“Employee-Friendly? Shouldn’t my WFH policy focus on productivity? I am paying these people, after all.”
Well, sure, except that there’s a correlation between employee-friendly policies and productivity. I very much doubt that employees who suffer from burn out are productive, at least not for long.
Besides, it’s easier to get stuff done when you’re at ease and well-rested, right? I’m sure it’s the same for your employees.
But on to the actual topic. Given how a pandemic strong-armed companies into embracing a WFH scheme, it’s only natural that many still lack a good remote work policy. Most companies simply aren’t equipped with the knowledge and experience, and the right policy will look different for each one as well.
However, if you or your company intend to adapt a WFH set-up for the long run, crafting the best possible policy is key.
So, how can you tell if your WFH policy respects employee nuances? Here are some criteria that you can use to evaluate such:
Does Your WFH Policy Make Room For Varying Productivity Schedules?
Just because you like to log in and get started at 8 AM sharp doesn’t necessarily mean that your employees do too. Working parents, for instance, might need to spend that time making breakfast for their children and getting them ready for homeschooling.
Furthermore, some people are simply more productive at night, when all the chores are finished and distractions are at a minimum.
This is why it’s important for remote work policies to allow for flexible work schedules. Working at home means that there are less barriers between one’s personal and professional life. Overlapping would be inevitable, and your company’s WFH policy should make allowances for such.
Which leads us to the next item…
Is There Enough Room to Accommodate Emergencies?
Speaking of overlapping, even the most disciplined and organised remote worker won’t be able to anticipate every emergency out there. A child or a relative could get sick and need to be brought to the hospital. Something could break at home and require immediate repairs or replacement. Or the remote worker could simply wake up and feel under the weather.
This is where a flexible work schedule comes in. Whether you compensate your remote team based on their output or number of hours worked, there has to be a way for them to make up for any missed assignments or hours in the event of an emergency.
For instance, your policy could allow them to work overtime once they are able to. Or they could also earn some free time or leeway if they finish tasks or projects before the deadline.
Does Your Policy Value Productivity Over the Number of Hours Worked?
Okay, we need to talk about this. In some cases, the eight-hour work day might not make the most sense. If you have skilled workers, they might be able to finish their daily deliverables fairly quickly. Requiring them to stay logged on for no other reason than to complete the eight hours doesn’t exactly reward their competence.
Obviously, some positions will require an employee to be present during certain hours. Customer-facing jobs are one example. Otherwise, you might want to consider compensating employees based on their output rather than how long it took them to come up with such.
Are Your Expectations for Employee Availability Reasonable?
Despite the potential flexibility of their jobs, WFH employees are often at greater risk of burning out. Why? Because they feel pressure to constantly be available, even well past working hours.
Unless you want a high remote employee turnover, you need to create an environment that allows them to compartmentalise. This means refraining from messaging them after their work hours and encouraging them to sign off once they’re done for the day.
In addition, you should also make allowances for the introverts on your team who might need time to recuperate from endless meetings. Eliminate pointless mandatory ones that could have been emails (!). Examine the agenda when members request a meeting. Determine if the other members absolutely need to be present, or if you can resolve such concerns amongst yourselves.
Have You Got Suitable Communication Standards in Place?
While flexibility is great, there also has to be structure. The lack of this can also make workers feel isolated and unmoored, regardless of how much freedom they have.
Team communication is a great venue for implementing structure. If you have a distributed team, there should be a couple hours each day where everyone’s schedules intersect. This allows for real-time communication. It’s also a good idea to have the right infrastructure in place to allow for daily updates, 1:1 check-ins, and the occasional video conference.
Think platforms and applications like Zoom, Slack, or Google Docs.
Lastly, it would be good to set rules for how promptly team members should reply if they’re online. You can also brief your team to use the right communication channels according to the urgency of their concerns.
If you’re still feeling completely lost and have no idea how to proceed after this, there is a solution. Remote Staff has been helping Australian entrepreneurs find and onboard the best Filipino remote talent for more than a decade. Our company has had years and years to figure out works and what doesn’t. You can bet that we can help you find your remote work rock stars and, most importantly, get them to stay.
Click here to schedule a callback with us today.