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How to prepare your business (and your employees) to work remotely

Sharon Florentine | Feb. 7, 2014
Hurricanes, blizzards, floods, earthquakes, even mundane events like employees' car troubles or family obligations can disrupt your business and put a damper on productivity. Here's how to prepare your business and your personnel for working remotely.

"For example, dogs should not be barking in the background of a client conference call. Communication expectations should be set regarding how employees will communicate while remote, and with what tools and technologies? There should be a common understanding with regard to access and availability. Working remotely doesn't mean people are working less, but just that they're working in a different location. Working remotely should increase results, not be an impediment to them," he says.

Managers, Use Discretion
That said, it doesn't have to be an "all-or-nothing" situation, Duchesne says. There are times when it makes sense for some employees to work from home but not others, and that is up to each manager's discretion, he says.

"Give managers the authority to assess on a case-by-case basis what is appropriate based on an employee's individual situation. For example, where they live, or how far they have to commute," he says. It can also be helpful to offer backup and contingency plans for employees, even if you can't offer them the option to work from home, Duchesne says.

"You can offer services like back-up childcare, for instance, to help employees be prepared for the unexpected, even if you can't let them work from home. If you help them address the unexpected in their personal lives, they'll be able to focus on work and continue to be productive, and it'll improve moral, engagement, and company loyalty," he says.

 

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