I recently came across a forum post about an owner wanting to do away with the office and have his employees and him work from home. He wanted to transition to be as seamless as possible so that even though everyone is working at home, it will still be as easy as if everyone were in the same space. Luckily technology has enabled companies to have this type of lifestyle. I know for a fact that WordPress employees are from all over the world with no office locations.
Although this is a dream for many employees, there are many considerations that need to be taken into account.
How do you manage customer calls?
Usually if you are in an office, when a customer calls, you can easily transfer the call from one person to another since all the phones are on the same system. Unfortunately, it won’t be so simple if employees work from home. Luckily there are Virtual Switchboard services that can allow the management of incoming customer calls without any hardware or software to install. For example, if you have a customer call your office phone number the virtual switchboard will route the call to landlines and mobile phones based on your specifications, that’s pretty nifty for people that work at home or are on the go. With this type of technology, you can have people from all over the world answering incoming calls.
How do you manage employee communication?
When you are at an office you can just walk over to someone or shout across the hallway to schedule a meeting or talk about daily tasks. When you work at home, you are dependent on technology. Tools such as Skype, AIM, Conference Calling services and of course emails. These services allow you to conduct distance group meetings and allow you to keep in constant contact with your employees.
How do you ensure the same work ethic will be applied at one’s home?
This is probably the most difficult transition from working in the office to working at home. How to ensure your employees are working, having constant communication is always the key but also milestones for projects so that the employees. Of course use your best judgment when managing your employees from a distance. The increased freedom usually makes them more efficient when working at home.
There are many more considerations to take into account but I felt these three were the most important considerations. Do you have any that you feel should be included in the list? How would you implement a working at home company culture?