Employees working from home has become far more common these past few years for many reasons. It may be the employer’s choice in an attempt to keep overheads under control, or alternatively, the employee may have had a request authorised under flexible working laws to allow home working.
However it comes about, there are some general principles employers need to consider when managing WFH employees and the employees’ home doubles as their workplace.
Use Remote Employees Best Practices and Have a Remote Workers Policy in Place
Managing staff working from home presents employers with several practical issues that need to be ironed out. To that end, managing home workers can be complex. A written policy will ensure that the ground rules are in place from the outset and provide a ‘go-to’ document if any confusion or questions arise when managing work-at-home employees.
Communication Is Essential When Supervising Remote Workers.
If employees working from home is not the norm in an organisation, it is important to remember this when communicating with employees. If you’re sending an email, follow working with remote teams best practices and include them on the distribution list but remember that they will not need to know everything that office-based staff need to know, e.g. to ensure the staff kitchen is kept tidy at all times. Remember that employee engagement has strong links to communication and involvement.
Ensure employees working from home have a list of names and telephone numbers of people they will need to contact as part of their duties.
Observe remote workforce best practices and organise catch-ups to ensure the homeworker feels connected to the workplace. These may be daily whilst the new homeworker adjusts and may get made less frequent as time passes.
Get The Right Equipment For Employees Working From Home
As part of your duties of managing employees working from home, ensure the employee has all the equipment required to complete the job correctly, including laptops, printers etc. Think about what will happen if they break – will the employee have remote IT support? Consider their location too. Does it have good wifi access? What will contingency plans be for managing employees working remotely if their internet access falters?
Don’t forget that your duty of care extends to homeworkers to ensure that their workstation is set up correctly from a health and safety point of view.
Managing Staff Working From Home & Supervision
Where the home is also the workplace, the employee may face temptations which take their focus off their work. It contributes to managing the performance of remote employees more challenging. You should create a policy of best practices for managing remote employees. The policy should set out precisely what you expect regarding productivity, which you should supervise effectively. Monitoring on a greater level may need to be undertaken when managing staff working from home to ensure that they perform to the required standard.
Data Protection Guidelines For Managing Remote Workers
Suppose the employee is in possession of sensitive or confidential documents. In that case, you must include guidelines for managing remote workers, ensuring that they can take appropriate measures to provide these documents with safe and adequate storage. Provision of lockable cabinets etc. should cover this.
In addition, when managing staff working from home, agree with the employee that the equipment you provide to carry out their work is to be used for work purposes only or that the homeworker’s passwords remain secret to prevent anyone else in the household from accessing your work systems.
Other Considerations When Managing Employees Working From Home
There are many positives to having employees working from home, but managing employees working from home does throw up a couple of questions you may want to consider:
Does your liability insurance cover homeworkers?
Does the employee’s home insurance permit homeworking?
Consider your stance on reimbursing expenses connected to the role, e.g., replacing printer cartridges, wifi costs, etc.
Managing Work-At-Home Employees’ FAQs
How do I keep employees working from home accountable?
Supervising remote workers can be a challenge for any employer, but there are some simple steps you can take to keep employees working from home accountable. Any employer should have a written policy for all employees working on-site or from home. Ensure that you have clear communication with remote workers and set clear expectations of what you expect regarding productivity and quality. There is also software available that allows you to measure work output to help keep employees accountable. When managing a team working from home, having regular meetings can help employees stay motivated and feel less isolated.
How should I be promoting and managing remote employees best practices?
As an employer and managing home workers, keeping your workforce motivated and productive comes with a few challenges. One thing that you will need to do as the employer trusts your staff to do their jobs. Managing remote employees best practices needs to include keeping rules consistent, setting expectations, and offering tips on working from home. You can even provide training and advice on time management if it helps the employee.