Establishing Smart Guidelines for Working from Home (WFH)

By Michael Klazema on 5/14/2020

In the span of only a few months, working from home went from a novel work feature to a widespread trend born of necessity. The result was a dramatic and sudden shift not only in workplace culture but also in the infrastructure of the office. With meetings now taking place in video conferencing apps and managers fretting over productivity, businesses must adopt a new oversight framework.

In many workplaces, that framework is a highly structured digital workday with a host of requirements and demands. From constant availability via webcam to a detailed account of tasks performed every hour, some employees find these new procedures burdensome and stressful. While it is essential for businesses to remain on target and complete work each day, unique WFH challenges and stressors may demand a more empathetic approach to personnel management. 

Managers should exercise strict respect for the workday to help employees maintain a separation between the spheres of work and home life. For workers, succeeding in this challenge requires clear directives from employers—developing solutions ad hoc is more likely to result in confusion and miscommunication.

Rules, guidelines, and how-to tutorials will smooth the transition to and from WFH procedures. At notebook manufacturer Moleskine, for example, an internal etiquette guide spells out everything from how to maintain professionalism at home to instructions for minimizing disruptions during large video conferences. 

With more employees out of the office, some managers may have increased concerns about what takes place outside work hours. Pre-employment vetting and a thorough hiring process reveal a wealth of information, but what about when that information changes? In a WFH economy, ongoing monitoring of criminal background information from may prove valuable. Separate from the productivity monitoring solutions implemented by many businesses, these services ensure that employers maintain a clear view of the critical facts concerning their workforce.

Businesses should take care to plan beyond the current shift. Across industries, predictions abound that the new WFH and telecommuting infrastructure is here to stay—and that businesses and employees alike will find more benefits than downsides to "smart" work. Employers must avoid making significant changes intending to quickly undo them and should instead formulate a clear plan of action for supporting employees, including their work and their well-being. 

Even hiring may change in both the short and long term, including less reliance on the traditional in-person interview. However, the importance of thorough vetting will remain. 

With, acquiring the tools for pre-employment vetting and post-hiring, ongoing monitoring is simple, fast, and cost-effective. As businesses grapple with the unique complexities of working away from the office, adapting old policies and implementing new ideas provide the best opportunities for improved employee morale and consistent productivity. 

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