As the world reopens, employers are struggling with numerous issues in the “new normal.” How can employees safely return to work? How can employees get to work, particularly those dependent on public transportation? How should offices be designed to adhere to new health and safety requirements? What new management and employee resources and tools are needed to promote optimal performance, productivity, and business success? What will team and customer interactions look like?
Because of these issues and more, many employers are strategically looking at flexible work models as a new normal in and post-pandemic operations. One working arrangement that is increasing in popularity is telework. Also known as distributed or remote work, telework is a flexible work arrangement where employees, freelancers, and gig workers work most or all of their time from anywhere in the world.
According to research conducted by HR Anew, “flexible” is the word that most concerns employers, even when they acknowledge the benefits of moving to a new employee and freelancer work paradigm. Here is a list of their top concerns:
- Will my teleworking employees be fully productive and available to meet business needs?
- What happens if they are not available during normal work hours?
- Will balancing work and home responsibilities as teleworkers burden other members of my team who are working from the office?
- Will my teleworking employees be accessible to managers, supervisors, and other employees?
- How will my customers be impacted by the telework model?
- How will I assess if the telework model is successful?
- What risks do I need to understand when I allow an ongoing telework option for my employees and freelancers?
These are very valid questions. One way to get the answers and increase positive outcomes is to have a clear plan of how to implement telework in your organization. HR Anew recommends the use of a planning and implementation system to help you to see around the corners, prepare for a new workplace paradigm, and mitigate flexible work risks, anxiety, and fears. EASE is an acronym (establish, access, secure and engage) that we use to address the four key components of your flexible work and HR model. The system is based on more than 20 years of experience and helps incorporate policies, processes, procedures, and proven best practices that inspire employees; implements and manages strategic and thoughtful telework, distributed team, remote, and onsite worker systems; minimizes or prevent the opportunity to fail; and positions your organization for continuity today and for the long term.
ESTABLISH: A Flexible Work Model. In order to successfully implement a new working paradigm for your organization, you need to plan and establish a flexible work model based on a business continuity model that allows a mix of the following options: onsite, telework, distributed, and remote work from home options. This includes planning everything from equipment and office supply needs to mail management to evaluating insurance coverage.
ASSESS: Your Technology Hygiene. A flexible work model is only as good as the technology it is built upon. This goes beyond hardware and software to processes and procedures that protect intellectual, confidential and private information, cybersecurity, corporate government, and use and protection of work equipment in the home office.
SECURE: Highly Interactive business and virtual communication tools for your team. Productivity and employee satisfaction are determined by the ability to communicate and collaborate. There are many technology platforms out there such as Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Adobe Connect, Slack, and Zoom, and they all have pros and cons. It is critical to ensure that the selected communications tool has the essential features to meet your business, employee, and client needs and that the user experience allows for quick learning.
ENGAGE: Human Resources (HR) to advance forward the people strategy. HR has a huge role when moving to a flexible work model or returning your workforce back to the physical workplace. This can encompass everything from business continuity plans, OSHA health and safety matters, COVID-19 health screenings, COVID-19 incident reporting and tracking, remote/telework resources, performance management, HR forms and documents, management and employee resources, HR policy updates, and learning sources and tools.
HR Anew is a leader in helping to plan and implement flexible work models and setup and manage custom management and employee portals. For more than 20 years, we have helped take organizations to new heights. Now is the time to turn to us as you navigate a new world of both opportunities and challenges.
Our Four Cs. We invite you to:
- Communicate your thoughts in the comment section below about this blog and your greatest telework or workplace concerns in this COVID-19 environment.
- Complete our short EASE Forward Workplace Survey to receive an immediate blueprint of considerations for your workplace.
- Click on the following link here to register for our upcoming webinar,
Key Business Continuity Considerations for Employers: In COVID-19,
- Consider a subscription to EASE Anew™, a customized management and employee portal linked to your company website. Click on the following link to learn more:
www.hranew.com or email or call us at CEO@hranew.com or (410) 381-5220.