Striking a work-life balance has been a challenge for employees since decades. Work-life balance involves successfully juggling workplace responsibilities with the daily pressures of one’s personal life. With our schedules becoming busier by the day, often work or personal lives tend to suffer. The increasing need for work-life balance has seen a shift in the organisational culture to promote flexibility for employees. Since the past few years, modern employees have demanded the ability to work-from-home or telecommute. With technological advancement and understanding the need for work-life balance, many employers have embraced telecommuting for their organisation.

Telecommuting is a flexible work arrangement, where employees are able to work from an alternate location, such as home, and use technology to communicate with their managers, co-workers, and customers. Allowing employees to work-from-home has several employer benefits. Being an attractive perk, work-from-home benefits organisations in the form of cost reduction, and as a retention and recruitment tool. While the concept of work-from-home may seem intimidating, you need to consider the following parameters to ensure the best telecommuting practices.

Determine the positions suitable for work-from-home

Work-from-home is not always a one-size-fits-all program. You must remember that even though your employee is demanding work-from-home, his/her position may not be appropriate for it. Activities that require dealing with physical goods or public presence and work that requires a high amount of confidentiality are not appropriate for telecommuting. However, profiles like writing, editing, making presentations, online research, software development, etc. are all eligible for work-from-home. Furthermore, the nature and performance of employees must also be taken into consideration while marking them suitable for telecommuting. Employees who work best on their own, are self-motivated, and have a low need for social interaction are best suitable for work-from-home.

Work-from-home is a two-way process

When talking about work-from-home, many people often imagine sleeping till late and lazing around. Though work-from-home offers flexibility, it is still a professional job and must be treated as such. Employees may often find themselves tempted by distractions when working from home. Employees must not forget that work-from-home is a benefit and not a right. They must respect it by maintaining their productivity. In turn, organisations must clearly set their expectations, monitor productivity, and provide assistance in overcoming potential obstacles.

Communicate your expectations in writing

You must set out a work-from-home policy in writing as an agreement or as a part of your employee handbook. This allows you to clearly set out your expectations, as well as, terms and conditions an employee must follow while telecommuting. As an organisation, you can include points such as how the work schedule can be altered, how work-from-home is to be requested and approved, how routine communication will be handled, what the performance expectations are while working from home, and more. This makes it easier for you to assess employee productivity and entitles the employee to understand what is expected of him during telecommuting.

In order to secure top talent, retain employees, and stay ahead of the competition you may consider a shift to a flexible work culture by incorporating a work-from-home policy. By considering the above-mentioned parameters, you can ensure the best telecommuting practices and reap the benefits of a flexible work environment.