Creating a Remote Work Policy for Your Behavioral Healthcare Team
The pandemic has caused your behavioral health practice to go remote. You have years of experience managing employees, but this is the first time you’ve ever led a remote team. While you trust your employees, you want to create a policy for remote work that ensures everyone is on the same page.
Since your behavioral health team is new to remote work, creating a sense of structure in the form of a written policy is very important. This sets the tone for success because it eliminates any gray area. No two facilities will have the same policy, but here’s a few key topics that should always be included.
Let your team know what you expect in terms of when they should be working. This could involve holding standard work hours—just from home—or simply working a certain number of hours per day. Conversely, you might also require people to be logged in at set times for team meetings, but otherwise, allow them to work at their leisure. Figuring this out is important because employees will need to structure their lives around their work commitments.
Remote work means you can’t call everyone into a conference room for a meeting or stop by an employee’s office to chat. Therefore, it’s important to set ground rules for communication, so your team doesn’t get out of sync with one another. Define a standard response time for messages—i.e., emails, voicemails, and texts—so people understand how quickly they need to return them.
It’s also a good idea to invest in chat programs and video conferencing tools that make it easy for your team to stay in touch. For example, you might require employees to stay logged into Slack throughout their workday and use Zoom for team meetings, to maintain a sense of face-to-face communication.
At first glance, having a dress code for your remote team might seem laughable. However, if employees are meeting with patients, you might consider implementing a dress code for these occasions. This will ensure they maintain a professional look, while working outside the office. While most likely would anyway, it’s always wise to be proactive with your expectations.
It’s almost inevitable that your company paid for all the equipment employees needed to work in the office. Now you’ll need to decide which, if any, of their expenses you’ll pay for to work remotely. For example, you might buy them laptops, cell phones, and pay for some or all of their Internet expenses. This will be especially pertinent if people cannot use their personal devices—i.e., anyone who uses the phone to communicate will likely need a work cell phone, because they shouldn’t be expected to give out their personal number.
Some companies also give employees a budget to set up a home office. If you can afford it, this is a nice perk, as it allows people to create a comfortable workspace that fits their home.
Expanding your remote team can be a challenge, but you don’t have to manage the process on your own. To learn more about how we can help you find top behavioral health talent, contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.