Global Work from Home Day 2024

7 minutes read
HR Best Practices
Q&A with Paola Bottaro, People & Business Operations Director at Top Employers Institute  It is safe to say that the way we work has changed fundamentally. Today’s workforce has expanded through digital connectivity and remote collaboration. As organisations all over the world adapt to new work models, we celebrate Global Work from Home Day as the vehicle through which employees and employers celebrate the flexibility and productivity obtained through remote work.

What are some of the key benefits of working from home? 

When allowing the flexibility to work from home, organisations are creating a positive work environment for all kinds of living situations, life phases, and personal preferences, this takes out of the equation the exclusion that happens when you dictate how people should relate themselves to work. 

Inclusivity brings multiple advantages to adopting a work from home model because it benefits both the employee and the employer. Employers see a bigger pool of people who can be successful at the organisation. For professionals, an enhanced opportunity to choose how they work is offered. The added autonomy of working at home, office, or shared workspace increases their wellbeing and helps them perform better. 

Read More:  How Saint-Gobain, Capgemini and bioMérieux are Engaging Employees from a Human-Centric Perspective 


How do employees relate themselves to work? 

We see high engagement at Top Employers, even with people working from home, but we know the key is to make sure we maintain this level of engagement. We must continually gather information to develop ways to stay connected as the organisation grows. That is why we focus on the importance of creating a programme that is intentional by design.  

To create an intentional programme, we must first know the relationship between employees and their work. What should this look like? In organisations with a human-centric approach, there is the employee, then the team, then the company, and this needs to be well defined. At Top Employers Institute, we continue to develop the process of defining how the employee relates to the team and the company to offer them a journey that is aligned throughout the world. This explains how we look at variables like work location and decide what needs to be in place no matter where you work to keep high levels of engagement. 

Download Now: Navigating a Dynamic Workforce 


How do we stay connected working from home? 

Intentional connection is the key. By making connectivity a goal, we see how working from home fits into the bigger picture of how professionals work and how this shapes the employee-employer relationship.  Connection can’t be left up to chance. It must be worked into an organisation’s goals, and these goals should answer questions like what the relationship between the employees and the employer should look like. How do the employees relate to the work at hand and to the overall goals of the organisation? 

Working from home should not equal working in isolation. There should always be opportunities for employees to learn from each other and model behaviours that create the corporate culture, not in a forced way, but because they like it.  

Practical examples include: 

  • Creating an environment that promotes the exchange of information. 
  • Fostering efficient processes that support an employee’s best performance. 
  • Encouraging a sense of belonging through shared rituals like traditions or team events that improve the employee experience. 
  • Providing opportunities for employees to contribute to the company’s narrative and identity. 
  • Understanding that this is a work in progress and that growth and change are vital to creating a good programme for the employees. 


Watch More: Top Employers 2023 - Interview Hunkemöller 

What are some things to be aware of when working from home? 

Employees must have what they need to perform their role. This is not just in physical items like computers and desks but also in processes that allow for connection with colleagues and managers, including periodic connections to evaluate performance and ensure goals are being met.  

Keeping a work-life balance can sometimes be harder. One surprising fact is that many people tend to work more when working from home because they’re relaxed and forget the time. Finding the balance when working from home is an important part of why this arrangement must be intentionally planned as it is important to the employee’s wellbeing. 


How can an employee advocate for remote work accommodations? 

An employee’s work environment needs to match their own beliefs and vision to bring about the best work. It’s a very personal decision, and it won’t look the same for all employees. Our belief at Top Employers Institute is that everyone we hire is a professional and is motivated. The organisation and the employee should work as a team to make sure the employee has what they need to be successful because the motivation is already there. It’s hard to believe that providing employees with what they need to fulfil their duties doesn’t link to better financial results for the company because people are happier, and happier people perform better.  

When advocating for this type of work arrangement, the organisation must be able to see how this is of mutual advantage. The culture in the organisation must be the type that believes that giving people autonomy will produce better employees, so making a business case for this type of work set-up must show how it will improve productivity. 

Read More: How Organisations Improve Employee Engagement with Emotionally Engaged Leaders 


What advice do you have for companies deciding on their policy for a work from home programme? 

For us, the priority is getting the right person for the job rather than the right person, in the right place, in the right time zone, and in the right phase of their lives for the job. The model is simple, but the effect is huge. There are a lot of systems to hold up this style of working but having a productive workforce should be the goal. 

Organisations are hiring professionals, and the expectation is that they should know what they need to be successful. This can only happen once the definition of success inside the organisation has been explained. A certain balance in autonomy, sense of belonging, and a clear picture of what is expected of the professional is the key to developing a great work from home programme.  

Part of it is, of course, where the employee is physically doing the work. The other part is how they are staying engaged. Are they collaborating? Do they feel connected? Many elements that can be used to create the right work from home environment, and this is where we should focus on the philosophy or point of view and not where a person is physically working.  

The role of the organisation is in coordinating the matrix that facilitates the connections to happen between employees. Reinforcing the culture, common language style, ad hoc encounters, and building relationships are some of the tools an organisation can use to facilitate connections between employees.  

Organisations that keep a human-centric approach must continually ask if policies are still working for the wellbeing of the employees and for reaching the organisation’s goals. We need to make sure we take care of each other; if one sees the other is not doing well in our definition of success, it’s my responsibility to help you out. Your success is my success. The human-centric approach towards working from home is just one element of a whole approach to a person-centric work culture and it’s what we believe is the right thing to do for a successful company. 


During Top Employers Inspire 2023, we got an insider’s view of how Top Employers Institute is becoming a human-centric organisation. Paola Bottaro, People Director at Top Employers Institute, talked to Wouter van Ewijk about how the business has adapted to support its employees better while learning to be mindful, empathetic, and purposeful. You can watch that session here. 

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Global Work from Home Day 2024