Mark Zuckerberg just recently shared his plans for the future of remote operations at Facebook. By 2030, he promised, a minimum of half of Facebook’s 50,000 workers would certainly be working from home. “We are most likely to be one of the most forward-leaning firms on remote work at our scale,” he proclaimed in a follow-up meeting. A few days previously, Jack Dorsey had actually revealed that Twitter and Square’s workers would be allowed to work “where [ever before] they feel most innovative and also efficient...even once offices start to resume.”
After investing the last twenty years constructing amenity-filled campuses that optimize the “collision ability” of skill and ideas while luring their employees to stay in the workplace for as much time as they can. The pandemic has revealed to these advanced technology companies that their workers can be equally as efficient—or, in many cases, even more so—when they remain at home. It isn't just about technology, though. Executives in traditional markets who spent days as well as weeks driving to the office are uncovering that a well-managed Zoom meeting can be as effective as a face-to-face meeting. It is a lot easier (and less expensive) to organize.
Will Apple’s new $5 billion HQ, aka The Spacecraf, end up being a white elephant? Does Google intend to abandon the Googleplex? Will corporations clear out their office buildings all over and also diminish their physical footprints? Are we on the brink of a brand-new paradigm for work? Microsoft’s Satya Nadella isn’t so certain. Changing from employees being in a physical company office to all remote is “replacing one conviction with one more,” he claimed in a discussion with The New York Times. “One of the important things I feel is, hey, maybe we are shedding a few of the social capital we developed in this stage where we are all working remote. What’s the action for that?”
We think that the workforces of Facebook and Twitter will be much less remote in ten years than their leaders are forecasting today, but much more remote than they can have thought of six months ago. The important question, however, is not whether someone’s forecasts are ideal or incorrect (no one is clairvoyant), but whether those leaders are thinking enough about what they want their new workforce paradigm to achieve. Also, whether or not they can design and create systems that will enable them to meet their objectives.
Work From Home (WFH) is helping them get by the prompt crisis, however, what do they desire from it in the long run? Greater efficiency? Cost savings on office space, travel, and cost-of-living modified wages for workers in less costly places? Much better morale as well as higher retention rates?
To understand what’s “best” for your company’s future when it comes to remote work, you have to place it in the context of all things that you want to attain. Simply put, you have to have an intentional purpose. After that, you must envision the “workforce system” that will make those things feasible.
The process of working from home is a system in and of itself, combining many interconnections and dependencies, both human and technological. It is important for employers to remember that working from home is not a “point shift” in an otherwise stable system.
How do I allow employees to work from home?
There are a few practices to consider when writing a remote work policy, designing the technologies (existing and also yet to be produced) that you will require to make your system convenient, including collaboration, imagination, as well as productivity tools. The resources (your physical footprint, individuals, and the technology user interfaces you use to arrange them) as well as the policies, methods, and processes your system requires to function. These include HR factors to consider like traveling, skill development, and compensation; functional issues like office design and logistical obstacles like “hoteling”-- making short-lived work desks readily available to remote workers when they are required to work onsite.
To reinforce and strengthen company culture, increase employee engagement and improve the remote employee experience, you’ll need remote work policies, systems, and key KPIs in place.
One of the most important aims in creating a long-term WFH environment is to make employees feel connected and productive so that they can be effective as individuals or as part of a team.
While you can model such a program up to a point, its design specifications will need to be adjusted when they come into touch with reality. As a result, testing and understanding will be crucial—one rollout will not suffice.
For each of these practices to be properly created and executed, a separate policy is required to guarantee that the regulations, work plans, and security measures necessary to enable a compliant remote work environment are formed.
How do you create a work from home policy?
It should begin with planning and developing a roadmap of your present culture and working environment. Creating a remote work system that supports your remote workforce for individualized and teamwork is critical to your organization being able to effectively meet the disruptions of today’s work environment. The policy design should be based on a vision of what a work-from-home environment should be like, one that fosters and encourages employee involvement and productivity.
The policy design should be based on a vision of what a work-from-home environment should be like, one that fosters trust and encourages employee involvement and productivity. Create a framework that clearly spells out the plan for realizing the goal you have in mind.
It’s crucial to realize that leaders can’t and shouldn’t accomplish everything by themselves. It should involve buy-in from human resources, business unit executives such as IT and Legal, as well as a few key members from other departments to assist. This develops trust and ensures that the remote work environment the company is planning for in the future and the current state reflect the culture and office practices.
To effectively handle the interruptions of today’s work environment and plan for the future, your company must establish a remote work system that supports your remote workforce.
Consider the following 4 phases when crafting your policy and remote work system.
Phase 1: What is your total vision of your remote work environment of the future?
You are doing two things in this stage: Expressing your purpose and goal (your factor for designing the new system) and also visualizing the system as well as what it appears like.
