Remote work policies and procedures are employee guidelines that define all the procedures and rules needed to work remotely or from home. Typically preferred for its flexible nature, remote work policies are supported by cloud-based applications as well as mobile gadgets. Remote work policies have led to a dramatic fall in the motivation of working in an office setting, with employees being able to achieve the same results at home (Olson, 2017). When creating a work from home policy, specific issues must be considered. First, a company must decide on all the roles in the workplace that can be done remotely since not everything can fit that category. After deciding the tasks, the policy has to as well decide on what organizational rules and procedures to be followed by remote workers.
The next step in developing an excellent remote work policy is determining communication practices since remote work depends solely on effective communication (Zenkteler et al., 2016). During this stage, the right software for virtual meetings and presentations are identified. Remote employees should know how often they should check-in when to attend virtual meetings, and through what channels to do all the communication. After establishing communication procedures, issues of liability, insurance, and benefits should be discussed (Zenkteler et al., 2016). The security and safety of remote workers is the responsibility of the employer, regardless of them working away from the company offices. Defining security guidelines and discussing compensation should also be included. These measures are already highlighted in employee confidentiality guidelines but should be emphasized nevertheless.
What Managers Can Do Differently for Effective Implementation or Remote Work Policies
For effective and successful implementation of remote work policies and procedures, managers and change agents must be willing to do things differently (Calvo, 2018). Since working from home can lead to many unprecedented challenges, senior officials must be ready to support remote workers to improve output continually. Approaches that managers and change agents can use to ensure a smooth transition to remote work include:
Establishing planned daily check-ins
These regular calls with employees working from home could take a form of individual requests or team calls. Individual calls apply where employees work independently from each other, whereas team calls are used when work and tasks are collaborative. The primary importance of check-ins is that they are predictable, regular, and create an essential forum for employees to consult with you, ask questions as well as airing their concerns.
Establish several communication channels
Remote workers cannot benefit from email alone, but video conferencing technologies can benefit employees from the visual cues of face to face communication. Virtual meetings have profound benefits to small teams because visual cues provide a far much understanding as compared to emails. Video meetings are as well ideal for sensitive or complex discussions since it feels much safer and personal than audio or written only conversations.
Define the rules of engagement
Change agents and managers must come up with structured rules of employee engagement to maximize output. Communication becomes smooth when managers define the means, frequency, and correct timing for both individual and team communications. The right channels must be set for either daily check-ins or urgent meetings to avoid confusion and time wastage. Managers should as well inform their remote employees the right time to reach them during the day and through which channel.
Establish ways of distant social interacting among workers
To avoid boredom, managers must come up with ideas of uplifting employee morale through nonwork topics and informal conversations (Hickman, 2019). Social interaction among remote workers can be done through catch up sessions before teleconferences, where employees get informally converse with each other. Other interaction options include virtual pizza parties or office parties. While these interactions may feel artificial, they significantly lessen feelings of isolation, and as a result, enhancing a sense of belonging.
Offer emotional support and encouragement
It might not be a clause in the manager's job description, but managers and change agents should provide emotional support to remote workers. In situations where workers are abruptly shifted to remote settings, senior employees need to acknowledge employee concerns, anxieties, and stress, and help them with their struggles. Since all employees look up to the managers, it is, therefore, the duty of change agents to listen as well as offering encouragement and emotional support.
Images of change management are mental images that different individuals have regarding organizations' expectations, interpretations, influence, as well as what needs to change. These mental models help people make sense and understand the world by directing attention and efforts into specific directions (Du et al., 2016). These images are perspectives to view things as well as a standpoint to draw attention to particular features and issues.
Change Agent as Director
In the 'director' image of change management, the role of the change manager is to drive the organization towards planned outcomes. The manager is responsible for controlling and achieving results as anticipated. While implementing remote work policies and procedures, managers who use this image of change management must as well understand its effects. Change agents viewed as directors should define employee results. Directors should as well monitor the implementation progress, which will allow them to accumulate resources, identify problems and solutions. A director approach to the implementation of remote work policies is ideal since remote workers require controlling for maximum organizational output.
Using this image, the manager has part but not full control. This model assumes that although change agents can attain intended outcomes, they have no control over other matters. In our case, the consequences of working from home are partly natural or emergent rather than planned. Approaching such change through this model is also ideal. The reason behind it is that different employees will react differently to the change, which will lead to different unplanned results.
In the caretaker model of change management, agents are still in control, although risks, among other internal and external forces, affects the amount of control. The caretaker model is the ideal change management model since it predicts outcomes that may arise in the future from the remote work policies and procedures.
Remote employees must know exactly the expectations of their employer, now that they work from home. The development of work plans for all remote workers is also essential (Zenkteler et al., 2016). These plans allow every employee to determine what tools or resources they require in their remote work. Work plans also define how individual employee performances will be evaluated.
Calvo, A. J. (2018). Where's the remote? Face time, remote work, and implications for performance management. https://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1048&context=chrr
Zenkteler, M., Foth, M., & Hearn, G. N. (2019). Fostering home-based work and remote work in neighborhoods: design scenarios.
Hickman, A. (2019). Workplace Isolation Occurring in Remote Workers. https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=8181&context=dissertations
Olson, M. H. (2017). Remote office work: changing work patterns in space and time. Communications of the ACM, 26(3), 182-187.
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