The digital workspace has revolutionised how we approach work, offering unparalleled flexibility and challenging traditional office norms. A notable advantage is the increased work-life balance it offers, as employees can adjust their schedules to fit personal commitments. On the flip side, it can blur the lines between work and personal life, leading to longer hours and potential burnout. Interestingly, a growing number of companies are adopting digital workspace. A recent survey by Gartner revealed that 74% of companies plan to permanently shift to more remote work post-COVID-19, while a survey conducted in 2022 by FlexJobs revealed that 97% of workers desire some form of remote work.
Corporate policies serve as the backbone of remote work structures, outlining the expectations and legalities of this new mode of operation. These policies are often comprehensive, covering a broad spectrum of topics to ensure clarity and compliance.
Companies often stipulate core hours during which all employees should be available, regardless of their time zone. This ensures that teams can collaborate effectively and that meetings can be scheduled with predictability. Beyond these core hours, employees may have the flexibility to complete their tasks at times that suit them best, provided they meet deadlines and maintain productivity.
Clear guidelines are set for communication, including the preferred platforms and the expected response times. These policies may require employees to check their email regularly during business hours, attend virtual meetings as necessary, and provide updates on their work progress. This structure is vital in a remote setting where face-to-face interactions are limited.
With the increase in cyber threats, companies have become more vigilant about data security. Remote work policies often outline the required security measures, such as VPN usage, secure Wi-Fi networks, and company-approved devices. Employees may be required to undergo regular security training to stay updated on the best practices for protecting sensitive information.
Use of Company Resources
The policies usually cover the use of company resources, emphasising that they should be used responsibly and for work-related purposes only. This includes hardware like laptops and phones, as well as software licenses. Some companies provide allowances for setting up a home office, with guidelines on how these funds should be spent.
Performance and Productivity
With remote work, assessing performance can be challenging. Hence, policies might include frameworks for setting and reviewing personal and team objectives. Productivity tools and tracking software are sometimes used, although they can be controversial and must be balanced with trust and respect for employee privacy.
While formal policies govern remote work, the non-spoken employee code of conduct is equally critical. This unwritten rule-book includes expectations for responsiveness, communication etiquette, and maintaining a professional online presence. Employees are often expected to be available during core work hours and to communicate delays proactively. Moreover, respecting virtual boundaries and avoiding digital overreach into colleagues' off-hours maintains a healthy remote work culture.
Optimising a digital workspace for remote work and flextime involves setting clear expectations and providing the necessary tools for collaboration. Recommendations include establishing core hours for all employees to be online, implementing regular check-ins for team cohesion, and providing training on digital tools. Additionally, fostering an environment that encourages breaks and disconnecting after work can prevent burnout and promote long-term productivity.