, and remote team managers.
Make sure you pinpoint and organize projects and tasks that can be accomplished remotely and set up a communication protocol.
💡 Pro tip
If you manage a remote team, you need a remote communication tool that is designed for online team meetings. See how other remote teams improved their remote and hybrid collaboration.
Don’t overlook the human component. Pay close attention to employees’ concerns and anticipate challenges to arise from the transition to working from home.
Last but not least, perform an IT hardware & software audit and cover the following questions.
- Do they have laptops or mobile devices they can use to access their work tasks from home?
- Can they use their home computers for work? Does the equipment meet the minimum software and hardware requirements to perform the required tasks?
- Are company files kept in the cloud (for example, on Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint)?
- Is the company using web-based applications? Are these programs installed on the hardware of the employees? Do they know how to use web-based applications, such as email apps, from home?
- How will the company handle incoming calls to the office?
- How will team members communicate with one another? What is the preferred platform to use?
- Will the employees use their personal phones? Web-based internal communication software? Or both? Do the employees have a remote contact information list that’s readily available to distribute?
- Does the company require web-based meeting management software?
- Does the company require cameras on the devices of its staff for meetings?
- Who is the contact person for hardware or software inquiries?
- Who is the contact person for setting up communication devices and systems?
- Who is the contact person for hardware or software purchase requests?
- Who is the best person to contact for emotional support services?
3 tips for maintaining a successful remote work plan
Regular evaluation of the remote work plan ensures team productivity, health, and safety. It also opens some space for improvement if needed.
Here are some tips for you to implement in order to maintain a successful remote work plan:
- Make sure your employees follow the remote work policies.
- Use communication software that displays when staff is available, at home, in the workplace, or offline.
- Check-in with employees to ensure compliance. If they encounter problems while working remotely, the company can utilize this information to update and improve the overall remote work plan.
Adopting a remote working model brings many benefits both for companies and employees.
On one hand, it can be the key to lowering workplace costs by eliminating the need for expensive office space (or satellite offices).
On the other, allowing employees to set their schedules and work from anywhere they like boosts their productivity and allows them to work more efficiently.
It’s a win-win situation as long as the company comes up with a flexible, well-thought-out remote work plan.
Deepak Juneja is the founder of Tech Webers, an expert in Website Development and SEO. I helped many start-up companies to grow their traffic and sales.