Working from home: Finding the right balance

The new work from home (WFH) paradigm is quickly redefining the traditional office infrastructure by introducing benefits and challenges to both employees and employers. As remote work has steadily increased throughout the past few months, many companies have decided to incorporate the practice as part of their company culture moving forward.

Working from home has been commonly demanded by employees as a means of increasing productivity, and has been proven efficient in various industries. The ample advantages of working from home; from creating a flexible schedule to heightened focus, are a result of proper telecommunications and department management. As many ordinary work tasks can be done remotely, modern businesses invest time and money in developing the right WFH protocols to suit their employees and production.

This new dynamic also has its own set of challenges, where employees and employers may both seem to suffer. The out-of-office setting can mean delayed response times, home distractions, and decreased willpower. By creating comprehensive remote-work procedures that identify and confront potential obstacles, employers will decrease room for error and maximize the probability of success. We’ve compiled a few tips and things to consider when creating a WFH plan.  

Consider the Potential Ongoing Challenges

Many companies are starting to review potential back to work policies, which means some remote workers will be heading back to the office. It is important to analyze what this means for your company’s current culture; where it thrives and where it can improve. Understand where employees operate the best and where they face challenges. Taking this information and applying it towards the anticipation of a consistent WFH policy can identify any red flags before they’re raised.

Continue to provide valuable insights to your employees. Do research to target any at-home challenges as well. Mitigate a strategy that prevents distractions, increases motivation, and allows communications to flourish. Devise different plans for different structures or departments to have a company that truly works for its employees, not against them. Trial and error will help perfect any future flare-ups, but preparation is always the best investment. For further understanding of the positive repercussions of working from home, click here.

Empowerment and Accountability

Most employees enjoy having responsibility, independent-work initiatives, and creative freedom. Traditional offices can work against the grain of promoting employee enthusiasm, usually by limiting roles and adhering to old systems. Trust your employees to use the comfort of their home office setting to their advantage. To monitor areas of success and failure, incorporate technologies that analyze data, require log-in hours, and use cloud computing between users, information, and HR software.

Maintaining certain expectations, and creating goals and targets remind employees of short and long-term company objectives, reinforce the importance of their task, and promote inventive thinking. Set up weekly calls, check-in online, and set firm deadlines. Navigate the trajectory of WFH objectives and incentivize its success. Holding employees accountable for their work leaves less room for error.

Support Employee Work-Life Balance

Helping your employees attain the perfect ratio between work and home responsibilities requires guidance. Setting boundaries between the two will help employees garner the right mind frame to work better and smarter. Allow employees to make their own schedules that work for them and around their home duties.

It is equally important to ensure employees aren’t working beyond their schedules as best you can. It is easy to work well beyond the traditional 8 hour work day, but it is important to remember, employee burnout is real. Read more about employee burnout here.

Work and home life can be more easily blurred and 9-5 gets drastically extended. Unplugging is just as important for making sure employees are healthy and performing optimally. Encourage employees to set schedules that consider all parts of their to-do list. Set reminders for breaks to refocus and refresh. Use programs like Slack or Google Drive, to share, chat, and work in a synchronized and cohesive manner.

Keep in Mind

  • Everyone works differently and it’s important to have open dialogue surrounding this.
  • Allow fewer restrictions around creative thinking and thought processes.
  • Promote feedback and constructive criticisms.
  • Give space for your company’s culture to shine through.
Mario Malatesta is the President of GroupQuest Benefits Resources Inc.