In the last several months, working from home has become a popular way to work due to the spread of Covid-19. Every company is now having to adapt to this new, virtual way of work and life. To help employees get going with working from home, your company must have a well-designed remote work policy.
In the traditional work world, employees show up to a shared physical office. They complete their workday before heading home at the end of the day.
Working remotely has existed on the edges for years. In today’s post-COVID approach to work, remote work has soared in popularity.
Between in-office and remote work, which is best for your company? Are there other ways to work? Are some work policies more productive or better for work culture?
In this article, we will learn about various work policies for ways to work. These include:
- Co-located work policy
- In-office work policy
- Field work policy
- Hybrid work policy
- Remote work policy
- Work from home (WFH) policy
- Nomadic work policy
Let’s go over each work policy, along with the pros and cons for each one.
1. Co-Located Work Policy
Co-located teams work in a single shared office space. This is common for small or local businesses with a small workforce. They only need to rent out a single office building to serve as a base of operations.
A remote work policy could be applied to co-located work if the team is split across two floors of the same building.
Co-Located Work Pros
- Consistent Scheduling : Since everyone is in the same location at the same time, it’s never a struggle to get a hold of someone or call an impromptu team meeting.
- Co-Worker Camaraderie : It’s easier to get to know our co-workers when we see and interact with them every day. Striking up a conversation in the hall or break-room can connect the team and boost office morale. It’s also easy to plan team-building activities, such as going out to a company-comped team lunch or a fun bowling night.
Co-Located Work Cons
- Limited Workforce: When the entire team is limited to working in a single office, co-located companies may struggle to scale their team size as the business grows. Keeping a co-location policy may require the team to move into a larger office every few years. This causes disruption and a temporary stall in productivity.
- Limited Hiring Reach: For the most part, co-located companies can only hire within their local area, which heavily restricts the available talent pool. Non-local talent will need more convincing to uproot their lives and move for the job.
- Longer Commutes: The daily commute can be a downside to any in-office job, especially when the business is limited to a single location. In large cities, employees who live across town may have to deal with a long daily commute. This eats into large portions of their day.
2. In-Office Work Policy
In-office working policies require employees to be physically present at the office.
The company might have several office buildings across the country, requiring some remote communication between branches and a remote work policy to cater for sharing of work.
However, for the most part, employees work in person at one or more shared locations.
In-Office Work Pros
- Easier Communication : If you have a quick question, you only need to pop over to someone’s desk for an answer. There’s no need to type out a lengthy email and clutter their inbox with something simple! It’s also easy to call together a quick huddle or impromptu team meeting.
- Co-Worker Camaraderie : Co-workers don’t need to go out of their way to build team bonds since everyone interacts daily. Catching lunch in the break room together or huddling around a whiteboard can help the team get to know each other. That way, they build stronger professional relationships.
In-Office Work Cons
- Work-Life Balance : Dedicating a solid 8-or-9-hour block (not including commute time) adds an extra challenge for employees trying to balance other priorities in their life. Whether it’s childcare, a dentist appointment, or a quick errand before the store closes, employees have lives and responsibilities outside of their office job.
- More Interruptions : While popping in for a quick question is great for the person asking, it can also distract someone trying to focus on work. Employees cannot disconnect for a while to focus on a task and may be less productive as a result.
- Employee Safety : In a world still dealing with COVID and its variants, some individuals might not feel safe or comfortable in public due to health concerns.
3. Field Work Policy
Many trade-oriented professionals such as construction workers, electricians, and maintenance workers spend their day “in the field.”
While these workers likely have a central office where they manage paperwork or store supplies, most of their day is spent out and about at construction sites, personal residences, and other office buildings.
That said, digital field work has become a common aspect of field work today. A remote work policy can be applied in this case. It involves collection of data digitally from the internet without leaving your office.
Field Work Pros
- Personal Touch : Something about physically shaking a client’s hand can go a long way in building a professional relationship. White-collar workers, especially sales teams, can incorporate a touch of “in the field” work by meeting clients in person.
- Direct Experience with Clients : Fieldwork can provide direct insight compared to second-hand market research. Employees get to see, analyze, and solve problems first-hand instead of asking clients to explain a situation they’re already struggling with.
- Communication : Meeting clients face-to-face is different from a phone call or email. Working in the field gives employees a chance to hone their verbal communication and body language to make clients feel more at ease.
Field Work Cons
- Varying Commutes : When visiting clients in person, gas prices and travel time are inevitable business costs. Since the location may change daily, employees spend a lot of time on the road and driving through unfamiliar streets.
- Unknown Working Environment : As the job location changes daily, workers don’t always know what they’re getting themselves into. Unlike a clean, air-conditioned office space, a client’s work site may be dirty and dangerous.
4. Hybrid Work Policy
Hybrid working policies allow employees to work both remotely and in-office. This often means the employees can choose to work in-office some days and remotely other days.
The 3-2-2 split is one standard hybrid work policy. It stands for 3 days in the office, 2 days working remotely, and 2 days off for the weekend.
Hybrid Work Pros
- Flexible Work-Life Balance : Allowing employees to work a few days from home gives them more control of their time and comfort. Employees save time, money, and perhaps a few minutes of sleep without commuting. They can enjoy home-cooked lunches and other small things that just aren’t possible during an in-office workday.
- Co-Worker Camaraderie : Since employees still have some time together in the office, they can chat in the halls, get to know each other, and build company culture and camaraderie.
- Attractive Benefit : In today’s job market, the flexibility of a hybrid work policy is in high demand! Companies that offer hybrid or remote work opportunities can attract better talent when recruiting.
