FLORIDA SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER AT IRSC
SUCCESS FOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES
TIPS TO HELP WORKING FROM HOME A
Large and small businesses are finding
interesting ways to keep employees
engaged and feeling like they are part
of the team while they are working from
home. And amid the new reality, workers
are expressing a desire to make the
new arrangement work, even beyond the
Is remote work here to stay? The jury
is still out on what the post-COVID world
will be like, but some workers already are
asking for a permanent work from home
policy, or at least the flexibility of a hybrid
Commissioner Thomas D. Epsky of the
Florida Reemployment Assistance Appeals
Commission believes COVID-19 suddenly
forced an involuntary experiment called
remote work for much of 2020.
“As the vaccine to control COVID-19 now
moves forward, many business leaders
now have to assess whether to continue
this as a work arrangement,” Epsky said.
Indeed, even before the pandemic,
workers valued flexibility and have been
voicing their preference for remote work.
Offering it could be a competitive advantage
for small businesses that want to hire
and retain the best employees.
In a recent Gallup poll, two-thirds of
the workers surveyed said they’d like to
continue to work remotely as much as
possible once public health restrictions
are lifted. In all, 35% of those who have
worked remotely would simply prefer
to do so, while 30% would like to do so
because of a concern about COVID-19.
Another 35% said they would like to return
to working in their office.
Still, in another recent Gallup survey,
the pollster found that the percentage
of engaged workers — i.e. those who are
not only committed to their work and
workplace but are also highly involved and
enthusiastic — reached 38% during the
pandemic that’s the highest it has reached
in several years. Companies are trying everything
from sending employees lunches
to hosting virtual happy hours to let them
know they are valued.
RBB Communications in Miami has
taken this to a new level with a number
of virtual wellness activities like yoga
classes and stress management webinars.
To lighten things up, they also had a take
your pet to Zoom day.
As the pandemic stretches on, more
companies are considering continuing
with permanent or voluntary workfrom
home arrangements long after the
pandemic subsides. In addition to being
creative with Zoom sessions that encourage
engagement and team spirit, human
resource experts recommend that small
businesses follow similar protocols that
larger companies would in setting up
guidelines for permanent work from home
Set clear expectations: Clearly define
what job requirements can be performed
from home and what cannot. Set clear
expectations on which virtual meetings
they will need to participate in and, once
the physical office reopens, make clear
whether office visits will be expected and
Help employees feel comfortable: Give
employees advice and financial assistance
if possible to create efficient workspaces
with the proper technology, good lighting,
ergonomic chairs, headsets that suit their
Set clear ground rules: Set guidelines for
work hours, family time, virtual calls, etc.
Some companies provide flexibility on
working hours, but make the rules clear,
particularly around how you will communicate
and when team engagement, albeit
virtually, is required.
The tech is key: Ensure workers have
the high tech devices and high-speed
connectivity needed to perform tasks to
Security training: A work from home
situation may present cybersecurity challenges.
Make sure employees get the training
— and protocols — they need to avoid
trouble, such as by using public Wi-Fi.
Take stock: Very important — establish
how job performance will be determined
and measured and how feedback will be
Epsky sees remote work likely being part
of the future of business and cautions that
organizations forced into remote work
during the pandemic should not rush to a
Thomas Epsky has been a member of
the Florida Reemployment Assistance
Appeals Commission since 2001. Prior to
his appointment, he was the managing
partner and principal consultant in a human
resource consulting practice. He began his
career in human resource management
as a training manager for Macy’s and was
a human resource generalist at New York
State University at Stony Brook on Long
Island. He holds a bachelor’s degree from
the State University of New York as well as
a master’s degree from Barry University. He
holds professional certifications, including
the Senior Professional certificate in human
resources from the HR Certification Institute,
the Certified Professional certificate from the
Society for Human Resource Management
and the Certified Professional designation
from the International Public Management
Association for Human Resources.
dismissive this does not work verdict.
He believes the benefits of remote and
flexible work options are significant but
that, “every team is unique, and leaders
have to determine what works best for
the team.” v
This article is provided by the FBDC at IRSC,
the Small Business Development Center within
Indian River State College’s School of Business.
The center’s team of business experts works
one-on-one with hundreds of entrepreneurs
and business owners each year by providing
confidential, no-cost consulting. The center’s
mission is to help Treasure Coast businesses
grow and succeed.
BY NANCY DAHLBERG