This webinar is available on-demand below.

Top 10 Tips to Make 'Working From Home' Actually Work


In today’s workplace, it’s a safe bet you’ll find employees working somewhere other than company headquarters. The modern office isn’t an office at all—remote work has become the new normal.

Whether you call it telecommuting or just working from home, a study conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management showed that by 2020, nearly half of the workforce will be doing it. So how do HR teams continue to drive engagement, productivity, and culture in this new era of work? This webinar will dive into how teams can keep pace and craft HR policies and strategies that quite literally hit home.

Q&A From The Live Webinar

If an organization doesn't have a remote work plan or strategy, what steps should we take to develop one? The first step in building out a remote work plan is determining the ideal structure of remote work. Consider the following: Are you looking to implement a flexible work benefit allowing people to work from home when they need to? Are you bringing in partial remote employees who may work from home a few days a week? Or are you transitioning headquarter staff to remote locations? How you approach a remote work strategy can be vastly different depending on the structure. Once the foundation for the plan is set in stone, a case can be brought to upper management to further build a strategy.

Do you have recommendations on training resources for management in handling a remote workforce? After surveying the Namely HR team, Remote by Jason Fried was a common answer. In his book, Fried, co-founder of Basecamp, discusses why remote work is a feasible option for companies of all sizes, how to jumpstart your remote work program, and how to manage teams of both remote and on-site staff.

How do you address storage and retention of files in a 100% remote work setting? Looking at cloud-based options would be a great start in sharing and retaining large files amongst employees. Dropbox and Google Drive, for example, are two cloud-based tools that offer file hosting and secure sharing of documents.

Is there a good blog post or resource about out of state of remote work? Namely covers the hot topic of remote work quite frequently on our blog. Check out our 3 Tips for Opening a Remote Office and 5 Tips for a Successful Telecommuting Policy.

How do you continue to foster an environment of collaboration when people are not in one room where they can brainstorm and collaborate together in-person. There are a ton of resources out there to help teams brainstorm and collaborate despite being in different locations. If you’re looking for a free option, Google Drive is a great place to start. Confluence, Trello, and Basecamp are popular collaboration tools to organize ideas, discussions, and projects amongst multiple employees.

How do you measure productivity of remote workers? As productivity can be hard to measure when a remote employee is not on-site, try measuring an employee’s impact, instead. This will vary not only from organization to organization but amongst teams, as well. Leaders are tasked with outlining a set of standards to determine how you know that someone is having an impact. For example, this can be organizational KPIs, team milestones, individual objectives, or a combination of standards.

Do you find, as a manager, that software detecting when your remote workers are online are necessary to the management of your remote employees? This is a tricky one - as a manager finding a balance between ensuring employee productivity without micromanaging can be tough. Managers want to be sure that remote work is shown to be supported and trust plays a large role in this. If there is a need to verify a remote employee’s daily tasks, iDoneThis is a great app to consider. The tool allows employees to provide daily updates at the end of each work day including a list of tasks completed. The next morning, managers automatically receive a report compiling the previous day’s work completed by all employees.

How can we make sure that non-remote employees don’t build resentment toward remote workers? To start, ensure that non-remote employees understand why remote workers are working remotely. If there is a specific business reason, ensure that the organization is transparent in disclosing this to non-remote employees. If remote work is a benefit or perk, make it clear that remote work is supported for all employees. Creating an even playing field and setting standards from the beginning can eliminate resentment.

Strategies for I-9 compliance? For example, remote workers presenting their list A/B/C documents. At Namely, we use E-Verify for I-9 form verification. The system allows employers to identify the employment eligibility of new hires completely electronically. Namely’s paperless onboarding solution makes this process extremely seamless!

We have one employee that works remotely, and four in our office.  I find it hard to always remember to communicate office conversations. Do you have any tips for helping keep that flow of information open? Communication is the key to success in any work environment, but even more so with a work from home arrangement. Slack is a tool used frequently here at Namely. After a meeting or important conversation, try sending a quick slack message. The remote worker may not be available at that very moment, however, they will not miss the information provided. If your team does not have access to slack, a quick email will do the trick. Making steady communication a habit rather than an option can go a long way!

What technology did you use to video conference your speakers today?  That worked very well - no visual delays. Glad to hear the webinar visuals were smooth - we utilized our partner Zoom’s video conferencing technology!

How would you track hourly employee’s time.  Do they just fill out a paper timesheet and it is on trust bases? Time tracking can be handled in a variety of ways. Namely’s platform allows both managers and employees (especially significant for remote employees!) to configure time off plans and manage requests easily. Our time management solution further provides a tool to manage hourly workforces via timesheets, hard clocks, or our cloud-based system. If you’re looking for a way to manage an employee’s tasks during work hours, iDoneThis allows employees to provide daily updates at the end of each work day including a list of tasks completed. The next morning, managers automatically receive a report compiling the previous day’s work completed by all employees.

How do you cope with the time difference for working remotely? Flexibility is key! As a remote worker and manager overseeing a remote workforce, the expectation should be set that flexibility of schedules will have to come to play in order to make a remote policy work. As a manger, you certainly want to be mindful of scheduling important meetings at “odd hours”, considering remote workers, as well. However, non-traditional hours are required at times to get the job done, as long as labor standards are continuously kept in mind!