Hybrid Work Cons
- Scheduling Challenges : Coordinating everyone’s schedules may be the biggest challenge to a hybrid work method. When employees work both in-office and at home, it might be harder to track down where they’ll be on a given day.
To avoid this, set some expectations around the policy. Can employees choose their WFH days as needed, or will they work from home on a set schedule (i.e., every Monday and Tuesday)? Will every employee have the same set WFH days so you can schedule in-office meetings together?
5. Remote Work Policy
Remote teams are fully remote. They work from various locations around the globe. Geography is no longer a factor when hiring.
Companies may cover expenses for employees in similar locations to work from a shared co-working space. However, their reporting and mode of communication is entirely remote.
Remote Work Pros
- Large Workforce : Since remote teams are less limited by office space, they can support a larger workforce. There’s no need to support multiple offices or move every few years as the business scales.
- Recruit Better Talent : Remote teams can recruit globally, allowing them to reach better, more experienced talent. A business can reach more candidates to fill job openings since they can cast a wider net.
- Attractive Benefit : Remote opportunities are highly desirable to many job seekers, allowing recruiters to draw more interest in job postings.
Remote Work Cons
- Schedule Coordination : Remote teams can easily span multiple cities, states, and even countries. It can be an added challenge to coordinate meetings and schedules, especially across time zones.
- More Required Tools : Remote employees need the proper tools and software to communicate efficiently and stay on the same page. This can include software for video calling, instant messaging, task management, scheduling, screen recording, and more.
- Management Changes : There are more challenges and opportunities for mistakes when managing remote teams. For example, managers must trust remote workers to be productive without constant supervision.
6. Work from Home (WFH) Policy
In the post-COVID world, working from the safety and comfort of one’s own home has become popular. Several companies now require employees to work from home exclusively.
This necessitates for a remote work policy to be adopted to guide the team on dos and don’ts around the WFH way of work.
Work From Home Pros
- Flexible Work-Life Balance : Like remote and hybrid work styles, WFH allows employees to enjoy a more flexible work-life balance. They can cook a meal for their child or let the plumber in for a scheduled repair without taking huge chunks out of their day to commute.
- Higher Productivity : Depending on an individual’s home situation, many feel like they get more done at home versus in an office. In-office discomforts, like glaring fluorescent lights or frigid AC, are not a concern when working from home. Employees are also less likely to get interrupted by co-worker questions or requests. That’s because they can no longer stop by the desk to demand an immediate response. Studies support it, too—work from home tends to increase productivity.
- Attractive Benefit : With the rise in popularity of WFH, more job seekers than ever want the option to work remotely or from home—either exclusively or on occasion. Allowing this option helps recruiters attract more candidates for job openings.
- Save on Office Space : Fully remote or from-home companies can save drastic amounts of money on overhead since they do not need to rent out an office space for workers.
Work From Home Cons
- More Distractions : While working from home can positively affect productivity, it could also have a negative impact. The home is filled with distractions, such as children, games, DIY projects, and pets. Employees working from home need to structure their day, manage their time, and practice productivity habits to stay successful.
- Company Culture : Less face time with co-workers could impact culture and camaraderie within the team. Companies can avoid this by creating virtual events and activities or scheduling occasional in-person meetings so everyone can spend time together.
7. Nomadic Work Policy
One of the lesser-known ways to work is the nomad lifestyle. These individuals, including world travelers, journalists, salespeople, and truckers, are always on the move. Their work can easily take them to different states or countries on a day-to-day basis.
Unlike remote workers, who have roots in their city even if it’s far from the company HQ, nomads might not have much of a home base or office to report to regularly.
Nomadic Work Pros
- Change of Scenery : While it’s not “vacation,” experiencing new sights, cultures, and locations can be refreshing and inspiring, leading to innovation and creativity at work. The change of scenery gives workers a fresh, open-minded perspective of the world. Even if your company doesn’t fit the nomad lifestyle, occasionally sending employees across the country to attend trade shows and conferences can shake them from the rut of the daily grind. This helps them avoid burnout.
- Practice Adaptability : Nomads encounter new scenarios in unfamiliar locations on a regular basis. They must learn how to think on their feet and adapt to a changing environment to work efficiently.
Nomadic Work Cons
- Extra Coordination : The logistics of a nomad work style can lead to major headaches. All the travel means additional coordination to book flights, rent cars, schedule plane flights, and more.
- Exhausting : With jet lag, travel time cramped in cars or planes, and the constant need to pack and unpack, too much travel might be exhausting. While the change of scenery is exhilarating and refreshing, sometimes it’s nice to anchor down for a while and get your feet under you.
Based on how your company sets its remote work policy, the setup can fail or succeed, improve employee productivity, or harm it.
It all depends on your company culture, management approach, technology, and whether or not your communication keeps everyone on the same page.
There’s a lot of overlap between the work policies we listed. You can always adopt a blend of methods and adjust based on what works best.
If you are considering a change to your company’s work location policies, ask your team for their thoughts and opinions on the matter.
You may find that some employees are thrilled by the opportunity to work from home. In contrast, others may prefer to drive into the office every morning.
No matter what you decide, communication is the key to success in any business. Equip your team with the tools and technology they need to adapt to an increasingly digital world.
Screen capture software like Zight (formerly CloudApp) makes it a piece of cake to capture snips and screen recordings, make annotations, and share with clients or co-workers—all in one quick, streamlined process! Get a demo today and see for yourself how life is faster in the cloud.