Working from home is touted as a popular perk for a new generation of workers relying on the internet to be productive. Remote work is still rising in popularity, but large companies like IBM are choosing to bring remote teams back into offices to improve communication and innovation. Recent polls suggest the answer is somewhere in the middle—workers who work remotely 60 to 80 percent of the week report the highest level of engagement. Facility managers looking to improve their remote policies stand to benefit by implementing small but impactful changes.
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There are many reasons why employees may want to work from home—for starters, they get more control over their working hours. This is especially helpful for people who are not as productive in the morning, or who may have other commitments or contract work on the go. Companies that allow for flexible work hours signal a trust in their employees while allowing them to work the hours during which they are most productive. Flexibility in work schedules also allows employees to account for changes in their life—employees who are parents or students, for example, can address their time-specific commitments without falling behind on work.
If you’re thinking about implementing a flexible work policy into your workplace, be sure to make work policies clear in writing, and get your employees to read and sign a statement that they have understood. For instance, you may want employees to give you two week’s notice before shifting around their hours, or else require that everyone works in-office on certain days of the week or for certain recurring meetings. By putting these policies in writing and sharing them with the larger team, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Remote work and flexible scheduling can make consistency a challenge when it comes to work processes. Managers can help build sensible work patterns by standardizing collaboration tools like Slack to ensure contractors, remote workers and office employees are all on the same page. Streamlining which tools are used by which teams also makes finding key information easier and reduces issues like compatibility errors between software.
Creating mandatory meeting times and using reliable communication tools improves stability in teams that aren’t regularly in-office.
Facility managers can strengthen their remote working policies by incorporating these standards into their internal communications plan. By creating firm expectations around two-way communication paths, facility managers can better streamline request processes and ensure all employees are using the correct channels.
A hot desking system has some trade-offs, but is ideal for employees that spend their work time both in and out of the office. Hot desking gives employees a chance to connect face-to-face with in-office employees while maintaining a flexible work style. By asking their employees to sign up for available desk space, managers also reap the benefits of knowing when and how their employees are working within the office. Data like this can be used to inform decisions around resource usage and work policies.
If a majority of your employees are flexible workers, a hot desking system is a good way to encourage office time and collaborative work, while not wasting space and resources on employees who are only on-site on occasion.
Office management systems help FMs visualize a space, track resources, plan changes and coordinate teams. These systems can help remote workers book rooms or find resources quickly if they are unfamiliar with the workplace. Features like office visualization, integration options, resource tracking and booking systems should all be considered when looking to implement a new office management system.
Remote work can be difficult to implement. Creating consistent processes, developing a unified culture and clarifying communication are all challenging when people are allowed to work from home—but managers who make small adjustments to adapt their policies accordingly can address these challenges and encourage greater productivity overall.
Learn more about how the proper management systems can help you to establish the best remote working policies for your company.
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