How often have you found yourself daydreaming in the office about being able to work from the comfort of your own home? Maybe your life would be a bit less busy if you could partially eliminate your lengthy commute to work each day. You might have some recent additional responsibilities that would be easier to handle if you could work from home. Whatever your motivation for wanting to transition to working from home, this blog will share some tips for both you and your employer to make the conversation and transition as smooth as possible.
The Recent Rise of Working from Home
With the COVID-19 pandemic, many workplaces were forced to pivot and implement work-from-home policies to keep their businesses running. Some businesses saw an improvement in overall work performance by allowing employees to continue working in their homes, while others have begun to encourage employees to come back to the physical office workplace. Others have allowed their employees to adopt a hybrid or flexible schedule allowing employees to still work from home for part of their work week. And other businesses have continued to whole-heartedly encourage employees to keep working from home as they have seen an overall positive impact on both their employees’ wellbeing and in the quality of the work being done.
Not all work can be done from home; however, think about if the work you do can be completed successfully outside of your workplace. If some of it can be done at home, make a list of what you would still need to do in the office and weigh if, logistically, it makes sense to work from home some of the time. Chat with your supervisor or employer to learn what their policies are regarding working from home. The information they give you can help you navigate the transition more smoothly as you understand what’s expected.
Work with your Employer
Talk with your employer and/or direct supervisor to discuss the option of working from home. Meet with them in person and keep an open line of communication about why you’re interested in working from home and how it could benefit both the work you do and the overall success of the business.
Before meeting with your employer, make a list of your current responsibilities at work. Refer to your original scope of work from when you were hired and outline the work you’re currently doing. As you spend more time in the job or role you’ll likely have fewer or additional tasks as the business changes. Include everything – even the minor tasks you do while in the office on an average workday. If your workload changes a lot during the year – think having a busy season for a few months with additional work outside the norm from the rest of the year – make sure to include what additional work or tasks you take on during the busier part of your work year.
Highlight the benefits of working at home – for you it could mean additional focus thanks to less distractions from co-workers or clients coming into the office, etc.
Work with your Employees
As an employer, supporting your employees as they transition to working from home or who are already working from home is key. One important step to take is ensuring documentation is in place. Work with your company’s HR team, legal team, accountant, and others to make sure company policy and paperwork include and cover employees working from home – either in a hybrid or full time compacity. Having a clear remote work policy is important for ensuring that you and your employees are on the same page in understanding what standards of work they are still expected to meet and what policies are in place for supporting those employees. Some things to include are:
- How time and deliverables are tracked
- Which software applications and tools are to be used (I.e., for collaboration, security/safety, meetings, hours, etc.)
- Availability requirements and specifics regarding what working hours are (a set start and end time or a set number of work hours to be completed in a day)
There are others that could be included but work with your team to make a plan specific to your company and employees.
Communicate your expectations for employees working from home and assist them in setting realistic and clear goals for work while remote. Check-in with your remote working employees to both keep the lines of communication open but also to be there as a support for them as they continue to grow and learn new skills in the workforce. Check-in to see if there are supplies or software programs they need to continue to be successful employees outside of the office space. Each employee’s needs will be different, but communicating through the transition makes the process easier for all parties involved.
Other Things to Consider
Working from home may not be the best fit for everyone. Spend time considering if you will enjoy working from home. Maybe you are more social and enjoy the energy of working around other employees in a shared space. Maybe you actually focus better around others rather than on your own. Potentially working from home would give you more freedom to achieve growth at work and be present with your family.
Improvements in technology and internet services have made home offices more efficient. Communication with your supervisor or boss, and coworkers in the physical office location are a lot easier now than they have been in the past. You’re able to have meetings and still collaborate on projects while in different locations. This could make the transition to working from home easier – knowing you’ll still be connected to those in the office.
If you’re not ready to fully commit from working from home or are unsure if fully working from home is the best fit for your work, hybrid work could be another option. Working some days in the physical workplace and the rest of the days at home could allow you that flexibility you may be seeking.
Want More Information?
While working from home can be a huge benefit, there are some tax implications to consider as well. Keep an eye out for our next blog, which will give you tools to ensure your records accurately reflect the work you’re doing at home and how it could affect your taxes.
Are you looking for more information? A good article to read is this one from Indeed, but there are plenty of trustworthy articles out there to read and learn from. Plus, you can reach out to our team to chat about what tax considerations you should weigh as you work from home. Give us a call at (703) 912-7862, send us an email or schedule a meeting.