Consider what you learned from the Covid-19 emergency that led you down this path to develop your objective—your motivation for re-imagining your present work environment. Instead of trying to gain analytical confidence, your primary goal should be clarifying your future direction.
The vision is the blueprint you build as you begin to envision the workforce system of the future as a function- and objective-driven narrative. In other words, it should consist of your purpose (your “why”); your purposes and metrics (your “what”); and a succinct description of the components of your system and how they all work together (your “how”).
As an example: In order to attract new talent and broaden your organization's skill base, establishing a remote work system will allow you to tap and hire talent from outside of your local market, giving you a competitive advantage as you acquire talent with the necessary skills to expand your internal workforce capabilities.
Based on this example, a remote work policy may include complete reimbursement for internet bills, at-home office supplies, and other expenses associated with creating a home office to facilitate remote work.
Then you’ll need to ask the same questions about strategies and procedures, as well as standards and KPIs.
Phase 2: Consider the implied and also specific presumptions you are making
As Donald Rumsfeld notoriously put it, there are recognized knowns and also understood unknowns, as well as likewise unknown unknowns that you must gauge. Try to identify as many of those understood and unidentified unknowns as you can. Each will certainly require to be verified or disproven. In groups that meet virtually, problem-solving can take place along with in-person groups; executive development can occur via online sessions along with in-person conferences-or otherwise, probably.
Stage 3: Test those presumptions
What do you need to learn and how can you ideally do it? To answer these questions, walk your vision and also its crucial presumptions back to today in the form of experiments. What should you learn and how should you learn it? Experiment with your vision and also its crucial presumptions in order to answer these questions. Normally, you will certainly need more than one if there are different circumstances or contexts where the system would work.
For example, if you have business units that have radically different objectives (e.g., one that is service and manufacturing-oriented and other business units that focus on understanding tasks and design).
As individuals, we are all unique. The work-from-home work model creates a feeling of happiness for your workforce and reduces stress levels for different types of roles and personalities; less for others.
If you are a multinational and also want to find out if work-from-home can work within your geographies, carve out a company feature or small company system; systematically use the work-from-home technologies, practices, and also policies as well as standards that you wish to use; run it in parallel momentarily; and after that, carefully measure its outcomes against those of the geographies.
Stage 4: Utilize the knowings from these experiments to adjust or pivot your system’s components and your vision.
You will ultimately find your ideal way forward through repeated exploration, envisioning, and testing. Learning is a continuous process, not a discrete event, unfolding over time as your assumptions change into knowledge.
Unavoidably, there will be tradeoffs that must be worked out. While you may be able to add more workforce skills and save money by not requiring your new hires to move, it is also likely that your innovative talent and teams will certainly end up being a lot more scattered.
Some teams might need to meet in person many times each week, so they won’t have the flexibility of living anywhere they like. You will likely have to beef up your technical and talent systems and also digital skills before you can completely use your brand-new knowledge across your company. It might be necessary to make significant investments to provide adequate data transfer for your workers' residences, thereby reducing your anticipated cost savings. You may discover, per those early scenarios, that your brand-new system isn’t compatible with every business unit or geography.
You will likely need to come to grips with the pitfalls of causal obscurity (the reality that what drives people in one setting may not motivate them in another). Any organization has restrictions on its absorptive capability; you must plan for systemic conflicts as well as rejection, which might result from insufficient system interaction, the absence of a shared language, or historical competitions and animosities.
Don't profess one dogma for the sake of another
At all times, it’s vital to remember that your aspirational “what’s ideal” should extend beyond your profits. The Business Roundtable redefined the function of a company in August 2019. It shifted the focus from serving only the financial interests of stockholders to providing value to all stakeholders, including customers, vendors, employees, and communities. Ideally, a company’s vision of its future workforce system or systems ought to show its leaders giving serious thought to the “why,” not merely the “what” and “how.”
When you look at other organizations’ remote work initiatives and see their success, there is still a possibility that what works for Twitter and Facebook will not work for you.
Your vision and policies may need to be adjusted as well as your response to feedback from your workforce in order to achieve success with your initiatives. When considering the future of work for your workforce and remote work environment, don’t feel obligated to divulge a predetermined future that is written in stone.
The use of pillars for successful workforce optimization, which includes remote employees, is meant to provide you with a method to create and own it, ensuring the long-term stability of your organization. As Satya Nadella recommended, trading one dogma for another is seldom your best service; in most cases, those dogmas themselves are your most significant problem.
It becomes clear at the end of the day that those organizations capable of providing the clearest, most motivating vision, learning the most rapidly, and pivoting their capabilities the most will succeed.
Accendi Group delivers workforce solutions to optimize your remote work business plan as you create your remote work talent strategy. Contact us today for your free consultation.
This article was written by Fawn Hentrel, Managing Partner.