Many organizations have had virtual work options in place for quite some time. For those that have not, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing the issue. Organizations will come to learn that many jobs can be done remotely and they should be prepared for this to become the new norm. The key to success for organizations, new to virtual work, will be in developing realistic goals and setting clear guidelines.
Considerations for Virtual Work
- Determine which roles lend themselves to virtual work and which must remain on site. The “why” for each is important so that you can explain the decisions to your workforce.
- Will virtual employees be expected to work the same hours as they do when on site? Is there flexibility, particularly with children home from school. Stay focused on results achieved.
- What tools will you provide to virtual employees so they are able to perform their job effectively? This also includes the ability to attend meetings virtually.
- What is the organizational readiness for high levels of trust? Focus on the results produced by the employee and be prepared to coach managers.
- Overtime rules still apply to virtual work. Non-exempt employees must be paid for hours worked in excess of 40 in a given week. How will this be monitored?
- Do you have policies that need to be amended? Or do you need to create a policy around virtual work for your organization?
Looking at Technology Standards
- How will you protect confidential information? Whenever possible, employees should be doing work from organization-issued devices which are to be used exclusively for work purposes. Establish standards which declare how personal devices, thumb drives, etc. can or cannot be used for work.
- Will employees be able to connect to the organization’s network and services which are needed to perform work? Can your VPN or cloud services handle the added stress of more employees working virtually? Additional capacity may need to be acquired to support the changing nature of work.
- Will you be able to monitor the amount of time that is spent on the computer? Monitor time spent on projects with tracking apps to make billing simple.
- Have you created a support team that can help individuals who are using technology virtually? This is new territory for many employees and they may have difficulty with their devices. On-call support and online documentation are critical layers of assistance for employees trying to adjust to new technological circumstances.
Though this isn’t an exhaustive list of things to think about during this time, it is imperative that your employees know what to expect when they are working virtually. Every organization benefits from a clear set of standards which communicate the expectations and support available to the entire team.
While the COVID-19 crisis is forcing many of us to change the ways that we work quickly and dramatically, the spirit of the evolution will remain. More virtual and flexible work styles are going to be a major part of the workplace landscape of the 2020s. All organizations will benefit by instituting policies which address the present issues and support their employees both now and for the long-term.
If you need any help in addressing policies as they pertain to the Coronavirus, please contact KardasLarson for assistance. We wish you all wellness during this period of time.