Friday Dec 02, 2022

Employers are setting rules on home offices. Yes, the one in your home. – TechRepublic


Image: GettyImages/Alexander Spatari

Halfway through year two of remote work at scale, companies are implementing more stringent policies about remote setups and network security. Over the last year, the line between work and personal life has blurred and the latest home workspace policies further muddy the waters. While there are legalities and injury claim concerns at play, employers may need to ensure they are on the same page as their employees or risk losing their top talent.

SEE: IT expense reimbursement policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Execs and employees are not seeing eye to eye

Earlier this month, Gartner published a report outlining a number of “gaps” in perception among company leaders and employees regarding the “future employee experience.” The findings detail a number of areas where employee sentiment about work operations and communication are not aligned with executive perceptions.

Overall, 66% of employees felt they had the required technology to “effectively work remotely,” compared to the vast majority of executives (80%). Similarly, 76% of executives felt as though the company has “invested in providing them with resources that allow them to work the way they would onsite in a virtual environment,” yet only 59% of employees agreed with this.

Additionally, 50% agreed that company leadership has “expressed a preference for work conditions to return to their pre-pandemic model,” compared to 71% of respondent executives,

These figures illustrate rather marked divides between these two groups. So, what are some of the reasons to explain this?

“The simplest answer is that workers have different needs from executives – and I might go as far as saying that they have greater needs than executives, as [it] relates specifically to the resources that enable them to work from home productively – and these needs might not be fully understood by employers yet,” said Alexia Cambon, research director in the Gartner HR practice.

While there are a number of potential factors behind this disconnect, financial considerations could also be at play. Compared to executives, Cambon explained that junior-level employees are “less likely to have the financial means to set up a productive home office.” Similarly, she made note of child care provisions that may be less readily available to non-executive employees.

There could also be various internalizations and perspective differences at play. For example, Cambon said that a “resource that allows [people] to work as they would onsite in a virtual environment” could have two very different meanings for employees and executives: Situationally, this resource might mean translate as a “nanny” for entry-level employees, while it could be interpreted as an extra monitor to executives, she added.

“The difference between these two needs is stark and this variation is causing significant challenges for organizations who are trying to funnel investments in an equitable way,” Cambon said.

More about CXO

Home office policy and legal concerns

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the shift  to remote work, the initial focus for many companies was ensuring business continuity. Entering year two of remote work, organizations are starting to establish rules for home office setups. While company rules regarding the appearance and functionality of spaces inside their own homes may seem intrusive, there are legalities and insurance concerns to bear in mind.

“Suppose an employee with a desk and computer in the corner of their bedroom trips on a mess of cables and smacks their head against the stair rail. If that happened in …….


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