Tips for Creating and Implementing a Remote Work Policy

by Michael Haberman on February 23, 2017 · 0 comments


Remote work can improve employee productivity.

Today’s post is brought to you by my friends at SocialMonsters.org. 

With the technology and connectivity innovations of the past decade, many jobs can now be done from anywhere. In-person meetings and communication remain fundamental to most projects, but that shouldn’t prevent companies from allowing employees to work from home.

The benefits are numerous. In addition to increased efficiency, your personnel can maintain a better work/life balance and waste less time commuting. Modern organizations realize that a happy employee is a more productive employee, and permitting them to complete their duties on their own schedule can also be a boon to retention. If all your competitors are allowing remote work and you don’t, it’s a competitive disadvantage.

Understandably, many employers have strong reservations regarding accountability, tracking and other human resources concerns. The following considerations can help any company create and implement an effective remote work policy that works for all parties:

Start Slowly

All work-from-home arrangements should start on a provisional basis. Whether a new hire is going to work remotely full time or an employee is requesting two days per week out of the office, begin by having them sign an agreement that will be reviewed after a trial period is over.

Generally, three months will make the most sense although a duration as short as a month could be appropriate in certain situations. As outlined in the form, assess their performance during this time — both in terms of deliverables and how their physical absence affects their department — and then decide if work from home makes sense on an ongoing basis.

Don’t Be Overly Restrictive

In the past, employers were generally more willing to show flexibility for employees with child or parent care obligations. In other cases, the allowance could be based upon distance from the office or other factors. While these are good-faith reasons to offer remote working privileges, they can also breed resentment. A 25-year-old single woman, for example, may rightly feel that her reasons for wanting to work from home are just as valid as anyone else’s.

While exceptions can exist, the best policy is one that treats everyone the same and respects the basis for their request rather than looking to undermine their priorities. Determinations should be based upon productivity and responsiveness rather than extenuating circumstances that tug on an HR representatives heartstrings.

Provide Needed Tools

Whether in the office or working remotely, employees must always have the tools they need to stay connected no matter where they are. Set up their laptop or home computer with a VPN that allows them to securely connect to the company server. Be sure to address security issues and remind them that working from places like cafes or airports can make them more vulnerable to hackers.

For on-the-go connectivity, be sure to also provide workers with a phone that has a flat-rate plan offering a robust 4G LTE network, like those from T-Mobile. Such provisions empower employees by giving them free Wi-Fi on any Gogo-equipped flight and unlimited data wherever they travel.

Set Productivity Expectations

Assessing workplace performance is difficult even when a worker is sitting in a cubicle. But given the stigma that remote working still has, it’s important to set protocols for gauging performance. Ideally, this will be done with some quantitative metrics that can be set based upon the person’s past history. If their main responsibilities surround filing a specific number of reports, bringing in a number of leads or hitting sales goals, then this will be simple.

If their duties are more related to softer objectives, it won’t come as naturally. But even in such instances, expectations, perhaps response times or ability to remain as engaged with co-workers, still need to be clear. The goal is to maintain — or even enhance — productivity, so any processes working toward that goal are in the best interest of everyone.

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Carnival of HR- 10th Anniversary Edition

by Michael Haberman on February 22, 2017 · 0 comments


Take a ride on the HR Carnival blog celebration.

I have been participating in the Carnival of HR for a long time. I will be hosting a session later this year. This edition marks the 10th anniversary of HR bloggers submitting posts to this consolidation of blogs. There are too many good ones for me to single out. Some were submitted by the writer as a favorite. Others were submitted by the readers as a favorite blog post they had read.

Robin Schooling, who hosted this one, also posted a history of HR blogging at The Unofficial (and totally non-scientific) History of HR Blogging. I am proud to appear on her list of early bloggers, though many did come before I did.

Anyway, go and visit the anniversary at

10 Year Anniversary Edition!

 

It will be worth your time.

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That quizzical look

A recent survey by the job search website CareerCast revealed that of the eleven things that cause stress in the workplace, deadlines are the biggest contributor to the stress that employees experience. According to the report “Employees were asked what was the biggest contributing factor to their stress and the survey found that the most common cause was deadlines (30%).” I looked at that with the quizzical look that your dog gives you when they don’t understand you. I thought how can you have a job, any job, that doesn’t have deadlines?

Is this generational?

