How to Help Employees Transition to Work From Home
Wondering how to transition to work from home? Here are the 3 best tops to make the transition from office to WFH a bit easier.
The importance of helping employees transition to work from home
Transitioning to work from home (WFH) is a unique experience for anyone who is used to working in an office-like environment. At home, you often find yourself in an environment with many distractions, from barking dogs to needy children, the sound of the tv, and the memory of undone household chores.
When coupled with a pandemic, the transition to a WFH lifestyle can be even more stressful on both employers and employees.
The downsides of working from home
In addition to having to navigate store and school closures and longer grocery lines, your employees are now spending time making sure they have the tools and knowledge to stay healthy, work from home, and somehow strike a new balance.
In fact, the social media SaaS Buffer reports that remote workers see collaboration and communication, loneliness, and not being able to unplug as their biggest challenges.
At the same time, employers are also having difficulties and may be discovering exactly what capacity their remote server(s) can support, trying to ensure that their employees have what they need to work from home, and adjusting to remote client meetings and employee interviews.
Why employees like working from home
Research shows that working from home has its benefits. For example, according to a Stanford University study, people are the most productive when they work part of the time from home.
And the Buffer survey shows that most people want to work from home at least some of the time (98%). 97% would recommend remote work to others. Employees appreciate the fact that they have a more flexible schedule (32%), they can work from anywhere (26%), and they don’t have to commute (21%).
This shows that there is an upside to working from home. But how do you make the transition as smooth as possible?
Here are three tips to make the transition to work from home a bit easier:
Step 1: Focus on strategic communication
Communication is key when setting up work-from-home teams.
Remote work can be great for productivity because employees can’t be interrupted as much. On the other hand, that’s exactly what makes communication more demanding.
So, how do you communicate effectively?
Daily meetings and chat tools can help you get started.
Give daily standup syncs a try
Regular morning team calls are important for ensuring that everyone knows what the others are doing so they can make sure all are on the same page and focused on their priorities.
However, these calls have a tendency to last over one hour, which can become problematic if your employees are then unable to complete work in the morning hours.
While necessary, your phone calls should bring value to the team but not disrupt the team’s workflow. Shortening these calls by weeding out the side conversations is ideal.
Try to stick to short, 15 minute "daily standup" style syncs to align on the day's priorities and start the day off right.
Team bonding is important too. If possible, schedule semi-regular social calls for a time where many people are not as focused, like between 12pm and 3pm, as the afternoon slump kicks in and people need time to refocus.
Use chat tools
Slack or similar team messaging software can be a great tool too. Slack in particular allows users to pin daily tasks so that everyone can all see where each other is in their workflow as the day progresses.
This allows for teams to keep track of their goals, as well as to help one another with their tasks if needed.
In addition to a team Slack channel, it's great to set up a channel for all members of the company to chat freely.
Bonding happens over shared pictures of home-cooked food or pets, as employees feel more connected with one another.
Another great channel to include is the IT channel for IT-related issues.
Step 2: Be flexible
Be a flexible and understanding employer. Understand that in these trying times, your employees may need flexibility for their comings and goings -- especially those with kids or sick partners.
Flexibility should also extend to technological matters. Not everyone is used to using remote collaboration tools. Without understanding and flexibility, the transition to work from home becomes even more stressful for employees.
For example, you might allow employees to work in the evenings if it’s better for their productivity instead of the usual 8-hour workday, as long as they keep up with client emails.
Let employees work when and how they work best.
At the end of the day, people appreciate the flexibility of remote work. By focusing on goals for your employees instead of hours spent on tasks, you get better results and happier employees.
Step 3: Provide work from home supplies
Businesses that supply items to work from home are typically considered essential, so make sure that your employees have access to and funds for purchasing work from home supplies.
The best companies are delivering desks and chairs to their employees at home who don't already have a home office setup. They're also allowing employees to borrow or bring home monitors and computer towers so that they can work more efficiently.
Trust in your employees and support their ability to be productive.
Most digital work tasks can today be completed at home. For example, you could run your entire hiring processes online (as we help companies do here at CodeSubmit). What it comes down to is creating processes and using tools that are adapted to remote work.
Over to you!
There you have it. Now you know how to easily help employees transition to work from home from your office. Focus on helping to ease the stress of transitioning by instituting good communication practices to support your teams.
With the right processes in place, your team becomes more flexible and employees have the supplies necessary to be effective in their roles.