Clorox is brightening up the flexible work world! In the Network of Executive Women (NEW) article, “10 Tips for Working Virtually, Beautifully,” Sacha Connor, Associate Brand Director for Clorox, writes how she was able to turn her in-office job into a remote one. She now works 3,000 miles—and two time zones—away from her company’s headquarters as part of a virtual working movement.
Connor writes: “I became one of the beneficiaries of the company’s willingness to flex to retain high-performing individuals and joined the growing army of men and women who work virtually with their direct reports, teams and managers.”
This isn’t unheard of for Clorox, which boasts a strong flexible work policy that includes telecommuting and job sharing. The reason behind it is to make every employee feel valued, respected, and empowered. Case in point: on the company’s Who We Are page, CEO Benno Dorer wrote: “And we recognize that our employees have a life outside of work, so we make it easier for them to work wherever they are and to achieve that work-life balance. As a result, our employees are highly engaged.”
As a new remote worker, Connor reached out to a fellow Clorox remote employee, Kyra Zeroll, and the two telecommuters began comparing notes on what it was like to work virtually. Together, they launched ORBIT, an employee resource group designed to help Clorox employees be productive and thrive in an increasingly virtual work environment.
We’ve cherry-picked some of ORBIT’s top tips for making beautiful virtual working a reality. Here are five:
1. Invest in your IT team.
As you hire more remote workers, you’ll find that you’ll need a superior IT team to tackle the challenges your employees might face as they work from home. Whether it’s problems connecting via the video conferencing equipment or a company laptop that went kaput, your IT team will be the workers you lean on most to make your team work as smoothly as possible.
2. Make it personal.
Sure, it’s about the bottom line, but it’s also about your workers, too. That means knowing them outside of the reports they produce and the voices you hear on conference calls. Make a concerted effort to know your team on a more personal level, such as knowing their birthdays, names of their children, spouses—even their pets! It can help make your team feel more connected to each other and committed to the overall success of the organization.
3. Score some (virtual) face time.
You should try to get your teams to participate in video conferencing calls. Why? It can help your workers, who might be working from all corners of the country or globe, to feel like they are really part of a team. Plus, having a face to go with the voice, IMs and emails is always a good thing!
4. Have a backup plan.
When virtual working, there will be times when, no matter how much your company has done to prevent it, that technology fails. That’s why it’s crucial to have backup plans and programs in place so that your company—and your team’s productivity—doesn’t grind to a screeching halt. For every program you use, you should always have another one as a backup, just in case!
5. Schedule in-person meetings.
Getting employees together is an integral part of a successful company’s flexible work policy. Look for employees who live (somewhat) near each other and encourage them to get together, even if they don’t work in the same department. They can still benefit from the feeling of camaraderie of being remote workers for your organization, so invite them to meet for lunch, dinner, or drinks. That way, it will diminish any possible sense of isolation that they might be feeling and make them even more committed to your company!
Clorox is one of many companies that offers flexible work policies that benefit the workers as well as the company. By being invested in the professional (and personal) development of its employees, Clorox is truly cleaning up when it comes to flexible work!