In the past several months, work from home (WFH) policies have become increasingly popular. In addition, the spread of COVID-19 resulted in a temporary and sometimes permanent WFH environment for many companies throughout the country.
Working from home can be beneficial, and many employers and workers are happily embracing the trend. Plus, it’s easier for businesses to operate from anywhere safely with remote access solutions. Here are some benefits companies see after making a WFH shift:
Improved Employee Satisfaction
Many employees appreciate the option to work from home at least part of the time. The flexibility to choose when to go into an office provides peace of mind to employees who might have to commute far in bad weather or need to deal with an unexpected illness. In addition, most workers prefer organizations that allow a greater balance between life and work.
Increase worker productivity is a major potential benefit for a work from home policy adoption. Studies have shown that in many cases, productivity improves when employees work from home.
It may seem that a house has many distractions, but the office may have more. For example, colleagues visiting, a loud office space, and impromptu meetings can steal time away from employee productiveness. On the other hand, from home, some employees have the opportunity to focus on a task with fewer interruptions.
Less Time Spent Commuting
Anyone who sits in traffic or takes public transportation daily understands the merit of a shortened commute. It’s also greener: cutting down on daily commutes may positively affect energy savings. At the very least, employees will see a decline in transportation costs and time spent traveling to work.
Recruitment and Retention Improvements
Recruiting top employees remains a serious challenge, but limiting the candidate pool to a local area may mean a company is missing out on potential applicants. Studies by major consulting and recruitment firms determine that the opportunity to WFH can be a key factor when applying for new jobs. However, companies may also lose some of their workers – the lack of work from home opportunities has been listed as a reason for seeking alternative employment.
Decreased Real Estate Costs
Companies and organizations who believe WFH will be their long-term model can eliminate office space, cutting considerable fixed costs out of the bottom line equation.
There are many great benefits of working from home. However, relaxed data security and blurred office hours can become an opportunity for cyber threats. If you’re considering adopting a work from home policy, here are some factors that you should carefully consider:
Equipment and Maintenance
Outlined what equipment and utilities employers and employees are responsible for providing and maintaining. Will bandwidth be a reimbursable expense? Will laptops, phones, etc., be provided by the business, or will this be a BYOD project?
If the employer provides technology, determine the employee’s responsibility to keep it maintained and install upgrades. If you have a BYOD policy, decide if employees are required to bring their devices in for upgrades and security checks. Click here to learn more about adopting a BYOD policy.
Fair Labor Standards Act
When employees work from home, overtime laws are still applicable. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) created a framework for paying wages above the law’s definition of a 40-hour workweek that includes overtime pay for work performed beyond that threshold. FLSA defines two basic classes of workers: employees who must receive payment for overtime when working more than forty hours (non-exempt employees) and those who do not require compensation for work done beyond the 40-hour limit (exempt employees).
The problem FLSA presents is that companies must pay non-exempt employees for all work, including any work activity outside regular working hours. An example of the liability created for an employer is employees who respond to texts and emails from home outside “office hours.” This is compensable work and needs to count under the 40-hour threshold. Policies that protect you from any violation of FLSA should be articulated clearly in writing.
Be Aware of Organizational Silos
When developing a WFH policy, the above issue of FLSA points out that effective WFH planning and implementation requires collaboration, and not just between individual managers and employees. IT involvement may be necessary – determine who is supporting off-site technology and maintaining data security. Is it a human resource issue-will performance measurements need to be tweaked? It may be a legal issue – certain types of data end up governed by federal and state laws such as HIPAA and FERPA.
Companies must consider the data protection and legal implications before opting for a work-from-home setup. However, WFH policies can prove beneficial to both the employer and the employee if planned well and implemented properly.
Whether you’re in the office or at home, networks need to be secure and maintained. Wahaya IT can help ease the telecommuting transition with remote access solutions and business data continuity plans.