Are employees more productive when they’re working in the office or when they’re allowed to work from home? Well, it depends on who you ask. Company leaders can’t seem to agree whether working from home is good or bad for business. However, one thing is certain: the numbers show that remote work is on the rise.
A recent study by Global Workplace Analytics shows that 40% more U.S. employers offered flexible workplace options than they did five years ago. Plus, 69% percent of employers offer remote work on an ad hoc basis to at least some employees.
So the question is: should you give your employees the flexibility to work from home? And what kind of rules or guidelines would you need to have in place? Let’s go through some of the things to consider while writing your own work from home policy. We’ll even provide some example policies for you to check out.
What is a Work From Home Policy?
Simply put, a work from home policy is a set of guidelines used by a company that outlines the rules about how employees can work remotely, instead of physically coming into the office.
Obviously there are some jobs that cannot be done remotely. For example, if customers regularly come to meet you at your workplace, then you need to be in your office. However, the data shows that most people could work from home, with 56 percent of employees having some job duties that could be fulfilled from home.
Regardless of whether you do or don’t allow your employees to work remotely, it’s important that you have an official work from home policy in your employee handbook so that all workers understand the rules.
Should Employees Be Allowed to Work From Home?
For years Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been touting the importance of a flexible work from home policy. He once said “Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge.”
Fast forward to 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world, and public health officials widely recommended that workers stay home to avoid spreading the virus. The CEO of media giant Charter Communications pushed back, issuing a memo telling employees they need to come into work because they “are more effective from the office.”
So how is it that two corporate giants could have such vastly different stances on remote work? Well, every company is unique and needs to decide for themselves whether remote work is good or bad for their own business.
Below are some questions you should ask when considering your work from home policy.
Will Your Staff Be Productive Working from Home?
The debate about the productivity of remote work is far from being settled, but to get the best results you need to set your team up for success. The most important way to help your team’s productivity is to leverage the right technology. If teams aren’t physically together, then they need to collaborate digitally instead.
The best way to achieve this is to have a project management software that allows team members to work together collaboratively on the same platform. If you don’t have a good system to get visibility into your team’s work, then remote work will lead to disorganization and a loss of productivity.
Can Your Managers Handle It?
Every manager has a different style of leadership. Managers with strong communication skills will adjust well to remote work and see very little change in the team’s performance. But some managers who are traditionalists may not be able to handle the change. If your company leaders aren’t capable of managing a distributed team, then you’re going to run into problems.
What Do the Company Leaders Think?
It’s also important to talk to your leadership team about how they feel about remote workers because it’s their direct reports who will be the ones utilizing your remote work policy. Often your executives, VPs, and department heads are your most experienced and dedicated staff, so it’s important to get buy-in from them. If all of the leaders in the company are aligned with your company policy, you’ll see the best results.
How Will Remote Work Affect Profitability?
Remote work can have a big impact on the bottom line for a business. If there is a productivity loss, then the company will suffer. However, some teams will see increased productivity which can improve profitability.
Another financial consideration is that a remote staff does not require the same amount of spend on things around the office. If employees work from home, then the company will spend less on things like utilities, internet, snacks and equipment.
How Do The Employees Feel?
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to get feedback from your employees about this. The Global Workplace Analytics study also shows that 80 percent of employees want to work from home at least some of the time, so it’s likely that having flexibility in your policy will make employees happy.
Additionally, your work from home policy can have a big impact on your ability to recruit and hire new employees. Highly qualified job candidates who are accustomed to a flexible work environment may pass you up if your policy does not allow for remote work. This goes for employee retention, too.
Example Work From Home Policies
Now that you’ve weighed all of the pros and cons of remote work, you’re ready to write your own work from home policy. We’ve included some examples of policies that you can use to get started.
Example: Strict Work From Home Policy
Because our company values hard work, collaboration and teamwork, we require that all staff come into the office. We do not allow employees to work remotely. Of course if you are sick, you should not come into the office, but instead take the day off.
Example: Ad Hoc Work From Home Policy
Our company values hard work, collaboration and teamwork, so we’d like you to work in the office each day. However, we understand that life happens and things come up, so we allow employees to work from home for one-off events like:
- Your child’s school is canceled
- You have a contractor that needs to come to your house during the day
- You are feeling sick but you’re still able to work
Important Note: All work from home events must be approved by your manager in advance so we can plan accordingly. Managers have the discretion to approve/deny any work from home requests.
Example: Allowance-Based Work From Home Policy
Our company values hard work, collaboration and teamwork, so we’d like you to work in the office each day. However, we also understand that, time-to-time, our employees prefer to work from home for different reasons. To offer you some flexibility, each employee is allotted three (3) work from home days per calendar month. Please use discretion when scheduling your remote days so that you are not away for important in-office meetings and events.
Example: Open Work From Home Policy
Since our company culture promotes autonomy, innovation and flexibility, we have an open work from home policy. We encourage you to work from home any time you see fit, as much as you’d like.
How ProjectManager.com Helps Teams Work From Home
When team members are working remotely, it’s an unfortunate truth that collaboration can suffer. That’s why ProjectManager.com has built project management software with everything you could need to work together with your team online. ProjectManager.com offers collaborative project management tools for teams that want to work better together, regardless of where employees are physically located.
The success of a project is highly dependent on what kind of planning was done at the beginning. To help you plan your projects, ProjectManager.com offers Gantt charts, which allow you to schedule all of your team’s tasks in a visual timeline. Then each task can be assigned to a team member to be executed, all in the same platform.
Teams need to collaborate in order to be successful, which can be particularly difficult when team members are working remotely. With ProjectManager.com teams can share the responsibilities and the tasks in a project so everyone is working in one central workspace together. Kanban boards can be turned into collaborative workflows so that everyone knows exactly what’s going on inside the team’s project.
ProjectManager.com’s cloud-based project management software is accessible online via a web browser, so remote employees and those who work from home can stay connected to their teams, anywhere where there is internet access.
Regardless of which style of work from home policy you choose, your team will benefit from ProjectManager.com’s collaborative project management platform. Managers love our software because it allows them to plan work, delegate tasks, track progress and collaborate with their employees through the cloud. Remote workers also love our tools because they can stay connected with their team and projects from anywhere. Sign up today and get your first 30 days for free.