Work from Home (WFH) Best Practices
Work from Home Best Practices can be very rewarding, yet you must prepare for the inevitable distractions associated with the environment. This is not about distributed teams, or managing a global workforce, this is about WFH and the variables we need to consider. My experience with clients and my own firm’s evolution has led me to see clearly, the following pro/con analysis that can be set into best practice.
- Schedule flexibility
- Geographic talent access
- Morale booster
- Commute reduction
- Productivity booster
- Enhanced relationships
- Technology faults
- Security concerns
- Collaboration inhibitor
- Productivity inhibitor
- Lack of relationship contact
Balancing the above list could create a neutral to con tendency. However, this is not that easy, as each case is unique. The real question is, how can organizations and employees come to an understanding that either mitigates the cons, and/or promotes the pros? Over the years, I have built a set of best practices that you could consider:
- Structure a set of standardized expectations for work hours, professional environment, and continuity.
- Provide technology that will enable collaboration and meet business sustainability requirements.
- Install security protocols that will allow for confidential data transfer.
- Realign the peer to peer/team configurations to enhance location access.
- Embed a standard set of processes and methods to maintain business continuity.
- Establish personal health standards and Identify the need for “self-health.”
- Promote team “face to face” collaboration on a pre-set cycle.
- Provide interactive opportunities that are not work related to build talent and promote career focus.
- Do not assume WFH is desirable for all, and provide alternative space if needed.
- Have established contingency for breakdown in any of the above.
Many years ago, I had the opportunity to work with the first AT&T tech team to “go virtual.” This project provided many lessons that are captured in the above items. However, one of the most surprising outcomes was based in the reality that people were overcompensating or feeling guilty they were at home, thus working many hours beyond a healthy limit. Additionally, we found other behavioral cons such as overeating, lack of exercise, and isolation syndrome. These additional items need to be addressed and monitored as they can sneak up fast.
The WFH movement is going to prove out as an integral part of the foundational business landscape. Thus, organizations and employees share the responsibility to be accountable, optimize the environment, and use this technology driven capability we have, to serve the interest of all constituents.
My experience shows that organizations benefitting from WFH structures, hire talent that is agile enough to meet the best practices above and deploy technology to support the needs of them, are the most effective.