With workplace flexibility and hybrid working now becoming more of the norm, it’s time for business owners to ensure that the team you build are able to function successfully while working from home, writes employment lawyer, author, and founder of 3D HR Legal, Jo Alilovic.
After two years living through a pandemic, flexibility at work has become an expectation, not a ‘nice-to-have’.
Qualtrics research has found that more than one in three workers are more likely to search for a new job if they are required to return to the office full-time, and Microsoft’s finding that revealed there has been a five-fold increase in the number of remote job postings since the pandemic began, shows that employers are responding.
Whilst some people found a new way of life with working from home, and others felt starved of human connection and couldn’t wait to return to the office – the truth is that your future is likely some kind of hybrid.
But we’ve all learned that creating a successful work-from-home program, whether full-time or some of the time (what I refer to as a ‘homeforce’), requires more than providing an employee with a laptop and remote access. There’s a whole myriad of problems to overcome. We’ve seen massive increases in employee burnout due to a blurring of work-life boundaries, increased concern around privacy and security issues, not to mention employees feeling disconnected and lonely.
The 6 steps to building a successful home-based team
Creating a homeforce of any kind is a big change that needs a big plan to overcome some big challenges. These six steps will help you build a successful home-based team:
1. Remember your vision
Like all good plans, the first step is knowing what you want to achieve. This needs to go beyond ‘I want to enable employees to work from home’.
Imagine yourself in the kind of homeforce you want to be part of. How does it look for you, your employees, clients and other stakeholders? How does the office look? Have the business services changed as a result?
Now ask yourself, ‘Why do I want this?’ A little warning – the answer isn’t ‘because everyone else is doing it’. However, it might be because everyone else is doing it and you need to so that you can compete when recruiting and to retain staff. Delve deep, and think about all the benefits you will gain and what’s most important to you.
Then commit. Communicate the vision often to keep everyone reminded of what your plan is set up to achieve.
2. Establish each role
Like any good map, this framework will only work to take you to your vision if you know where you are when you get started, and what your options are.
Step two involves looking at your organisational structure, the roles and how they work together, and how all the business processes and operations function – then assessing everything for ‘remote-ability’.
Not all jobs are designed to be worked remotely, so there’s no point trying to make them. You need to know what you have to work with.
3. Manage the details
Now it’s time to set your foundations in place. There will always be exceptions for individuals or teams, but for your vision to work, it needs a solid foundation. A set of principles and expectations from which everything else stems, covering:
- Working at home safely
- Working at home productively
- Using appropriate tools and equipment
- Implementing appropriate security measures
- Choosing appropriate insurance
Don’t just download someone else’s principles. Take the time to think carefully about what is best for you.
4. Organise your team
Just as not all jobs are designed to work remotely, neither are all people. We need the right people on our bus. Some people will self-select out before it even begins. Others will try it and fail.
To avoid too many failed attempts, there are other techniques you can use to find the right people for remote/hybrid roles – like interviews and short-term work trials. Another great option is personality tests, but not just any test. Find out what key personality traits you are looking for, and then find a test that tests for that trait rather than just giving you a general description of a personality type.
5. Training and support
For any kind of homeforce vision to be successful, it requires careful onboarding and support for everyone involved. This step goes into a lot of detail around onboarding tips, having effective meetings, learning how to work productively when remote, and great ideas to surprise and delight in the employee experience.
Fundamentally, it all comes down to one important, underpinning requirement: the need for solid, effective working relationships.
We need to remember to ‘check in’ with our team, not ‘check up’. To learn about their personal lives, and how they like to work. To communicate as, when, and how it’s required to get the best out of everyone.
6. Evaluate the result
Change is constant. The world of work is constantly evolving and it is important to take a moment every now and then to pause, and to look back on how far you’ve come.
Have you achieved your goals? Is everyone working from home at least some of the time? Are the business finances improved? Is overall employee wellbeing improved?
Or maybe your vision and goals have changed. Make sure you have techniques for measuring your progress and keeping yourself on track. Financial statements, employee surveys, client surveys, and a general checklist will all help self-audit.
Is creating a home-based team going to be easy? Probably not. Is it going to be worth it? Absolutely – if you do it right.
If you truly want to create a homeforce that has a positive impact on your business and life, then you have to believe in it. Commit with your time and your money and get the right people on board to make your vision a reality.
This post originally appeared on Kochie’s Business Builders, read the original here.
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