With so many businesses adopting hybrid work teams to increase flexibility for employees, having an excellent WFH employee setup is essential. Whether you want to refine your work-from-home options to keep highly skilled employees or you simply want employees to stay healthy during ongoing public health concerns, working with a managed IT firm can make your goals much easier to accomplish.
How Do You Set Up a Remote Worker?
There are several tools remote workers will need to keep up with job performance and obligations. If you want your hybrid teams and remote workers to be successful, ensuring these employees have a good setup at home is crucial. To give remote workers the best setup, you may need to provide hardware and software installation, onboarding tutorials, and remote work policies.
One part of an effective WFH employee setup may be specialized hardware installation. For example, if your hybrid employees will need access to specialized desktop equipment, it may be a good idea to provide official hardware installation. Official hardware setups will ensure that employees have the correct tools to meet job obligations, such as drawing tablets, fax machines, scanners, or other computer equipment.
Many remote workers will also need to use specialized software to complete job tasks. This can include accounting software, payroll software, and other software that is used for team collaboration. Similarly to official hardware setups, software installation will ensure that your highly skilled employees have the best chance of maintaining high productivity at home.
Software installation can be reserved only for localized desktop computers or can be combined with cloud-based technology that assists with team collaboration. For example, part of software installation may be signing employees up for VOIP accounts to access online fax services, video meeting software, and other communication tools.
Whether your remote workers are new hires or flexible workers who are coming from the office environment, it’s usually necessary to hire an onboarding specialist to make the transition as easy as possible. The onboarding specialist can walk employees through how to use software, access VOIP services, and how to troubleshoot technical issues.
Furthermore, the onboarding specialist will work with HR specialists to ensure employees have met all other job training requirements, including setting up payroll accounts and signing work policy agreements.
Remote Work Policies
Finally, you will have to design remote work policies that all hybrid or flex employees will follow. Remote work policies will enforce the expectations you have for your employees and will also support the overall culture of your company. For example, your remote work policies should identify what roles qualify for remote work, outline obligations for employees, and other protocols, including troubleshooting if a remote worker runs into tech problems.
What Are the Priorities of WFH Employee Setup?
The top three priorities for an effective WFH employee setup are communication, productivity, and collaboration. You will need to ensure that achieving these goals is possible by meeting these priorities with your remote worker policies.
The benefit of a hybrid workforce is the flexibility that will improve employee satisfaction, job performance, and productivity. However, hybrid workers can only be effective if they have adequate communication resources. Although email has been the standby communication tool used by businesses for the last several decades, remote workers may find that relying on email does not enable effective communication, especially when communication must be done quickly.
Communication tools can include anything from online fax services and chat messaging to video conferencing software that will allow remote workers to collaborate with office workers. It may also be important to set up remote workers with an “office” phone number through VOIP software.
The Importance of VOIP
Whether or not your entire business has transitioned to using VOIP software for business communication, remote workers must have VOIP resources to remain productive. VOIP software is highly customizable, so you can provide remote workers with all the essential tools for communication.
When the VOIP software used by remote workers is integrated into the business communication used by the rest of your business, you will be able to enhance the efficiency of your employees across the board. Furthermore, VOIP software is scalable to the size of your business, the number of employees you have, and the preferred communication tools you want to use.
Any work-from-home setup needs to prioritize productivity. While hardware and software installations are the roots of remote worker productivity, it’s also important to reinforce healthy productivity with effective remote worker policies.
Employees must understand their work obligations, including project deadlines and whether work hours will be logged cumulatively or tallied based on productivity. When there is a clear understanding of the expectations employees must meet, productivity and job performance skyrocket.
Is Flex Staff As Productive As Office Staff?
Many studies prove that hybrid or flex employees can be just as productive, and often even more productive, than in-office employees. Other studies show the opposite. Flexibility is key, as well as understanding that, in any WFH situation, some will thrive and others will not.
The ability to set one’s own work hours, avoid commutes, or work around other obligations can create a more beneficial work-life balance that is healthier for employees. If the situation at home isn’t good, however, or the person isn’t suited to at-home work (for example, if they can’t leave “at-home” issues and chores alone and concentrate on their work; or if they’re unable to ever unplug from work and really be present at home), the situation will be very unhealthy. While they may like having no commute and wearing casual clothes, they don’t actually have a healthier work-life balance.
Happy employees with a better work-life balance are more creative and have better job performance and retention rates. This will benefit your business overall by increasing profits and reducing employee turnover. For the best productivity, take time to get to know employees and evaluate their performance before committing either to a permanent work-from-home or all in-office setting. And be sure to provide remote workers with the setup they need to perform.
Finally, your remote workers will likely need to collaborate at some point with your office workers. Hybrid teams and flex workforces are increasingly common in today’s businesses. VOIP software is an essential tool that can be used to enhance team collaboration, which is another reason why you may want to prioritize shifting your business communication methods to cloud-based VOIP communication software.
Integrating Team Collaboration Tools
There are many software applications that can be used for team collaboration, including tools from Google, Microsoft, and other specialized applications. Regardless of the team collaboration software you are using, integrating your team collaboration tools with VOIP technology is the best way to refine the overall communication and collaboration between your hybrid workers and your office team.
How Else Can Work-From-Home Employees Create a Productive Setup?
Aside from specialized software and hardware installations employees may need for certain job tasks, there are many other things employees can do to increase focus and productivity when they are working from home. For example, designating a home office space is essential since a dedicated workspace can enhance focus, efficiency, and job performance. Keys to an effective home office include:
Ergonomic tools refer to desks, chairs, keyboards, mouses, and other tools that can reduce physical strain on the body. When employees are provided with ergonomic tools, this will significantly reduce the risk of developing a repetitive strain injury, which can cause wrist pain, carpal tunnel, back pain, and other injuries that are common for office workers. Some employees may want to also use blue light filtering glasses to reduce eye strain.
In addition to ergonomic tools, employees should also understand the importance of moving around, even if they are working from home. Not only does physical movement reduce strain on the body from sitting at a desk, but it also gives employees time and space to think about problems so that employees have better productivity when they return from breaks. Reinforcing healthy work behaviors at home offices should be part of your remote work policy.
Clutter in any area of the home can increase negative feelings and stress, so it makes sense to prioritize keeping home offices clutter-free. With reduced clutter, employees will have better focus and better productivity. Using desk organizers or drawer space to organize a home office is just as essential for a setup as having the right software to work with.
Important Desk Materials
There are several materials WFH employees may want to have in easy reach. Whiteboards, sticky notes, analog calendars and notebooks, and many other old-school office supplies can be important for employees who will need to create outlines, designs, or other brainstorming ideas. Some studies also suggest that having a desk plant can reduce stress, filter air, and increase productivity by upwards of 15%.
Good lighting is also an essential tool that employees can use to create a productive setup. Good lighting is associated with better focus and efficiency. Ideally, employees should create a home office setup that avoids fluorescent lighting and prioritizes indirect natural light. It’s very important for natural light to be indirect to avoid harming hardware and other equipment.
An effective WFH employee setup creates a home office that prioritizes communication, productivity, and team collaboration. As a business owner, you can set your remote workers up for success by providing hardware and software installation, remote work policies, and onboarding specialists. Employees can also enhance a work-from-home setup by using ergonomic tools and decluttering the workspace. To learn more about the best WFH employee setup, reach out to Flying Buttress today.