Young business man hands writing notesHow do you feel about remote work? Research shows that telecommuting has numerous benefits to employers (such as more productive and engaged workers) and employees (less time and cost involved in commuting and greater work-life balance). Yet Gallup research suggests that telecommuting yields the most benefits to employees and employers when workers do not spend 100 percent of their time at home. Does this surprise you?

Gallup studies show that employees often are more engaged when they spend at least some of the workweek working remotely and the other part working in a location with their coworkers. Any amount of time the employee spends at the office helps, even if it’s minimal. The optimal engagement boost, according to Gallup, occurs when employees spend between 60-80 percent of their workweek working off-site and 20-40 percent at the office. Something to keep in mind after the coronavirus outbreak ends.

Why is this the case? There are numerous factors that come into play. One important one is the out-of-sight-out-of-mind issue. Numerous studies show that telecommuting workers on average are as productive or even more productive than employees who work in the office and who have long commutes and greater distractions to deal with. But when an employee is in the same office as their manager, it’s easier for the manager to see and recognize achievements, according to Gallup. When the manager and employees are in different locations, there are fewer opportunities for this to occur. That can leave telecommuting workers feeling undervalued and less engaged. Managers need to make sure they are celebrating the successes of — and offering advancement opportunities to — both in-office workers and telecommuters.

Another reason why a 100 percent telecommuting plan is not always ideal is that fully remote workers do not get that opportunity to connect with their co-workers, which can lead to feelings of isolation. Human beings crave connection with others. Employees form bonds with other employees in office break rooms, lunchrooms and at the water cooler and coffee pot. Even small amounts of face time with co-workers and managers can help increase the odds that an employee’s telecommuting efforts are successful for everyone involved.

Manager working online while sitting in a warehouse officeYour small business is growing fast. Do you have a plan in place to manage the added risk that comes with more customers and more employees? There’s nothing quite like an on-the-job accident, a careless mistake or a legal claim to create hardship for even the most successful companies.

Here are some steps you can take to help keep your risks under control:

Get it in writing. Many small businesses operate without written contracts. But as you grow, informal agreements can lead to legal claims and lawsuits. Contracts that detail the type of work your company will provide to customers, the timeline the work should be completed and the fees that will be charged are crucial. Communicate regularly with clients and provide updates on important projects.

Make it easy for customers to reach you. Do you make it easy for customers to reach someone at your company when they are unhappy? The longer it takes to resolve a problem, the greater the likelihood a customer may resort to a legal claim. Immediately address any problems. It’s also always a good idea to document your interaction with customers.

Set up policies. As a business owner, you’re responsible for setting the policies under which employees must do their jobs. Creating company policies, including those involving safety or human resources, isn’t fun. But without them, you could face greater liability when something goes wrong. In a number of growing companies, for example, employees are engaging in risky activities – such as texting while driving. If an employee who is texting is involved in an accident, it could be argued that the employer didn’t do enough – or anything at all – to prevent employees from driving dangerously. That’s why you should clearly state what is acceptable on-the-job behavior and what isn’t.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Sure, you want to make sure a competitor doesn’t get the big contract. But take extra care anytime you make promises you may not be able to keep. Make sure you think about all of the things that are out of your control or could go wrong before promising work will be completed in a particular way or on a specific date.

Make sure your business is properly insured. Some small companies skip important coverages, such as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, to save money. But some types of insurance are much too important to skip. For example, many businesses don’t carry enough liability coverage, leaving them vulnerable to costly lawsuits. Others don’t realize that their basic business policies don’t cover all types of adverse actions and situations.

The average insurance broker meets your basic needs when it comes to claims, plans and renewal negotiation. But what about new exposures like cyber-attacks and changes in legislation? At Accurate Protection, we understand the challenges and risks that today’s employers face, and we can help you make sure your business is protected. Give us a call to learn more about our innovative and comprehensive approach to risk management: (404) 907-2121 x701.