Employment contracts are supercritical for remote workers. This blog explains, why. Read on!
Within any organization, there may be a need for remote workers. Due to the recent pandemic of COVID-19, the percentage of people working remotely has increased to 34.4% in 2021.
It’s important that businesses are still playing by the book when it comes to employment contracts and the laws in place to protect themselves and the employees in question.
But why are employment contracts so critical for remote workers? In this article, we’ll be exploring what a typical employment contract looks like and why it’s useful to have them in place for your employees.
What does an employment contract for remote workers look like?
Whether you have a lot of employees working remotely as a result of the pandemic, or it’s perhaps one or two, a new employment contract might be needed. That or you’ll want to update the existing one to cater to the new surroundings and structure to the working day. A typical employment contract for remote workers will have the following,
1. Employee location and working hours
This will mention where the employee will be based and the number of hours that are necessary to work. A requirement to take breaks should also be included in this section. Both employee and employer have the right to terminate this home working agreement should they deem it applicable at any point.
With remote working, it’s very easy for office hours to become blurred, so this is an important part of the contract to focus on in detail.
There should be a mention of reimbursement of expenses when it comes to that of the employee’s utility costs. As employees will be working from home, they’ll need to rely on their own utility services. Typically, there will be a certain amount mentioned that the employee gets to reimburse their bills.
3. Equipment supply
The company has the responsibility to provide all the work equipment and tools needed for the employee to work successfully from their remote location. This also includes ensuring the equipment too.
Providing the right equipment for your staff is critical to them doing their job effectively and with fewer issues.
4. Health, safety, and confidentiality
The employee should be made aware of compliance when it comes to relevant health, safety, and security guidelines that are in place. Confidential information and data protection must be provided, particularly when remote working has more vulnerabilities to its security.
And finally, there should also be a mention of no other changes when it comes to the employment terms and conditions, for example, pay, holiday, and pension contributions.
Knowing exactly what’s needed in the new or updated contract can help protect the company’s interests and the employee’s too. There are plenty of employment agreement template options available online to utilize if you’re having trouble defining the contract’s layout.
Why are employment contracts so important for remote workers?
With the content of the contracts themselves now understood, why is it so important to have updated or new employment contracts? Remote working is a different environment from the traditional workplace and therefore certain assurances need to be made.
By not having something in place that assists both the employer and employee, it’s likely to cause a lot of trouble should something go horribly wrong.
1. Protects both parties under a legally binding agreement
As both parties sign the employment contract, it’s protecting both under a legally binding agreement. Now if it were necessary to do so, either party as mentioned above, could choose to terminate this contract if homeworking was no longer needed.
Without this type of legally binding agreement in place, you’re risking a lot and an opportunity for either party to take advantage of the other.
This is why having a detailed contract is also important and care must be taken to include anything and everything that’s required to protect the rights of both the employee and employer. There’s also the opportunity to dispute anything that either party may have a problem with.
2. Avoids miscommunication by outlining everything clearly
It’s wishful thinking to expect that communication within a business is clear and concise, 100% of the time. In fact, 57% of employees report not being given clear directions in the workplace. Miscommunication leads to mistakes and things going wrong, which ends up having a direct impact on the business in some way or another.
Whether that’s through the quality of your customer experience or a loss in finances. It pays to be attentive to communication in business, not just for the business but for your remote workers too.
With that being said, an employment contract will help provide all the information clearly to the remote worker. There might be a remote working situation in place already and so sending over a contract is better than having a brief chat over the phone or going back and forth on emails.
A contract in general can provide little room for miscommunication because both parties should have read the terms carefully before signing. If they signed without reading it properly, then that accountability for not doing so lies with them.
3. Maintains confidentiality and data safety
Confidentiality is a big one because there have been occasions where data breaches have occurred. Whether it’s the company’s own data or that of their customers, it can often lead to a big fallout and a lack of trust in the company when customers are affected. According to Cobalt, there are over 2,200 attacks that happen every day in the US alone.
That’s nearly one cyber attack every 39 seconds. Employment contracts especially in the case of remote workers are essential to maintain confidentiality with everything they access. As the employer, it’s the responsibility of this party to ensure all equipment and security measures are secure and that the same level of security
4. Keeps your workforce happy and supported
According to SnackNation, an employee that’s happy within the workplace is likely to be 12% more productive as a result. Keeping your workforce happy and supported is a must and it’s one of the benefits that come from having this type of contract in place.
Employees want to feel properly supported, particularly when it comes to a new working environment that perhaps they’re not used to. In the US alone, the percentage of people working from home reached heights of 44%, according to Statista.
Although some employees have experience working remotely, others might be completely new to the situation. A legal contract that both the employer and employee have signed, can certainly provide some reassurance that everything is being done legitimately.
By keeping your workforce happy and supported, you’re going to keep staff turnover rates low. This is going to be something you want to be wary of during these uncertain times in particular. Losing staff is only going to mean more time, effort and financial burdens are incurred as a result.
Helpful resources for creating employment contracts
If you need assistance and resources for creating employment contracts, then here are some helpful suggestions for you to look through.
1. Bonsai for contract templates
For contract templates, Bonsai is a great platform for all types of contract templates for employees. They have a range of different employee templates depending on the industry and type of job required.
Making sure that every detail is added into a contract is critical and platforms like Bonsai, it can help ease this pressure. Every industry is different, so it’s beneficial to use templates that have been made with the industry or job in mind.
2. Understand the law with CIPD
The legalities of the contract are another important one and so having an understanding of the law and terminology is key. CIPD is a great resource for those who are looking to define any legal queries that remain unanswered.
This is helpful for both parties, particularly for the employee who might not have much legal knowledge, to begin with.
3. Speak to your legal aid
As mentioned above, there may be certain elements to the contract that need further clarification. Most employers will have access to their own legal aid, whilst a remote worker can always utilize human resources within a company.
Seeking advice and guidance from legal aid will help clarify anything that’s uncertain. They can also go over the documents before either party signs to ensure everything is clear and concise.
For everything else, depending on the country your business operates in, there are various governing bodies available at your disposal. This can be helpful in addressing anything else that needs attention and ensuring the contracts align with the national laws in place.
4. Introduce or update employment contracts
Employment contracts are an essential part for remote workers and many businesses will want to take a look at those existing contracts in place. There will likely be one or two contracts that, since the pandemic, are now outdated.
It’s not worth the risk to either you or your employee, to simply operate as normal without taking a look at what needs to change in the contracts.
Freelance writer for many clients including Skale, Natalie has two years of copywriting experience. Natalie has a wide range of experience copywriting for web pages for businesses across many industries. She’s also an owner of two blog websites and a Youtube content creator.