Many employers have asked employees to work from home. But can all employees work well from home? How do you decide who can and who can't?
Do you own or operate a business? If so you’ve probably felt the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on your business operations. Social distancing regulations have been put in place by health authorities in many countries. To abide by these many employers around the world have been forced to slim down your operations and allow employees to work from home
Many employers are experiencing a mix of results when having their employees work remotely. The timeline for when operations can return back to normal is uncertain. You might be asking yourself “should all of my employees work from home on a permanent basis?”
To help you decide the best course of action, we interviewed one of our business coaching experts about how they’ve been working with employers to set businesses up for success while adapting to a remote workforce.
In this blog, we’ll look at some habits that you can encourage in your employees. We’ll discuss some things to avoid and we’ll consider an amazing method to create a work-from-home strategy for your business.
Who we talked to
Our business coach, Greg Dalton, has over 25 years experience in the corporate world. He has worked with both corporate and private clients at national and international levels. Greg has qualifications in Human Resource Management, Psychology, Education Psychology and Career & Business Coaching.
He works with businesses to create remote working strategies. He also created the Career Screening Programme™ to help employers discover and retain top talent.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best work-from-home tips that Greg shared with us.
1. What is most important when enabling employees to work well from home?
Greg provided six tips to enable your employees to maximise productivity. Try encouraging these behaviours in your employees to help them get the most from the experience:
- Have the right attitude: A disciplined and diligent mindset will help employees carry out their duties without direct supervision.
- Get set up with the right environment and tools: To work efficiently, you have to dedicate the time to enhance the at-home working space and provide some tools of the trade. This includes a designated space that’s used for work activities only, like a dedicated desk or a converting a spare bedroom to a home office if you can. Your employees will also need some equipment and services such as a dedicated work-safe computer and a fast and reliable internet connection.
- Conscientiousness: Make sure your employees understand the importance of taking on each day like they were heading to a professional workspace. Proper business attire and appropriate manners while on video conferences are very important.
- Communication: It’s important to keep in regular contact with your colleagues, clients and employees. While working from home, you can’t assume that everyone knows that you’re available to take a call or get assigned a task.
- Take a break: One of the best things about working from home is that you can be task-oriented. When one task is complete, give yourself a 10-minute break before starting another one.
- Routine: A good routine can make or break a remote working arrangement. Instead of rolling out of bed and heading straight from the bedroom to the workstation. It’s best if your employees wake up with enough time to shower, eat and get dressed professionally. Another great option is to encourage them to go for a morning walk before work. They can head to a nearby coffee shop to get a morning coffee or tea before heading back to their workstations with a focused mindset.
2. What are the key things that stop employees from getting their work done?
The tips from answer #1 are some of the biggest drivers of success while working from home. However, there’s one singular thing that stops employees dead in their tracks as they try to get work done at home: distractions.
Greg had this to say:
“There are always things to be done at home. If they’re distracting you, you’re not going to be efficient and will eventually become frustrated by not achieving your work goals.”
The most common distractions include family responsibilities, pets and home-related projects. If your employees can keep their at-home distractions to a minimum, they’ll be able to better focus on their work and therefore be more productive.
3. Would you ever stop people working from home?
When asked about whether he has ever recommended to halt some work-from-home situations, Greg had this to say:
“Yes, simply because they were not achieving what they needed to achieve. As a result of this, they became stressed and worried about when a client, colleague or boss would call to ask about progress. These people were simply better off not working from home. They often need colleagues or bosses interaction on a 1-2-1 basis & their employers understand this. We’re not all capable of working alone, from home, away from these supports which we often take for granted while in the workplace”
These types of employees thrive when they can interact with their colleagues and bosses on a one-to-one basis.
As an employer, you need to identify these types of employees at your company. You need to empathise with their situation. Not all of us are capable of working at home while away from the traditional workplace supports. It’s possible to make alternative arrangements for those employees to give them a comfort level that helps them succeed.
4. Would you ever suggested letting office-based workers work from home?
Our expert suggested that some office workers are some of the best types of employees to transition to work-from-home arrangements. They can achieve more, often in less time, because at home they don’t have the distractions of the office:
“These are the individuals who unknowingly struggled with their workplace environment – the coffee or water machine was a cause for social interaction. This led to the individual(s) losing track of where they were, losing time without realising it and therefore not achieving what they are now achieving outside of the office.”
5. What should you consider before letting your employees work from home?
According to Greg, there are some factors you should consider when opening up your company to a remote-based workplace:
- The working environment, including the physical space as well as the mindset of employees;
- What impact working from home will have on an employee’s personal life;
- The number of hours or days that employees should spend away from the office;
- What supports that can be provided for remote workers; and,
- The company’s security and data integrity.
Are you looking for an amazing strategy to help implement successful work-from-home policies at your workplace? Try opening up to staff about the idea and to seek their feedback and interest level. Afterwards, we recommend working with an expert such as Greg. He can help profile the employees who express interest in working from their homes. That way you can make sure that change is a success for them and for the business.
You can do a survey to determine if they show signs of the right mindset, attitude, capabilities and home environment to enable an efficient at-home working arrangement:
“We profile each employee for any employer who wants to permit their staff to work from home, using the four main profile factors: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance.
We then provide the employer with their employees’ profiles detailing their strengths and limitations, their communication style, their value to their business, what motivates them, their basic fears and how they behave in various situations, including while under pressure or working away from the office or place of work.
Based on that we can make a recommendation to the employer as to whether an employee should be working from home, and if so, how often (typically 1, 3 or 5 days a week).”
There you have it! We hope this guide will help your business make the important decisions about remote working arrangements that await in the future. Book a free 15-minute discovery call with Greg today to find out what he can do for your business.
For more great business coaching tips and guides to help develop yourself, your business and your career, check out the Upskill Coach Blog.