• Ratnesh Mittal

What's Your 'Work From Home' Policy?

For many years, managers have debated the pros and cons of allowing their staff to work from home. Some settled for a flexible hours policy but very few, if any, went for a mainly #WorkFromHome policy. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced a POC of WFH for all of us.

Now, it is clear - Work from Home (WFH) is here to stay! Going forward, we must be ready for a combination of some WFH and some WFO.

Office spaces are important. An organisation's unique culture is reflected clearly in the physical office. Its decor, dress code, space, tech savviness, floor chatter, commotion, the informal space, celebrations, hero boards are all markers of organisational culture demonstrated in the physical environment.

Employees join and adopt the organisation's culture from their first day. There has never been a need for a Work From Office policy because everyone understood what it meant to work for and from a given office of the company.

That is not true for the new normal, companies must define a clear WFH policy. Hitherto, office infrastructure was an equaliser. All employees got a similarly ergonomic work desk, computers, connectivity, lighting and air-conditioning. At home, the differences in infrastructure will show up in performance and also in biases against staff members from less endowed homes. Organisational intervention can help restore some of this equality at least in areas such as #ITinfrastructure and connectivity which have a large bearing on #EmployeeProductivity in the WFH setting.

Infrastructure is only one of the aspects to consider. The policy must address a number of behavioural aspects too. Business and HR leaders must contemplate, debate and articulate an organisation wide policy for Work From Home if they want to ensure a fair, enabling and productive organisation culture. Issues such as work-life balance, talent profiling, professional development, team bonding are some areas of immediate workforce anxiety. Having a policy doesn't guarantee adherence, but it tells everybody what the organisation values and is willing to invest in.

Since the pandemic struck, how we work has been determined by governments and healthcare experts. Now, business leaders need to step-up and steer their organisation's way of working. Or else, they risk losing the competitive advantage of workforce multiplier.

Tell us what you think a #WorkFromHome policy should contain.

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