For today, this blog is going to go somewhat off script. Normally, we post about industry education, best practices, patient care, and operational strategies to make home care, home health, and hospice agencies thrive. However, since the beginning of nationwide quarantine efforts, we have seen more employers allow employees to work from home than in the past. Now we are going to take a look at what effect that has for employers down the road.
The New “Office”:
With employers enabling employee homes with the necessary items for work, the office looks very different. Employees swap business attire for shorts and t-shirts. Breaks include a quick walk of the family dog or time on your own deck getting a little midday sunshine. For many employees, working from home has been a blessing. Many will boast little distractions that allow productivity levels in overall less time than if they were in the office. Suddenly, there are not multiple phones ringing all around the employee or interruptions with people randomly walking into their offices. Plus, you eliminate workplace dynamics that potentially keep the employee from being efficient. This has led many employers to question what type of brick and mortar presence is needed to run their businesses. Employers may decide a small office footprint will save costs if more work from home. If there are many who work well at home, then we also know there are those who do not perform within expectations.
Employers may find it tough to monitor the actual amount of time the employee is working and it is difficult to monitor if deadlines are met without the level of contact the employer is used to. Some employees do not answer phones when called by the employer and productivity actually decreases. The bottom line is that not everyone will maintain productivity without adequate supervision. So, now that employers are bringing people back to the office, they are up against resistance from those employees who want to continue working from home.
What Is Your Next Step?
Well, now you might feel stuck. There are those employees who could continue working from home and those that definitely need to be in-house. Here are some steps to consider as you move into the new normal:
- Make A Decision On Whether You Will Allow Positions To Continue Working From Home: This doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing decision. You need to make the decision within the administrative team. You may decide you have trustworthy employees who meet deadlines and are accountable enough to continue from home. You may want to make certain positions be remote long term. You may meet resistance if there are others that want to do the same but have not exhibited the same productivity while at home. Back up your reasons for either decision.
- Consider What The Resistance Is To Coming Back To The Office: When employees began working from home, employers did not communicate this to be a permanent. However, there are many people out there with a true panic and fear of the virus. After months of media and reports talking about the risks of death with contact, it shouldn’t be surprising for some employees to communicate a fear of being around others. Considering that we are in the healthcare industry, non-clinical people are watching nurses, aides and therapists who have been around sick patients come into the office. Fear causes real anxiety.
- Make Guidelines For Those Working From Home: Do you expect them up and working at the computer from 8-5 with designated breaks or are they allowed flexibility as long as they put in the time? Do they need to notify a supervisor when they take a lunch break? Make sure your expectations are clear to avoid issues once you have made a decision. You may want to consider a partial return to office working arrangement. Maybe the expectation will be 3 days in the office and 2 working from home. It really becomes important to decide whether a type of compromise allows you to keep a good employee longer if the job satisfaction improves.
Working To Help In Transitional Times:
At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we understand that employers are working to help improve job satisfaction and employee retention while maintaining efficiency and productivity from office staff. We are here to help you work through changes within your home care practice. Call us today at 206-721-5091 or contact us online to see how we can help you with operations, clinical practice, or coding.