You run a small to medium-sized company and have never offered your employees the opportunity to work from home? Then there are probably a lot of things going through your head when you are considering the decision to introduce a home office in your company due to the coronavirus crisis.
Logistical-organizational considerations are only one aspect of many. Perhaps you also fear that your employees will prefer Netflix series at home instead of preparing for the next important appointment?
Calm down! We have compiled a series of facts for you that show how useful and productive it can be if you allow your employees to work from home. In addition, you will also find some best practice tips around the topic of home office here.
The advantages of home office: for you and your employees
Home office can lead to increased employee retention
A research study by Stanford University found that the fluctuation rate in this group decreased by 50 percent when a Chinese travel company gave some of its employees the opportunity to work from home.
Home office workers seem to tire less
In the same Stanford experiment mentioned above, employees took part in regular psychological studies. These showed that the employees in the home office reported fewer feelings of “work exhaustion” than the control group of employees in the office.
Working in the home office can be more productive
A number of studies have shown that working from home can increase productivity. The International Workplace Group’s Global Workspace Survey 2020 asked 15,000 business leaders in 100 countries what they thought of their home office. The survey found that 85 percent of the companies involved believed that enabling home office has increased productivity.
5 tips for a successful home office culture
Enable a lot of communication
Set up different communication channels. Don’t just use telecommunication technologies like Skype, Zoom, and the team messaging platform Slack.
For example, establish quick morning meetings or similar formats to ensure that you and your team have the same level of information and that everyone’s daily goals are clear.
Make it clear that briefing processes now require increased care and that everyone should pick up the phone if they feel that an email or other message has been misunderstood anywhere in the communication process.
As a boss, it will help you a lot to assure your team that it is doing a good job. Remember that your employees cannot see you smiling when they are doing their jobs in the home office. Provide regular feedback and don’t skimp on the praise when appropriate.
Encourage virtual contact
One of the major criticisms of the home office is that it could make some employees feel lonely. A 2019 Buffer report found that 19 percent of home office employees felt isolated. But thanks to video conference platforms such as Zoom and Skype, it is very easy for colleagues to meet virtually and make contacts at work.
As the boss of a company, encourage people to use virtual team-building opportunities, even if they are only small impulses. A lot is possible, from planning a breakfast coffee chat in the morning to a live zoom lunch or a virtual pizza party.
Maintain your corporate identity
Many start-ups and smaller companies live a specific corporate culture that is reflected in many aspects, right down to the design of the rooms. Such a culture should also be cultivated in the home office. Everything is better with humor – there is no reason why a relaxed, relaxed corporate culture stops at the front door.
With GIFS and spontaneous videos, you can also set visual signs of corporate identity. Whether T-shirts with a company logo or a serious appearance: Recommend your team not to neglect the existing corporate culture even in the home office.
Beware of micromanagement
Following the Stanford experiment with the Chinese travel agency mentioned above, researchers and experts from the study team gave the following advice based on their results: Employers who enable their employees to work at home should give them real autonomy and flexibility instead of trying to remotely manage their work. Granting more autonomy can actually increase employee productivity.
Trust your team
A study by ACAS concluded that the greatest obstacle to successful work in the home office is the lack of trust in management.
As mentioned earlier, a daily morning meeting can be enough to ensure that you can be confident that your team is on the right track and doing its best.
If you want to clarify goals and performance more, you can encourage your employees to send you a summary of their performance at the end of each day. However, this also means more work for you – and can quickly be perceived as a form of the micromanagement mentioned. Trust in home office teams is based on the following four pillars:
Reliability: Companies can assess how individuals will behave and they can be sure that people will meet deadlines and deadlines.
Consistency: The team members enjoy respect, the processes are applied consistently, and protocols are available to everyone.
Congruence: perception and reality match. Things are what they seem, and team members put words into action.
Mutuality: Teams have an “all for one and one for all” attitude. The individual is successful because the team is successful ”.
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