As an upward-moving trend, telecommuting has become a reality for many employers and employees in today’s work world. Companies are closing offices and adopting a work-from-home approach to protect employees, many of which who have never experienced working from home. Making sure you and your employees have the proper resources to succeed at home is just as important, if not more, than when working from home. 

Whether employees prefer going into the office, or never liked it anyway, when that is what they’re used to, working from home can be an eye-opening adjustment. They don’t have that person-to-person contact, supplies, environment, and other assets that you’re used to in the office. They may even have more distractions with kids running around, access to all those snacks in the pantry, their bed, or their cute puppy lounging around. As a manager trying to navigate the new telecommuting lifestyle for you and your employees, follow the tips in this blog to make the transition seamless:

Set Policies & Guidelines

policies while telecommuting

As a manager, it is your job to create guidelines and policies for your employees to follow. Employees need to know what you expect from them so they can do their job accordingly. Define expectations for the workday, communication strategies, new processes, new software, and more. Working from home is a new concept to many, so to guide them through it is essential for success. Some policies and guidelines to follow could include:

  • Number of telecommuting days; all week or 50/50
  • Expected care for office equipment
  • Breaks allowed/duration of breaks
  • Employee work habits
  • How to manage confidential information/software to use
  • Time-tracking software

Setting reasonable policies and guidelines sets you up for success so you can efficiently achieve the goals that you create in the next tip. 

Create Realistic Meaningful Goals & Implement Trust

Goals while telecommuting

Managing employees from home can seem overwhelming. How do you know if they’re doing their job? How will they get everything done with distractions at home? The key to an effective telecommuting strategy is discipline and goal-setting. Not only do you have to set policies and guidelines for employees who are telecommuting, but you also have to create realistic goals for them to accomplish. To ensure these goals are being met, set expected outcomes and specific metrics that will allow you to track results effectively. 

Create these goals and rely faithfully on your employees to carry through. You have to trust them to be productive without all eyes on them. If you are watching over them or checking in too much, they could lose their focus on the tasks at hand. Set clear goals and expectations to follow and allow them to achieve them through their process.

Communicate Openly & Often

communication while telecommuting

Communication is essential in any situation, but especially in those of uncertainty. Communicate expectations, keep employees in the loop, have meetings when necessary, and be available when they need you. Not only should you communicate with your team as a whole, but you should make an effort to communicate with individuals within that team. Employees feel isolated when working from home because of the lack of contact with other coworkers. Make sure you are putting an effort in to ensure each person feels comfortable and confident in completing their job. Tell your employees they are doing a good job and motivate them to keep pushing. Doing this leads to the next tip for making telecommuting easy.

Recognize Employees

recognize employees

Give employees motivation to get through their workday by recognizing their hard work. If no one is noticing the hard work someone is putting in, it can make them feel like it’s all for nothing, which can lead to stress and burn-out quickly. Let your employees know how much they are appreciated and recognize each individual’s contribution. Acknowledging the effort someone is putting in will fuel their need to improve and earn even more praise, which creates a cycle that is essential for a successful business.

Provide the Tools and Resources Necessary

Provide tools

In an office, there are typically computers, printers, ink, chargers, and anything you could ever need to get your job done. Offices are different than homes: offices are where people get work done, and a house is where they spend down-time. When moving to a home office from a corporate office, some may notice they don’t have all the resources they once had to get their job done. Maybe their home computer is old and slow, they don’t have a printer, or they have to go out and buy all the office supplies that were once available for free. 

When employees begin working from home, they should be provided with the resources to do so successfully. Expecting your employees to figure it out on their own is setting them up for failure. You want the transition to be as seamless and stress-free as possible, so you should be giving them the tools and resources necessary. Some ways you can ensure employees have the proper resources are:

  • Allow them to take their work computers home
  • Send them a monthly kit of supplies that they would have in the office
  • Reimburse them for any necessary work-related purchases
  • Utilize cloud-based productivity tools
  • Guide employees through new software (conduct webinars, training sessions, and meetings)

Encourage Health and Wellness

Health and wellnessMaybe your office sits out fruit and veggies throughout the day, offers yoga classes during lunch/after hours, or a fitness room that you can get a quick workout throughout the day. These are all great options for promoting health and wellness in the workplace, but how do you access them when you’re working from home? Just because employees are telecommuting for work doesn’t mean promoting health and wellness is out the window. 

Encourage employees to take a break from work, go for a walk, and make nutritious choices throughout the day. Set up fitness competitions among employees, for example: whoever gets the most steps in a week gets a prize. Set up those lunch-time yoga sessions virtually. Zoom and other video conference call technology have become everyone’s new best friend. Encourage your employees to participate in yoga at lunch-time or even after work with their friends and family. Just because they can’t be in the office doesn’t mean they lose access to all things health and wellness. 

The transition to telecommuting is intimidating at first glance. You have to consider everyone’s individual needs and ensure they have the proper resources for success. Use the tips in this blog to keep your team going and ensure that telecommuting is as easy as possible.

Leave a Reply