Six Tips for Creating a Productive Work-from-Home Program

    Work-from-home programs are gaining momentum, and a recent survey on cloud adoption proves there is activity leading to increased flexibility for employees. The survey, conducted by Evolve IP, found that more than one third of respondents currently have desktops in the cloud or are planning to migrate in the next three years – a secure way to enable work from home employees to navigate proprietary tools.

    According to the CTO of Evolve IP, Scott Kinka, technology is taking enterprise programs to the next level, enabling them to change the way they work. Cloud technology, such as unified business communications and desktop as a service (DaaS), integration with critical applications such as customer relationship management (CRM) and workforce management (WFM) tools, and other advanced technologies provide the organization with better insight and new options for such things as work-from-home programs. Based on the survey results, organizations are currently or are planning to take advantage of these technologies.

    When done right, a work-from-home program is a win for everyone. Staff morale will soar with reduced commuting time and costs, increased shift flexibility and increased productivity. Employers also win by cutting operational costs and because fostering happy employees means better-serviced, happier customers. If you are looking to implement a work-from-home program, here are the top things you need to think about.

    Six Tips for Creating a Productive Work-from-Home Program - slide 1

    Click through for six tips organizations should take into consideration when beginning a telecommuting program, as identified by Scott Kinka, CTO at Evolve IP.

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    Designate physical environment best practices

    There are important considerations regarding the physical environment that employees working from home need to address. Employees should have a designated work area that is separate from the rest of the home. Ideally this is located in a separate room with a door to help eliminate possible distractions. The area should be comfortable with suitable lighting and furniture.

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    Determine legal and financial policies

    Clearly communicating legal and financial policies will help prevent “gotchas” and angst down the road. Be proactive in clearly documenting and verbalizing these policies to employees. Have your legal team weigh in on the compensation considerations and items such as how you will handle the approval of the work area.

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    Implement a solid technology solution

    The key items to address from a technology perspective are the ability for employees to make and receive phone calls, get access to your business applications and obtain technical support. Some other specifics you need to consider when determining the right technology solution include:

    1. How will calls be delivered remotely? Are there additional costs or constraints? Is a hosted IP phone system the best way to go?
    2. How do you ensure call quality isn’t compromised? Are wireless or cellular phones acceptable?
    3. How will staff easily but securely access important business applications and files? How will you easily provide support and upgrades for their desktops? Would a DaaS solution be more efficient and secure for your organization?

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    Build a program guide

    An over-arching program guide is essential to a successful work-from-home program. Sections that should be included in the guide include:

    1. Policies and expectations
    2. Reimbursement criteria and process
    3. Troubleshooting, which would include as much descriptive step-by-step setup and troubleshooting information as possible

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    Select the associates for the program

    Select the associates for the program and check their availability. Consider what key performance indicators (KPIs) are and if the employee currently meets them. Does the employee have the “right” personality/motivation to work independently? Is the employee willing to work flexible hours or shifts, if needed?

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    Pilot, evaluate, adjust, and deploy

    Launch the program and set regularly scheduled evaluations of all aspects of the program. Monitor KPIs and calls to detect early warning signs, and actively solicit feedback from all those involved. When rolling out any changes to the program, be sure to update the guide and secure signed acceptances of the changes from all employees.

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