People Smartz

Working from Home - Not as simple as it sounds!

Tony Perkins - Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Occasionally at People Smartz we see trends beginning to develop in regards to the areas we are asked to assist businesses. At the moment, we seem to have a "run" on businesses approaching us to assist with issues that have arisen as a result of working from home arrangements. Over the last three months, we have assisted a number of businesses and organisations to "sort out" these arrangements.  The majority of these businesses were not for profit and run by a "volunteer" executive or elected officials.  Over time, the nature of these businesses had resulted in there being a lack of awareness in regards to the activities of employee/s of the business - in one case, the Executive did not even really know the physical address of their "office"!

Another example, the employee set up the telephone accounts in his own name on a residential account.  These telephone numbers were then used by the organisation on it website, communications etc.  Imagine the issues when (and if) that office were to move.....

And finally, in another case, the employee moved house 3 times over 4 years and didn't tell the employer!  Problem was, the employee ran the employer's business from his home....

Whether your business is a "not for profit" or not, it is important when considering "working from home" that you ensure that the arrangement is correctly set up and maintained.  As the employer, you have responsibilities in regards to the provision of equipment, a safe work place and ensuring there are the appropriate monitoring processes in place.

Perhaps the most important element to be put in place is a Working from Home Policy.  Designed to lay out the parameters under which a person works from home, this essential document ensures that you have the ability to manage the employee during any period they are working from home.  In addition, it lays down the parameters for ensuring a safe work place and gives instructions regarding the need for insurances etc.

Almost as important as having a policy, is ensuring that you have selected the right person to work from home in terms of skills and attitude.  Today's technology provides a great opportunity for flexible arrangements such as working from home - but if the person does not have the ability to use the tools this technology provides, then perhaps they are not the right person to work from home!  Similarly, if they require constant supervision and delegation within the workplace - how will they go working from home?  In short, it is not an arrangement for everyone.

Reporting on work progress arrangements are essential.  Requirements in regards to timelines, timesheets, contact schedules etc should be clearly stated and unambiguous.

Finally, working from home should not mean "I never have to go to the office".  In fact, your arrangements should ensure that there is a requirement to visit the office (or to meet other workers if there is no office).  This allows the development of team and cultural norms and ensures support mechanisms are developed amongst peers as well as structurally.

Working from Home provides great flexibility and scalability to a business, it enables employees flexibility in regards to work and today's technology makes it more viable today than ever before.  But it does require organisation and structure in order to work effectively for the individual and the business.

If you are considering putting in place "Working from Home" arrangements in your business - why not give People Smartz a call?  We can assist you to put in place strong arrangements that will work for you and your employee.  To call or email us - Click Here


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