How to Define Your Organization's Future Work Strategy

Over the last five weeks, many organizations pivoted into a remote work environment. Employees lugged home their desktops and monitors and grabbed the necessities off their desk. IT increased bandwidth, virtual private network security and technical support resources. Leaders implemented a new playbook to lead remotely and minimize the disruption of daily business operations. The lockdown pushed organizations to survive through remote work.


As organizations look to the future of their daily work environment, leaders must define the future state of their work environment by asking these three questions:


  1. What is your organization's future work strategy?

  2. Will you offer remote work to your employees as part of their everyday work environment?

  3. Will you offer remote work only to support your business continuity plan?


What is your organization's future work strategy?

Leaders should ask this question with a focus on the organization's mission, vision and core values. Does remote work align with the mission? Does remote work support the vision? Does remote work carry the core values? Does remote work contribute to a people-first culture?


During this conversation, the focus must remain on the future work strategy. Building a remote work strategy and program is not an easy task. It takes a taskforce of resources in IT and Human Resources. It requires leadership and cultural buy-in. It takes time. Do not let the tactical steps overwhelm or squish the conversation.


No matter what decision is made, leaders must communicate to the employees. There will likely be an entitlement or expectation to continue remote work long-term. A change management plan with strong communication objectives will provide clarity and direction for your future work strategy.


Will you offer remote work to your employees as part of their everyday work environment?

Organizations can structure a remote work program in a variety of ways. It can be flexible and fluid to meet the demands of the customers and employees. How many days a week can employees work from home? Are all jobs eligible? Are employees on performance improvement plans eligible? Are all leaders eligible?


Work from home is not a one-size-fits-all business model. It is specific to your organization's mission and future work strategy. The key is to establish a work from home policy and agreement with clear expectation. The first required document is the Remote Work Policy that outlines the expectations for the employees, technology, and work environment. The second required document is the Remote Work Agreement that states the conditions for the work arrangement and requires a signature from the employee and their manager. You can find free downloadable templates on our resource page for organizations.


Will you offer remote work only to support your business continuity plan?

Some organizations need employees in the same physical workspace to achieve their mission. Remote work every day is not viable. However, do you need remote work as an option to support your business continuity plan? In this case, it is referred to as emergency remote work.


Emergency remote work still requires a policy and agreement to set clear expectations and understanding. You can find free downloadable templates on our resource page for organizations.

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