Remote work goes for a toss without a proper guideline in place. Here’s a comprehensive template for your remote work policy. Read on!
Remote Work Policy
In workplaces, the employees turn up daily to the office. The employer meets them, communicates with them, monitors them, suggests them their rights, and informs them about the code of conduct.
But this is not the scenario for remote employees. They don’t come to the workplace daily, and they work independently in their residence. Instituting a clear remote work policy is important as it explains the scope and the legal rights of a remote employee.
What is remote work policy?
A remote work policy is an agreement between an employer and a remote employee. The policy explains when and how can a remote employee work from locations other than the office. The policy can either be temporary or permanent depending upon the scope of work. Remote work policy also talks about the legal rights of remote employees, how an employee can work, etc.
Remote work is just an extension of the workplace. We perform the activities in our own residence. The parameters and expectations are defined by the organization. So the employees are expected to adhere to the rules and regulations of the corporate atmosphere.
Did you know? 47% of those who work from home say that they are very satisfied with the way they live and work.
Why formal remote working policies must be in place?
According to a survey by the Future of Remote Work and Covid-19 impact on mobility, 86% of respondents predicted that work from home requests will see a significant increase. Most companies do not have a remote working policy in place and are still hesitant to pursue a formal work from home policy. Why formal remote working policies must be in place? The reasons are as follows
Policy working can mitigate compliance risks
Your organization must implement remote working policies to mitigate risks. You have to when you implement remote working for your company. Some of the factors are payroll withholding, change in tax jurisdiction, permanent establishment, and immigration status. Without a policy working, you may expose your staff and company to pointless risks.
WFH policy helps make it scalable
Depending on your company’s business strategy, you may apply the WFH policy to many employees. Having a remote working policy will help you implement a policy to start the wfh program. Without a remote work policy, it will be tough to track, monitor, and rein in the work-from-home staff.
Policy work provides clarity
Many employees are excited about the prospects of working from home. Your staff may have questions, and you need to answer them and provide a clear framework and plan. A policy work will be an excellent starting point. Remote working policies help you clarify what you hope to gain from the remote working program.
Work from home policy guidelines can complete your business strategy
Work from home policy guidelines can help set up clear goals. Some businesses want their staff to work in their office occasionally, while others are looking to go fully remote. Remote work policies can help you make a framework for either goal. It is vital to create a clear work-from-home guideline in line with your business strategy.
Work policy can increase employee value proposition
Remote work opportunities can attract talent, reduce overhead costs, improve productivity, and increase the employee value proposition. Your company can meet these objectives with a well-thought work policy. The remote work policy should clarify what you hope to achieve and gain from remote working.
Must inclusions in work from home policy documents
A remote working policy is an agreement that details everything required by an employee to work at home. You need to draft a comprehensive work-from-home policy to guide your remote staff properly.
The home policy documents should convey the benefits of working from home or a remote location. The management and employees will be able to use the document to get most from the work from home program. We recommend you include the following information in the work-from-home documents,
The rules of work agreement template
The work agreement template should define the rules and regulations for when an employee works from home. Standard rules and regulations may be applicable for most companies. Your work from home policy document should include the statutes regarding,
- Code of Ethics and Conduct
- Attendance policy
- Sick leave
- Employee handbook
- Sexual harassment policy
Define scope in work template
You need to define the scope of work in the work template. You need to specify which job positions are eligible for work from home. Some job positions require the employee to work on the premises.
Your work template should describe the software requirements and security risks associated with the staff working from remote locations. The work from home policy document should spell out the eligibility criteria.
Employee regulation for working hours
You need to outline the working hours of your staff working from home in the remote work policy. Employee regulation for work hours must be consistent with industry standards. Having regular works helps to improve productivity.
The work hours must include time for working collaboration, attending client and team meetings In the remote work policy, remember to outline the number of leave days your staff is entitled to every year.
