As the nation takes steps to reduce the spread of coronavirus, many businesses have moved to a remote working policy to protect the health of their workers. Introducing a work from home policy provides many challenges. But whether it’s a temporary measure or a long-term approach, following these five steps will empower you to set up a productive system quickly.

1. Get backing and input for your work from home policy

When establishing a remote working policy, ask your team for ideas. People can be resistant to change, but making them feel heard helps.

It’s particularly important to get members of management on board as they should lead by example. If they are still showing up to the office, other employees may feel they have to too.

It’s also a good idea to create a remote working policy team made up of one person from each department. This way challenges throughout your organisation can be communicated and addressed quickly.

2. Create a short list of essential tools

Choosing company-wide tools is fundamental to a great work from home policy. You’ll need:

  • An online word processor, such as Google Docs or Microsoft Office Online
  • A chat tool, like Slack
  • A video tool suitable for teams, like Google Hangouts or Skype
  • A task management tool, like Asana, Teamwork or Trello

If you already have tools in place, this will make the transition easier. Though, don’t use too many, especially when first launching a work from home policy. This can overwhelm your team.

3. Write down procedures and protocols

Put some newly created policies, protocols, FAQs and tool guides in a shared, searchable document for your whole team to refer to.

Update it frequently as you realise what is and isn’t working. For example, if messages are being overlooked in your chat tool, outline that important communications should be sent by email.

If done right, this document will save a lot of time and confusion. It could also serve you well in the future if you ever move to a full-time remote working policy.

4. Mimic office style communication

According to a 2019 survey by Buffer, two of the biggest challenges for remote workers are loneliness and collaboration/communication. In the office, this isn’t an issue because you can approach colleagues for a chat as necessary.

When working remotely, this can be addressed by holding daily team meetings and creating an informal Slack channel for some watercooler conversations. If people are quiet, give them a nudge to share what’s going on.

It’s important to encourage this kind of casual cross-department communication as otherwise team members who don’t work on the same projects may never get to chat.

5. Adjust your workflow to suit a work from home policy

While remote workers have been found to be 13% more productive, this isn’t likely to kick in immediately. If a piece of work is going the wrong direction, it may take a while to realise when it is being done remotely. To prevent wasted work, arrange regular check-ins and encourage frequent communication. Task management tools can also be used to manage oversight.

Final thoughts

Though introducing a remote working policy might not have been a priority for your business, make the most of your current situation by trying it out. It turns out that 80% of employees would like to work from home. So it can increase employee retention and allow you to recruit the best of talent from anywhere in the world. Many multinational companies use it to attract tech talent, so this is your chance to see if it feasible for your workplace too.

Prosperity specialises in digital recruitment. Our team matches employees and employers everyday. Want our help? Contact Prosperity today.