Punching in at 9:00 am and punching out at 5:00 pm is no longer the norm in the workforce. Many employees are rolling out of bed and into their home offices to begin the work day. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 50% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework and approximately 20-25% of the workforce teleworks at some frequency. 80-90% of the US workforce also says that they would like to telework at some frequency. Fortune 1000 companies are aware of these changes and are entirely revamping their space around the fact that employees are already mobile and want to continue in that way. As a small business owner, it is important to understand these types of workforce trends in an effort to attract loyal and efficient employees.

The questions is– how do you transition your company to be inclusive of a telework policy? Follow these simple rules:

Create clear and concise guidelines

It is important to visualize and verbalize how teleworking will work for your company. HRinMotion, LLC can create a written guide and update your HR manual to reflect the changes and expectations of the new telework policy. In the guide, all potential issues such as attendance and productivity will be addressed and expressed verbally to old and new employees.

Get the right technology

Very busy young architect working at homeCommunication and access are key to making a telework environment work for both employees and employers. There should be an established platform that supports a “free flow” of communication between employees. Skype and Google chat are free instant messaging services that many businesses use; in addition to the phone, instant messaging can be used as a quick way for colleagues to communicate if they have a quick question and can be also used to measure productivity and attendance. If your employees need to access e-files or programs you should also consider investing in remote access file sharing solutions like Cisco or Citrix.

Communicate with current employees

Many small business owners make the mistake of not addressing workplace changes beyond an email memorandum. Implementing a telework policy is a major work environment change and should be addressed by hosting an all-personnel meeting which will allow employees to ask questions and have open dialogue.

Another caveat is that in the past, many companies have initially implemented teleworking policies based on the needs of one employee. Office gossip and assumptions can become a breeding ground for resentment if current employees feel that a privilege that has not been offered to them in the past is now being offered to a new employee. When you schedule your meeting, address these concerns head-on and remind all employees that teleworking is a privilege. Be sure to provide an updated HR manual to each employee as well.

If you’re more of a traditional professional, don’t be afraid to embrace new norms of the workplace. Teleworking, when done right, can save your business money and produce happier employees and those are major components to running a successful business.