Welcome to Remote Work

Five Things To Make Sure Every Employee Knows



As more organizations announce plans to continue remote work for the rest of the year, communicating clearly to employees about policy updates and resources is paramount for productivity and well-being. While some companies provided remote work as an option before the pandemic, many organizations and employees are still grappling with the shift.

In fact, in 2019 only 11% of workers in the U.S. had access to flexible work arrangements, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that a large portion of today's workforce is still looking for guidance on how to effectively work remotely.

There are several essential questions HR leaders are being asked as we enter into what could be a long winter of remote work. I've captured the five most common here.

1. What are the office hours when I don't have an office?

Working from home has made some employees feel like they are always at work. Companies should remind employees of working hours and be clear about expectations for work, and equally clear about expectations regarding downtime.

For instance, in our organization, one employee shared that due to helping kids with virtual school, working from home from 9 to 5 was no longer possible. A quick-thinking manager encouraged the employee to care for their family and worked out a schedule to help them meet their work needs while balancing other responsibilities. Acknowledging that nothing is the same this year is the start to finding a routine that works for everyone.

2. If we are working from home for the rest of the year, do we have more WFH benefits?

During this time, companies may be providing additional stipends, making office equipment available for home use or changing phone or internet reimbursement policies. However, if they aren't clearly updating employees regularly on what can and can't be expensed, problems can escalate quickly. That's why it is important to put revised policies in writing and explain the changes across multiple channels.

If your organization has not communicated work-from-home benefits and stipends, employees should feel like they can check with their managers or work with their HR business partner. A general rule is that with each communication about WFH, especially extending timelines, clearly outline what resources are available and provide clear instructions on how to access them. 

A final note: It is important to realize that many employees have not worked from home for this long before. Some may need more advice and help than others. HR can assist this process by providing managers with work-from-home guidelines to share with their team members. One employee recently shared that his manager gave the simple advice to "close the day" by closing his computer and closing the door to his makeshift home office. The simple act of intentionally closing his laptop at the end of his workday helped stop the exhausting "always-on" feeling.

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Source: Forbes

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