There’s no better way to celebrate work than by taking a day off. The irony of the Labor Day holiday gets me every year, but I do hope that it provided a little extra rest on the front end of a busy fall season.
I mentioned in one of my recent notes another piece of irony: how Zoom recently started requiring their employees to come back to the office.
Where are you on that journey? If you pivoted to remote or hybrid work models for your employees post-2020, what is your work from home policy looking like these days?
If there’s one thing that Minnesota business owners in WFH-friendly industries would be wise to pay attention to, it’s that workers still really value having the freedom to work remotely. A full 98% of workers report a desire to work remotely at least some of the time.
And the trend still has traction — as of 2023, a little over 40% of the workforce either works from home or operates in a hybrid work environment.
But when safety concerns are no longer the banner over this arrangement, business owners find themselves weighing the costs.
So today I want to delve into some of the dynamics of creating a work from home policy that incorporates the increasingly popular hybrid work model, but with boundaries that benefit both business owners and employees.
Work From Home Policy for Minnesota Businesses
“Where we’re going, we don’t need offices” ― Doc Brown, ‘Back to the Future’
Now that we’ve mostly accepted the WFH shift in work culture, we’re fully into the weeds of how to make it work long-term, which presents both opportunities and challenges.
Based on my conversations with business owners in our area (and beyond), there are themes to the concerns that are voiced.
One of the foremost concerns for business owners is ensuring that employees remain productive and accountable while working from home, despite the statistics showing that remote employees tend to be more productive than their office counterparts. (A study by Stanford University found that remote workers were 13% more productive than office-based workers.)
Another question being asked is how to ensure the security of data on external systems. And then there’s the need to maintain a spirit of teamwork and camaraderie in a setup where face-to-face interactions are minimal.
So let’s talk about how to address these very legitimate concerns when developing your work from home policy.
1) Maintaining Cybersecurity: Protecting Your Business and Employees
It goes without saying that cybersecurity is paramount. Your work from home policy should outline clear guidelines for safeguarding sensitive information. Require the use of secure virtual private networks (VPNs), encrypted communication tools, and strong password protocols. Educate your employees about phishing scams and the importance of keeping their devices updated with the latest security patches.
2) Fostering Relationships: Creating A Healthy Workplace Culture
There are still ways to build into a spirit of teamwork, but it will look different than before. Organize digital team-building activities, such as weekly video check-ins, virtual coffee breaks, or even online team games. But most importantly, set up a dedicated virtual space where employees can engage in casual conversations and share personal updates. This is a way you can mimic the daily interactions that would normally happen in the office break room or hallways.
3) Maintaining Productivity: Balancing Trust and Accountability
Monitoring work productivity doesn’t have to equate to constant surveillance. It’s not like you were constantly looking over their shoulder at the office so take a similar approach here. Implement tools that allow employees to track their own tasks and progress, which can help foster a sense of autonomy and ownership. Regular check-ins and goal-setting sessions can help maintain accountability while empowering staff to take ownership over their time.
An effective work from home policy requires a thoughtful approach that is outside the box of “what we’ve always done.” Such are the times we live in as Hennepin County business owners, where adaptation is the lynch pin of survival.
But I want you to do more than survive, and that’s why I do what I do.
Let’s build your business. I’m here to help you expand your financial future:
In your corner,