The current pandemic certainly has tested the effectiveness of a remote business model.
As more and more businesses make choices to protect the health of their employees, many owners find themselves exploring the idea of having their employees work safely from home. Even as the pandemic winds down and things go back to normal, many employers may continue to explore the possibility of having employees work remotely.
Choosing to do so may be in the best interest of your company, but it is a big change and not without the need to ensure a smooth transition for employees.
If you’re considering having your employees work from home, here are some ways your business can effectively transition to a remote business model:
Build Trust With Your Employees
Pivoting to a remote workforce requires that employees work unsupervised. This means entrusting the decisions made by individuals and teams while also holding people accountable for their own results. Trust works both ways and it’s important that your employees trust you as well.
The key to establishing trust is to create a work environment that encompasses open communication and rewarding employees for doing their best work - whether directly or intrinsically.
Be sure your employees are recognized for doing good work but also held responsible and accountable when they do not live up to the expectations set by your company.
Create a Remote Work Policy
Having your employees work from home creates a whole new sense of challenges when it comes to implementing rules and guidelines they need to follow.
You may worry that your employees will not be as productive at home as they were in the workplace. It’s important to create a set of remote work policies specific to your employees working from home so that they understand what is expected of them.
Here are some examples of policies that should be clearly communicated and implemented:
- Attendance: Ensure your employees are following a schedule and working when they are supposed to be working.
- Confidentiality: Outline how employees are expected to treat confidential information such as storing and locking sensitive documents.
- Code of conduct: How your employees are expected to behave while working including maintaining professionalism and respect.
Gathering specific guidelines for your employees can help your team transition smoothly into a remote working situation.
Schedule Check-Ins and Team Meetings
In order to ensure your employee is following policies and remaining productive at home, it’s important to schedule regular check-ins and team meetings.
This will also help to foster a sense of community and support among your team as well as ensure that your team is aligned and motivated by providing regular feedback and managing your employees’ concerns.
Virtual meetings can be just as effective as face-to-face meetings to accomplish this. Take advantage of programs such as Skype or Zoom to facilitate video conferencing. Don’t forget that work relationships are personal relationships as well. It’s important to upkeep regular interaction with your remote employees to make sure they feel valued and supported.
Support Your Employees’ Mental Health
While working from home seems like a dream come true, it can actually take a toll on the mental health of your employees.
Sometimes working from home makes it difficult to differentiate between work life and home life. When the line becomes blurred, employees may struggle to decompress at the end of the day or find themselves completing tasks beyond working hours. This, plus social isolation, can create a stressful situation.
Be empathetic with your employees and provide your team with as much flexibility as you can. For instance, you may have to change the schedule of an employee who is facing childcare issues. You can also provide support by encouraging casual conversations, not just ones that are work-related, in order to promote a sense of care and community.
Provide the Right Tools and Equipment
If your employees require specific equipment to complete their job at home, it is your responsibility as an employer to either provide these or compensate for the purchase of them. For example, if your employee requires a separate computer to complete work tasks, you are obligated to ensure they have one.
Apart from equipment, having the right tools to manage communication and productivity is also key. There are a number of online platforms such as Slack, Asana, or Teamwork that can facilitate assigning tasks and sharing projects and documents. These online tools will help employees stay in touch with managers and ensure that everyone is well-informed.
What Will My Commercial Insurance Policy Cover for Remote Employees?
Even if your employees are working from home, you may be wondering what exactly your commercial insurance policy will cover - and what will be covered under your employee’s home insurance. Generally speaking, any equipment you provide to your employee that is needed for the job is covered under your commercial insurance policy.
When it comes to your employees, they are not required to add any additional coverage to their home policy for business equipment. As long as the remote work situation is considered temporary and the employee is typically expected to work in another location, they don’t have to make any changes to their home policy or face any additional premiums.
Should your employee choose to use their own equipment to work from home, such as a computer, advise them to check with their insurance provider. Most home insurance policies provide additional coverage for business property but the amount of coverage can vary.
If All of My Employees Work Remotely, Do I Still Need Commercial Insurance?
Absolutely! Apart from protecting the business equipment and assets used by employees at home, you still need to maintain commercial coverage for aspects such as liability and employee contracts.
If you are currently using a remote business model, speak to one of our professional insurance agents at ARC Insurance. We can help you determine exactly what coverages you need to protect your business while your employees work from home.