8 Human Resources Concerns for Remote Workers
Whether employers like it or not, remote work is here to stay. Not only does working from home keep employees and their families safe from COVID-19, but it offers a more flexible alternative to regular office life. Remote work has repeatedly shown improvements in productivity, work-life balance, and workplace satisfaction, giving employers many reasons to continue offering it long after the pandemic ends.
With remote work becoming a permanent fixture in many workplaces, it’s important that businesses take HR considerations into account. Since remote work differs from the traditional office setting, there are many different things to take into consideration and put into practice with regards to your remote employees. From establishing core hours and paying for things like utilities and furniture to maintaining a work-life balance and creating a more connected workforce, there are several areas to consider.
How do you enforce workplace rules for remote workers?
The very first consideration is how your business plans to enforce workplace rules for employees who aren’t working from the office. There needs to be some way for your business to know when employees are available, what they’re doing during their working hours, and how they’re representing your company in their professional interactions. If you’ve laid out clear conduct rules, can you be sure that they’re being upheld? How will you deal with reports of inappropriate behavior?
These are things you’ll need to keep in mind and create a plan of action for. Checking in with employees on a regular basis and using productivity intelligence tools to keep track of how productively they’re working can go a long way in enforcing workplace rules, as can laying out clear ground rules from day one.
Does the company pay for internet bills? Are remote employees responsible for purchasing office equipment?
Another major consideration is who pays for what? Employees are working from home and will need a reliable (and fast) internet connection, a computer, and ergonomic furniture, all of which comes with a price. In order to address this and incentivize employees to work from home and minimize confusion, your business should establish who exactly is going to pay for what, and how it’ll happen. Will you offer to cover a percentage of internet bills? Give employees a set budget with which to purchase new furniture and a work computer? Lay out how it’s going to work so your remote employees can get the technology and furniture they need to work productively as soon as possible.
Offering the right tools for the job and making sure they’re being used correctly
Once the hardware aspect has been established, you’ll also need to decide what software solutions are distributed to employees and how they’ll be expected to use them. Remote work offers a perfect opportunity to get away from clunky legacy solutions and move to cloud technology, which will enable your employees to seamlessly communicate and collaborate in real time, no matter where employees are located.
Policies regarding use of these solutions should also be established - after all, your business is paying for a license and it’s reasonable to expect that employees make use of them to justify the cost. In order to ensure that tools are being adopted and regularly used by employees, a productivity intelligence solution like Prodoscore can be used to create visibility, identify which employees require additional training, and recognize irrelevant or redundant software that could be phased out.
Promoting core availability hours
Having all hands on deck for at least a few overlapping hours each day is critical to remote work success - it allows your team members to communicate with each other in real-time, makes video conferences involving the entire team a possibility, and ensures that teamwork can run smoothly. These core availability hours should be established, with each employee making themselves fully available during this time, no matter what the time zone implications might be. Promoting overlapping availability helps keep team members aligned, eliminating the chances of employees feeling left out or like an inconsequential part of the team, which will do a great deal to maintain workplace satisfaction and productivity.
How will performance be monitored and measured?
It’s inevitable that remote work is more flexible than an office environment, but performance metrics must still be upheld in order for your business to continue growing and increasing revenue. To make this clear to employees, your expectations will need to be established in a transparent way - how will employee productivity be measured, and how will you handle situations where productivity dips or isn’t up to par?
Opportunities to enhance coaching and better understand behaviors that drive success present new ways to improve outcomes. Solutions like Prodoscore allow you to gain visibility into how productively each member of your team is working, assigning a unique score to each worker which allows you to understand their performance over time, see employees progress into more effective workers, and identify how they stack up to other members of your team and the organization at large.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance
One of the most attractive things about working from home is that it allows employees to work productively and focus on what’s most important in their personal lives. Healthy work-life balance takes time to establish but has massive implications on your employees and business overall. It’s natural that in this new working environment, some employees won’t always be truly offline when they should be.
Your HR department will need to consider how to curb this and promote a healthier work-life balance. A productivity intelligence solution like Prodoscore allows you to see when employees are working during “non-working” hours and to better understand working habits, so you can intervene and help employees take a break away from work if they’re pushing themselves too hard. When employees strike the right balance, they’re happier and healthier, and therefore better performers.
How will security be handled for remote employees?
This is where your HR department will need to collaborate with your IT department to come together on a comprehensive set of rules and procedures regarding data security, which has been stated by many employers to be one of the biggest challenges of remote work. Your business will need to enforce strong passwords, implement two factor authentication for every tool and account used, and possibly even make use of a secure VPN in order to keep data secure.
Rules regarding use of company accounts and VPNs will also need to be established and enforced, as will policies for data sharing and strategies for what needs to happen if an account is compromised or if private information is accidentally seen by a member of an employee’s household. Every aspect of security and privacy will need to be considered and laid out by your HR and IT departments in order to create the most comprehensive security policies possible and avoid a catastrophic data breach or leak.
By considering these things and putting practices into place that protect employees and data, lay out guidelines for employer expectations, and create a seamless experience for teams, remote work can transform your workplace for the better. Productivity intelligence tools like Prodoscore give you unparalleled insight into how your remote employees operate, serving as your HR department’s insurance plan, making it far easier to enhance coaching, improve performance, increase adoption, and dramatically improve individual and organizational outcomes.