How can your company work successfully at home? Here are 7 steps you can take:

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Due to global pandemic around the world companies need to quickly provide their employees with work from home practices. This has inspired many to assess or reassess the value of work from home (WFH) employment strategy. Managed well, remote work can bring advantages to team productivity and worker satisfaction.

But one aspect of remote work, not enough people have covered, is employee engagement. Engagement is essential to the success of any organization.

Now, with a significant chunk of employees working from home, staff engagement is more vital than ever. It is imperative your organization has a plan to maximize, capture, and record employee engagement.

At Plan Professionals Inc we strive to serve as an employer’s trusted adviser. Part of this dedication to becoming your trusted source is to help you maximize all facets of your employee benefits program, including your work from home plan.

In this article, we will help break down the best work from home plan possible So, keep reading to learn how you can maximize the success of your remote work program. The relationship between remote work and employee engagement is complex.

How to Maximize Your Employees’ Work from Home Productivity.

Engaged employees, work harder, are present more often, and are more likely to stay with your company.

But, as previously mentioned, the relationship between remote work and employee engagement can be complicated. So, ultimately, there are no “wrong” answers. Still, the following methods can be crucial to building remote working employee’s engagement.

Balance Structure with Flexibility.

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Like most things in life, building a quality work from home plan requires balance. You must work with your employees to find a balance between structure and flexibility which helps develop self-respect among your employees.

So, what does that look like?

Helping your employees have a daily routine or schedule to better managing time and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Still, remote work requires flexibility on behalf of both managers and other coworkers. For example, those with children may have to delay a meeting to provide care for their kids.

This flexibility includes providing employees the space to work different hours than they typically would. As a result, some employees may not always be available during normal work hours. But it is always best to focus on the quality of work rather than which hours your staff works. 

Is Your Team Prepared?

How many of your employees would say they are well prepared? To ensure your employees are ready for continued or future remote working, make sure they have the necessary tools, materials, training, and expectations.

To effectively work remotely, your employees need the necessary technology and materials. These tools include:

  • Workplace tools like Salesforce and Dropbox
  • Communication and collaboration technology like Slack and Zoom
  • Antivirus, firewall, VPNs, and other security technologies
  • Physical devices such as printer/scanners, monitors, keyboards, and cables.
  • Establish a robust infrastructure for information management and collaboration or upgrade the one already in place. Automate as many processes as possible. 

Communicate Early and Often.

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Encouragement and assistance are key management tactics while professionals acclimate to working from home. A key to maximizing the effectiveness of your WFH plan is to make sure you are communicating early and often with your staff as possible.

Keep everyone up to speed with memos and similar internal developments, so those outside the office will not feel left out of the loop. Collaborate more than ever, with no opportunity for spur of the moment brainstorming, or mutual teamwork be sure your team is setting time aside to be able to meet with tools like Zoom, Slack, Teams, and FaceTime in order to help you address any issues or questions as they arise.

Try to keep online meetings and phone calls for the afternoon or early evening, as some remote workers might have busy mornings schedules or are in completely different time zones.

Plan after-hours online activities for boosting team morale and helping you and your team feel connected.

Set Clear, Realistic Expectations.

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It is vital to set clear expectations for all your employees to maximize your company’s work from home effectiveness. These clear expectations are necessary because remote work is typically less structured than in-office work.

  • Yearly, monthly, and weekly goals
  • Update on goal results
  • Hours that your employee must be available.
  • Available tools and resources
  • Preferred communication methods
  • Project/Task ownership
  • Contact information and guidelines for support

Give Your Staff Options and Autonomy.

One of the most essential steps any company can take to support the strength and effectiveness of your remote work plan is to give your team both flexibility and autonomy. Each of these attributes provides your staff with a freedom that can help improve both employee engagement and productivity.

Technology employees reported significantly higher levels of ability to focus (despite the fact many tech workspaces opt for open plans). Similarly, tech workers are, on average, both happier and more satisfied in their jobs and with their workplaces.

And what was, on average, the difference between tech workers and employees of other industries? Technology employees were nearly 10 percent more likely to report choice and autonomy when deciding where, when, and how to work which can now be seen in other industries.

Use Science-Based Judgement.

According to Gallup, its imperative organizations use science-based judgment to examine multiple aspects of your workplace and determine how to best implement your work from home policy. These workplace dimensions include:

  • Job roles and key job demands
  • Workspaces and safety
  • An individual’s perceived readiness & comfort
  • Life circumstances
  • Performance
  • An individual’s ability to use one’s strengths
  • Team engagement
  • The dynamics of working together remotely

Each of these aspects of the workplace affects an individual’s, and subsequently your entire organization, ability to maximize your work from home policy.

Last but by no means least,

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While every company culture is different many of those that have had some remote work options have the highest employee engagement. This can be attributed to reduced commute times, more controlled workspace, flexible hours to work when they are most productive and overall a feeling of a more stable work-life balance.

There may not be one exact formula for maximizing employee engagement through your work from home policy so if you need help with implementing a WFH plan, or any other facet of your employee benefits plan, contact us at questions@planprofessionals.com , 212-697-2000 

Cara Lovenson is president of Plan Professionals, Inc., a licensed insurance consultant located in New York City. She can be reached at 212-697-2000, or by e-mail at cara@planprofessionals.com. Her Web site is planprofessionals.com

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