How to facilitate flexible and remote work arrangements: Teleworking

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Teleworking is unavoidable for many organizations in this period of reorganization due to COVID-19.

Here are some best practices to apply for guaranteeing a successful transition.

Globally businesses are experiencing unique situation due to the spread of the coronavirus and, in order to contribute to maintaining the health and safety of all, many companies are opting to telework. These new work habits require some adjustments, and entrepreneurs and managers must take several factors into consideration.

Securing the benefits of teleworking

From past experience there are many benefits to telework and, if you change your management methods thoughtfully to this new practice, you will be able to take advantage of them. Among the recognized advantages, you will find:

  • Better productivity due to reduced travel time and more flexible schedule management;
  • Greater employee engagement through reduced stress and improved quality of life;
  • A decrease in absenteeism.
  • Reduced long-term costs for the organization.

Reviewing the nature of the work

Clearly, not all jobs offer themselves to telework. You may need to re-evaluate certain roles and, in some cases, provide additional equipment to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Proceed in stages:

  1. Identify individual tasks that are more academic in nature;
  2. Confirm the computer systems used as well as the technology recommended by the organization, such as the speed of the internet connection and access to a secure internal network.
  3. If your organization has a union, involve it in the process;
  4. Plan for flexibility and other benefits for employees who will not be able to telework.

Compensating the shortcomings

This change may cause some discomfort, including more difficult access to resources, professional isolation and lack of direct contact with one’s team. In addition, it can become difficult to draw the line between one’s personal and professional life.

It is also necessary to ensure that the technological equipment used at home makes it possible for operations to function properly and preserves the security and confidentiality of the organization’s data.

Your managers and employees will need coaching and training in order to function well in such a context.

Staying in touch with your teams

  • Provide regular updates by conference call with your team members.
  • Enquire about their well-being and cultivate interpersonal relationships.
  • Use all the technologies at your disposal to follow up and support your staff’s needs in the performance of their tasks.

Maintaining data confidentiality

  • Spread information technology (IT) instructions well.
  • Remind your employees and business partners of the rules they must follow.
  • Safeguard secure access to the necessary platforms.
  • If necessary, provide additional equipment to ensure that productivity is maintained in complete security.
  • Validate insurance coverage for the equipment provided.

Setting objectives to be achieved

  • If this is not already the case, ask your employees to provide you with timesheets to better track the hours spent on different tasks.
  • Measure the progress of the work by objectives to be achieved.
  • Reinforce the bond of trust with your employees.
  • Define a team operating mode and work routine (frequency of virtual meetings, prioritization of tasks and objectives, expectations of each person, etc.).
  • Ensure proper communication and that everyone understands the work to be accomplished.
  • Be flexible and adapt to circumstances as necessary to better achieve objectives.

It is very important to not forget that as an employer, you are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of your workers, even when their workplace is at home. It is to your advantage to have a written policy in place regarding health and safety in the home workplace to guard you against any future conflicts.

Teleworking can be an operative and effective solution if you set everything in action for its success.

Photo: ismagilov/istock

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