How to Successfully Manage Teleworking During the Pandemic
Telecommuting is the way of the world right now. Here are nine tips to effectively manage a teleworking policy.
We are nearing the end of 2020 and there is still no end in sight to the pandemic. As a result of this, you may have already had employees working from home. You may still continue this practice or you may decide that you want to utilize teleworkers. While this is a good way to keep everyone safe, it does bring new problems and potential stress with it.
For telecommuting to be successful, it requires everyone to be flexible and, as a result, you may need to adapt new business practices. Teleworking can be productive if your company takes the time and proper steps to review and update your existing policies or to craft temporary new ones.
Here are nine tips that may help you to successfully manage a teleworking policy:
Telecommuting tip no. 1: Establish eligibility and create procedures.
Create a telecommuting policy that defines who is eligible to work remotely, whether it’s companywide or based on job role and performance. Make sure you clearly define which employees are eligible for teleworking, the duration of expected telework project and any specifics such as who provides any equipment, etc. Also define the responsibilities of both the employee and yours as the employer. Make sure you specify that as the employer, you retain the right to make changes at any time.
Telecommuting tip no. 2: Create an agreement.
Have employees agree upon and sign a policy that outlines the specific requirements of working from home. This is an important step to help manage communications and expectations. Include items such as the frequency and method of communication from employees, specific expectations regarding required daily or weekly phone calls or other methods of communications with supervisors, etc., how hours will be recorded, what technology or equipment the employer will provide, what reasonable work expenses are reimbursable for telework needs and contact information for any questions regarding these telework requirements.
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Telecommuting tip no. 3: Utilize existing policies to help make it work.
Your written policy should emphasize that employees must continue to abide by all pre-existing workplace policies while teleworking and that failure to follow the existing policies while teleworking may result in disciplinary action, including possible termination of the telecommuting arrangement. Be sure to enforce the policies equally to everyone to avoid any discrimination issues relating to gender, race, etc.
Telecommuting tip no. 4: Set up a trial.
It might be a good idea to set up a trial period of a few months to see if teleworking fits your business and your employees. This will give you time to see if your employees can adapt to working from home.
Telecommuting tip no. 5: Beef up security.
Teleworking demands excellent cybersecurity. Have your employees install security software, and password protect any devices they will be using to access confidential company data. If remote working is not already a standard practice at your company, it is important to adopt policies dealing with issues such as network security, protection of company confidential information and timekeeping. This should include dealing with practical concerns, such as prohibiting employees from working out of coffee shops and who else has access to any equipment, etc.
Telecommuting tip no. 6: Define hours, days and other working issues.
It will help everyone if you can keep working hours consistent. Clearly define the times that employees are expected to be working and to be online so co-workers and clients are aware of their availability.
Telecommuting tip no. 7: Encourage daily updates.
Regular video chats or status calls will help keep your employees on task, while setting goals and deadlines with colleagues. It will also provide you with peace of mind that your workers are being productive.
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Telecommuting tip no. 8: Evaluate performance.
It is also important to keep track of teleworking employees’ hours and performance and to make adjustments if you find they’re not abiding by your agreement.
Telecommuting tip no. 9: Reinforce privacy policies.
Remind your employees that HIPAA and data protection laws still apply wherever they are working.
As an employer, if you develop and support teleworking efforts and review, revise or create applicable policies that ensure your employees are complying with your business’s needs during the crisis, you and your employees will most likely have a successful teleworking experience.
President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Security Expert Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.