For a long time, flexible work was thought to only favor the employee. After all, they seemed to be the ones to reap all the benefits, such as no longer having to commute into an office, could customize their schedules, and have greater work-life balance. But the research doesn’t lie: a staggering 80 percent of employers are now planning to implement flexible work policies. So if you’re considering making your company fully remote, here’s a primer on how to make work flexibility a reality.
Assess each position.
Before you can establish a flexible work environment, you first need to take a look at the current positions in your company and see how they can become more flexible. Go through each position and its duties and determine which ones can be done remotely and which ones can’t. For the ones that seem trickier to transition, ask yourself what potential programs or protocols could be established in order to make the position fully remote? While going over all the jobs held by your staff might be time-consuming, it’s a crucial step in ensuring that your current in-office workforce can transition more easily to a virtual working environment.
Revamp your hiring practices.
If you thought that hiring remote workers was the same thing as hiring office workers, think again. Remote workers need to possess specific skills that an in-office employee might not have, or may not be as well-developed. For starters, a telecommuter needs to have hyper organizational skills, be self-motivated, disciplined, tech savvy, and preferably, have previous remote work experience.
As you work to make your company fully remote and you look to hire more remote workers, you’ll also need to do your part to ensure that you’re positioning your job posting to be seen by those who want to work from home. Using a niche job search board that specializes in remote work (such as FlexJobs) is a great first step. Also, you need to use keyword-specific words that help potential employees know for certain that the job you’re hiring for is a remote one. Using words such as “remote job,” “flexible,” “virtual,” and “work from home,” can help job seekers identify that this is a remote position—and one that they’ll want to apply for.
When you have all of your employees in one office, it’s easy to see who’s working—and who’s slacking. But when your employees are scattered across the country—and the globe—it’s much harder to establish who’s being productive by using old, more visual parameters. That’s why as you make your company fully remote, you’ll need to reestablish how you view your workforce’s productivity output based on what they’re producing, not when or how they’re doing it. It can take some time to readjust your thinking, particularly if you’re used to seeing employees in the office from nine to five. But remote workers might work early in the morning, late at night, or even start their day in the afternoon. By having regularly scheduled check-ins with your staffers to address any issues, clearly defining work goals, and monitoring their work, you’ll easily be able to ascertain the productivity level of your workforce.
Become (more) eco-friendly.
While many brick and mortar offices are already doing this, it’s a good idea to become less reliant on the things that make an office a physical one. So ditch paper documents and files for digital ones, and utilize programs that help your staff collaborate virtually. Instant messaging, Google Docs, videoconferencing programs can all help create a cohesive remote workforce—and a green one, too.
It’s not only important to establish flexible work options for your employees, but for yourself as well. As the leader, you’ll need to create an environment of work flexibility by using it yourself! If your staff doesn’t ever see you flexing your flex, they might be hesitant to use theirs, even if the job is remote. So let your staffers know when you’re planning to work later in the day because, for example, you’re going to your child’s writing celebration. That way, the flexible work options you’ve established will benefit everyone in the company, including you.
While it may seem daunting, creating a remote company isn’t as difficult as it might appear. With careful planning and consideration, your company can join the many other organizations that have embraced work flexibility—and are reaping the many, many benefits.