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Remote Work at Nonprofits

Updated: Jul 4

Because nonprofits tend to work on thin margins, many of them decided that the office was an unnecessary luxury years before the pandemic lockdowns. As early as 2016, a BizTech report said that 43% of nonprofits had a telecommuting policy. For some companies, it was a policy kept in place in case of a weather emergency or an employee with a logistical problem. But some nonprofits had already decided to go fully remote before COVID-19 forced their hands. From the business's perspective, it made sense; why pay for office space, computers and equipment when employees can do the same work from their home laptops in their home offices?

A woman working remotely, sitting on a white couch in a living room with a small dog

From the perspective of employees, however, working from home is a mixed blessing. Some don't miss the commute at all and appreciate having the extra time and flexibility to deal with child care and elder care responsibilities. Others feel isolated. A recent Business Insider survey showed that 41% of workers want to stay fully remote, but 22% want to work remotely only one day a week or less. The rest want some other part-remote arrangement. This is a big change from Business Insider's January 2021 survey, in which only 29% of workers wanted to be fully remote.

Plan for a successful transition

If you're considering going remote for the long term, here are some things to consider:

  • Provide enough technical support. Make sure all staff has encrypted access to all necessary files and databases. Remember that not every employee is a digital native. Make processes like VPN setup part of the onboarding process. No matter the size of your organization, having an experienced IT professional is now nonnegotiable.

  • Treat employees equally. If you have a remote team and an in-person team, make sure they have the same opportunities. Don't offer mentorship and guidance to your in-person team only.

  • Make long-term planning a priority. If you've been putting off the decision of whether to go remote due to pandemic uncertainty, your final decision is a good opportunity to make a long-term business plan. Take stock of the new normal and what your new business model means for the future.

Going fully remote may be the right choice for your company, but it shouldn't be as simple as telling your employees not to come in tomorrow. FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Workforce Solutions can help your organization make a long-term plan, talk to your employees and make sure you're providing the right support for everyone.

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