Key Podcast Highlights
What Are 5 Things You Should Be Doing If You’re Going to Have Your Employees Working From Home?
- Have a work from home policy that’s hybrid.
- Remote working with flexibility is one of the top benefits employees are looking for.
- Hybrid models are very effective with three days in the office and two days working from home.
- Pilot your work from home policy with each employee.
- Some people work from home better than others.
- Pilot your employee for 90 days. After that time is up, evaluate if it’s working.
- Set working hours
- Require your employees be available between the same set of hours.
- Don’t monitor work from home employees
- Give them objectives, deliverables and make sure they’re available to answer questions but don’t monitor their productivity with programs.
- Set up your security
- Since COVID, ransomware attacks have increased from people working on unsecure systems.
- When setting up your work from home policy, be sure to upgrade employees’ routers and provide anti-virus software, etc.
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Hey everybody, this is Gene Marks and welcome to this week’s edition of The Hartford Small Biz Ahead podcast. I know it’s in the news a lot. I know we’ve been talking about it for a long time, but, working from home, remote and employees, as time now has progressed since the end of COVID and so many employers are having employees work from home. I’m learning a lot. I am looking at lots and lots of companies. I’m writing about them. I’ve got lots of clients. They’re all doing different ways of working from home. What’s working, what’s not working. I wanted to just share with you again, we’re here in the middle of 2023. These are five things that you should be doing if you’re gonna have your employees work from home.
First of all, I just wanna be clear, maybe these things change over the next few years, but of all the clients that I’ve talked to, of all of the different companies that I’ve seen, that I’ve reported on, that I’ve interviewed, I’ve just seen that the ones that seem to be most successful at this whole work from home thing are doing these five things. Okay? So here we go. Number one is, have a work from home policy for sure and make it hybrid. When I say to have a work from home policy, I really do mean that. Working from home or flexibility, remote working, it’s one of the top three benefits that employers are offering and that employees are asking for. Obviously there’s health insurance and retirement benefits at the top two, but flexibility, which includes working from home, is it. You have to have a work from home policy.
My advice to you though, what I’ve seen work the most, you make it hybrid. What I mean by hybrid, the formula that I’ve seen that works the best is three days in the office and two days not in the office. So they can be working remotely for those two days. Now, I know most employees want to take those Mondays and Fridays off, so depending on what your policy is, you might restrict working from home on a Monday or a Friday, because I hear from a lot of my clients, a lot of employers, they don’t believe that the productivity is the same for people when they are quote unquote working from home on a Monday or Friday and come on. I mean, I think we can all agree on that as well. So, have a work from home policy and make sure that you have it hybrid.
The best formula I’ve seen is three days in the office, two days working from home and try to make one of those two days, not a Monday or a Friday to increase the most productivity. So that’s number one. Number two, when you start a work from home policy with your employees, pilot it with each individual employee. What I mean is some people work better from home than others. Both the employees and their managers can agree that working from home might not be the best thing for them or for the company.
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that. So what I’ve seen my best clients do is they take an employee and say, okay, look, we’re gonna have 90 days where you work from home and then we’re gonna revisit it. We’ll sit down with your manager, the owner of the company, the whatever. How’s it going? Do you think it’s working for you? Is it working for us or in good shape? What could we be doing better? Have a pilot program. You should give yourself and your employee the ability to step back and say, you know what? This thing isn’t working for me very well. And I think I’d like to be in the office more because I enjoy working in the office. That’s completely fine. So any work from home policy on an employee by employee basis should have a pilot program. For those that are working from home…
I’m now on item three, set working hours. Do not keep it that flexible. If somebody does have the flexibility and the benefit of being able to work from home, I think it’s fair to say we need you to be available between certain periods of time. Maybe it’s eight, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM or something like that, where the employee is available by any means necessary. That’s Zoom or Teams or their cell phone or whatever. If it’s a workday and they’re working from home and you call them, or a manager calls them at one o’clock in the afternoon or 3:30 in the afternoon, the expectation is, is if it’s during the workday, they pick up the phone. So if they do that, then things are working out good. If they’re not complying with that, then the whole work from home thing I guess would have to be revisited.
So that’s number three. Number four, I have seen failures among companies that excessively monitor their work from home employees. They buy software. They see the clicks they’re making and what they’re doing and how quote unquote productive they are. Don’t do that. Do not monitor your work from home employees. They are big boys and girls. They’re being allowed the flexibility of working on their own from home. Let them work from home on their own. They’ve got your deliverables, give them objectives, make sure they’re available to answer questions. But at the same time, you don’t have to babysit those employees working from home. You’re going to create problems. And number five, step up your security. The ransomware attacks around the world have increased three to four times since COVID happened because we have a bunch of people working from home on unsecured systems.
If you’re going to set somebody to work from home, you wanna make sure that they are being secured, get an IT firm involved, upgrade their router, have them with antivirus software, get them with a virtual private network, make sure they’re running the most recent versions of their operating systems as well. And they have a dedicated work device, not something they’re sharing with their seventh grader. You have to make sure that people’s security is up to snuff because if they’re connected to your network and they’re on an unsecured device or a system, it’s going to have a potential impact on your data and your network. So step up security. So those are the five things I’ve learned. Lemme recap them. Number one, have a work from home policy, but make it hybrid. You can avoid Mondays and Fridays as working from home days, at least in some cases if you can.
Number two, have a pilot program for each employee because not everybody enjoys working from home or is productive working from home? Give it a 90 day program on an employee by employee basis. Number three, set specific working hours during the day when your expectation is that employee will be available. Number four, do not babysit, mother or monitor those employees. Don’t get that monitoring software. Give them the respect to get their jobs done. Just make sure you give them clear deliverables and objectives for doing their jobs. And finally, set up security. Get an IT firm involved and make sure that their entire homeworking setup is secure. Because if you don’t do that, you could have problems on your own network and databases you don’t want that to happen. So set security. Those are the five things I’m seeing smart companies do right now when they’re having their employees work from home.
We’re all learning about this and getting better at it as we go along. It can be a fantastic benefit if it’s done the right way. So take those five things into consideration and apply them in your business and hopefully this helps. My name is Gene Marks. You have been listening to my weekly Small Biz Ahead podcast from The Hartford. If you need any advice or tips or help in running your business, please visit us at SmallBizAhead.com or SBA.TheHartford.com. Again, my name is Gene Marks. Look forward to seeing you again next week with some more advice to help you run your business. Take care.
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