When done properly, a company’s remote work policy makes good business sense. Not only does it allow employers to find top talent anywhere in the world, but having remote work policies in place typically ensures that workers have greater work-life balance. Which typically means employees are more loyal and invested in the company, saving them thousands of dollars in potential employee turnover.
But even if a company has a remote work policy, that doesn’t always guarantee that it’s going to work.
Here are five ways in which remote work policies fall short—and how to fix them:
1. It only applies to some workers.
In some organizations, sadly, flexible work is only allowed for some workers. Not only does this create a huge rift between the haves and have-nots within your organization, but it also creates a big sense of distrust towards management.
In turn, workers will be quicker to look for employment with other companies that are more honest about their flex. The golden rule of a remote work policy: make it available for everyone, not just a few top-level managers, and you’ll be on the fast track towards inspiring innovation on your remote team.
2. The company doesn’t advertise it.
Okay, so your company has a remote work policy. What’s the big deal about announcing it to the world?
Companies that offer flex are far more attractive to job seekers than those who don’t. In fact, some potential workers will opt for flex rather than a fatter paycheck.
By not announcing your company’s flexible work policy, you’re shortchanging yourself out of attracting the best talent for these remote positions. So proudly display your company’s allegiance to flex on its career page, in social media, in a company newsletter, and also be transparent about flexible work options in your job descriptions.
3. Management doesn’t buy into it.
Sure, your company has a flexible work policy, but if management doesn’t agree to its principles, it’s going to be hard to get employees to use it. In order to create a sense of cohesion among your entire staff, you need to get managers on board with the idea of flex—ASAP.
Explain to them the benefits of flexible work (i.e., less work days lost due to commuting, sickness, or weather-related issues, plus greater employee investment and productivity) and focus less on the face-to-face factor that managers might crave.
By getting your top-level employees used to the idea of flex, it’ll be easier to create a more harmonious environment that welcomes employees using flex. Plus, when you are managing in a geographically distributed workplace, being a proponent of flex simply makes better business sense.
4. It’s haphazard.
Typically, a remote work policy spells out the company’s general stance on flexible work. It might then be up to each individual department or team leader to finesse the nuances of the flex policy as it relates to each worker’s needs.
But if some workers have Fridays off as part of a compressed workweek, and others come into the office full-time except for some days when they work remotely, it can wreak havoc on your company’s work schedule, not to mention communication among employees as they try to figure out who’s working when.
So try to offer a more specific type of flex for your department—for example, freelancers might just naturally work remotely 100 percent of the time, while managers might come into the office once or twice a week, if it makes sense from a geographic standpoint.
Having a more specific schedule will help keep everyone in sync without jeopardizing the company’s remote work policy.
5. Employees are penalized for using it.
While it’s not fair, there are some companies that have remote work policies in place—and then penalize workers for using it. There’s no point in having a remote work policy if you then police, and punish, your workers for using it.
Remember, flexible work options are not just solely an employee benefit, but are beneficial to employers as well. Embrace your remote work policy for all of its advantages and be proud that you are encouraging your workers to find the flexibility—and freedom—in their schedules that allows them to bring their talents to the table and still put bread on their families’ tables, too.
Remote work policies can fall short for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t meant that yours is doomed to fail, too. By welcoming flexible work options into the way your company does business, your organization can reach new heights that are only achieved through flex.