Perhaps this number is the result of the way the Millennial generation has been reared. No pressure, participation trophies, and hence no deadlines? This has got to actually mean unreasonable deadlines. That will definitely stress you out. But in reading what I was sent I didn’t get the impression they were talking about unreasonable deadlines, just deadlines. You can read the results yourself by clicking here.

The next most stressful event was “Life of Another at Risk” stress factor coming in second at 17%. That is less stressful than just having a deadline???

What is your take on this survey?

Of a 1000 survey takers this is how their results shook out.

Top Causes of Stress:

  1. Deadlines (30%)
  2. Life of Another at Risk (17%)
  3. Competitiveness (10%)
  4. Physical Demands (8%)
  5. Working in the Public Eye (8%)
  6. Growth Potential (7%)
  7. Life at Risk (7%)
  8. Hazards Encountered (5%)
  9. Meeting the Public (4%)
  10. Travel (3%)
  11. Environmental Conditions (2%)

Many of these are valid causes of stress, but what job does not have a deadline?

I really would like to have your feedback on my interpretation of this study. Am I off base?

Please make a remark below.

 

Please note: I am not belittling CareerCast with my observation. A result is a result.

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A Little History of Presidents Day

by Michael Haberman on February 20, 2017 · 0 comments


Today is President’s Day, a Federal holiday. The origin of the day was the celebration of George Washington’s birthday, February 22nd. Although an unofficial observance at first, it was made an official holiday in 1879 by Rutherford B. Hayes, but even then, only applied to the District of Columbia. In 1885 it became a national federal holiday, and the first holiday to celebrate a specific individual. The only other holiday to do that was Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Today MLK is the only person to have a day solely named in his honor.

Consolidated

Because Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was also in February, when the holiday was deemed to be President’s Day rather than Washington’s birthday, many thought it was changed to include Lincoln in the celebration. In 1971 the Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect and assigned Presidents Day to the third Monday of February, although the day was initially supposed to be Washington’s birthday still.

Not really celebrated

Only about 33% of the companies in the U.S. grant Presidents Day as a holiday. Even fewer companies grant this holiday to nonexempt hourly employees. The biggest recognizers of the holiday are state and local governments and banks.

The biggest celebrators of this holiday are retailers who see it as an opportunity to sell merchandise using the images of Washington and Lincoln to sell furniture, mattresses and cars, among other things.

My favorite president has been Theodore Roosevelt. I will end this post with a quote from him that many may find apropos to today.

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From the Archive Future Friday: Hot Job of the Future

by Michael Haberman February 17, 2017

Tweet There is a new show on television called APB. It is about a tech billionaire, who after witnessing his friends death, signs on the help fight crime. One of the tools he uses to fight crime is a drone. Watch a sports show and you will likely see live shots taken by a drone. […]

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A Follow up to Who do you report harassment to if the harasser is the CEO?

by Michael Haberman February 16, 2017

Tweet On Valentine Day, of all days, I wrote a blog post called Who do you report harassment to if the harasser is the CEO? That post sparked some interesting responses for a couple of reasons. The most notable response came from, Chris McKinney, a Texas attorney who represents employees in EEO cases. He paid […]

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4 Ways to Project a Stronger Leadership Presence in HR

by Michael Haberman February 15, 2017

Tweet Today’s post is brought to you by my friends at SocialMonsters.org These are tips to increase your presence in HR. It is not everything but it does have impact.   When you work in human resources, the presence you project has a major impact. Human resources personnel represent the face of a company to […]

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Who do you report harassment to if the harasser is the CEO?

by Michael Haberman February 14, 2017

Tweet I wrote back in 2015 about the importance of having multiple ways for an employee to report sexual harassment. This was based on another post I had done in 2011. In 2015 I said: “…it is important to have multiple ways an employee can report harassment. With many companies this is reporting to HR. […]

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Will “Right-to-Work” become Federal law?

by Michael Haberman February 13, 2017

Tweet I have written a number of times on the subject of “right-to-work”. Here and Here. To quote myself “The concept of “right-to-work” is that you cannot force an employee to have to belong to a union and pay union dues in order to keep his/her job. In a non-RtW state, after a probationary period, […]

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Future Friday: HR skills needed in a VUCA world

by Michael Haberman February 10, 2017

Tweet VUCA is an acronym which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. The term was established by the U.S. Army war college in the Cold War era. Since that time it has been applied to business, particularly as it applies to development of strategies. Meanings According to Wikipedia a more detailed explanation of the […]

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