Now that you’ve decided it’s okay to enact a work-at-home policy, maybe you aren’t quite sure what should be included in it. That makes sense; the entire frontier of work-at-home was just pioneered, and it can be difficult to know exactly what you want or even what you need out of someone when they aren’t in the office. While you probably won’t know exactly what you want until you start letting people work from their couches, here are a couple of things to consider to get you started on the right foot.
Make Team Time Mandatory
Even when someone works alone from home, they are a part of your team—even if that team is just you and them. Because they are part of a team, it’s important to make some team time mandatory. Team time doesn’t have to happen on the day they’re working from home. It can happen on any day as long as everyone stays clear on their goals for when they’re not in the office. Team time isn’t just for goals, though. It’s important for collaboration and brainstorming too, which means it’s even more important that you make designated team time a priority for your work-at-home employees.
Determine What You Need to Happen
No matter where an employee is working, they should be able to meet deadlines just the same. This means that the quality, content and schedule that an employee has to follow in the office is the one they need to follow when they’re not there, too. Having clear guidelines is essential for those who work from home, even if they only do it for the day. That way, they will know exactly what should be done while they’re gone because you were clear and concise about it. If you’re vague, then the work done when they’re away might be vague, too.
Be Flexible, But Make Final Decisions on Work-at-Home Days
Sometimes something might come up and an employee will request a certain day to work at home. That’s fine; if the employee has a good history of working from home, there shouldn’t be an issue with approving that day, especially if they have a good reason (kids’ events come to mind). Being flexible means showing your employees that they can, in fact, be trusted. This builds good feelings all around and can make for a happier and more productive workforce.
However, in general, work-at-home days should be decided by you. This might mean enforcing that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the days you’re okay with people being out of the office, or it might change week to week; that choice is up to you. Generally speaking, you don’t want to choose Fridays.
A little flexibility, some team time and some clearly defined goals can really go a long way in making work-at-home policies work for you and your team.