Security measures for a remote location for a company
Remote employees need to be on the same page regarding company or client confidential data. They need to ensure company data remains protected even in a remote location for a company.
The work from home policy should explain the security measures your staff needs to follow to ensure data safety. They may need a VPN to ensure network safety and security. You will need to install the latest cybersecurity software on equipment used by staff.
Communication practices in remote contract work
While working from a remote location, your staff relies on clear communication to work effectively. The remote contract work should specify how frequently you want your employees checking in and how they will collaborate with their colleagues.
Various tools that enable virtual meetings, collaboration, and management projects have made remote working much more efficient. The remote work policy should discuss the email and telephone protocols.
Working from home policy and procedure for compensation
You should inform your employees about the change in salaries and benefits if they are working remotely. The working from home policy and procedures need to outline the expenses the employees can claim for and the procedure to claim them.
Consult your staff on the compensation policy and learn about benefits that are important to them.
Work from home program outline benefits, insurance, and liability
Your staff protection and security are still your concern when they work from home. A work from home program needs to outline what happens in case of injury and to what extent is your company is liable. You need to outline if their work equipment is insured. The remote work policy should explain if your staff will receive worker’s compensation and health insurance.
Employee equipment responsibility
Remote employees require technology, software, and equipment to work and collaborate from home. The remote work policy needs to cover employee responsibility for equipment under their care. The remote work policy should cover protocol for damage, loss, or maintained work to any employee equipment.
Employee equipment responsibility form for IT Support
A computer requires repairs and updates periodically. Your firm should have an IT support team that can provide support remotely. IT Support ensures work is not impacted due to computer or software problems.
Work from home documents should have an employee equipment responsibility form is provided to ask for IT Support when required. Some remote work policies have outlined a ticketing system for IT support.
Office policies and procedures regarding performance measurement
The time tracking method is not a very efficient method to measure efficiency. Your company should draft office policies and procedures regarding metrics for measuring staff performance. Metrics measurement will depend on the job description. These metrics could be a line of code written, project completed, sales deals closed, etc.
Also Read: Best Practices For Remote Onboarding
How to create remote work policy template?
A remote work policy acts as a guideline for remote employees. Any mistakes or errors in it might afford a significant loss for the company. It is the responsibility of the employers to draft a good remote work policy for remote employees. There are some key topics that an employer should keep in mind while preparing a remote work policy. They are as follows.
Determine suitable roles for remote employees
There are some roles that won’t be suitable to work as a remote employee. The nature of work requires their presence at the office. For example, it could be a ‘trainer’ job. Those who are required to train the office employees on certain things.
In these cases, the company should create a remote work policy that specifies the guidelines on how to train the employees remotely. The employer should outline the strategies and tools that will be required for the remote employee to work productively from his place. Few questions should be considered while formulating remote working policies.
- Will the role impede success if worked remotely
- Resources required to work remotely
- Strategizing the work plan to work remotely
- Consideration about the senior management whom the remote employee would be working under
- The tax and other benefits that a company will enjoy if they hire a remote worker
Other than this, before rolling out the policy, it is better to consult a legal team.
Choose and provide the right remote work tools
Employers must make sure that the remote employee has all the facilities to work efficiently. For some nature of work, the employees might need more tools and resources. The basic tools and resources like laptops and WiFi might not be sufficient to perform a few tasks.
For a job like a trainer, the person might need some additional tools like a webcam, communication software, etc. Without some tools, the remote worker might not feel engaged. Some of the questions we need to ensure are as follows.
- Is the employee given the basic tools to work remotely
- How will the remote employee communicate with his team or the management
- What kind of software do the remote employee needs for communication
- If any additional technology or tools required by an employee like printer, scanner, etc.
- Will the employee be reimbursed for the additional expenses she/he incur for such installations
Cybersecurity should also be given top priority while working on private customer data and other company files. The remote workers should also be informed about the technology used for team communication. For official non-verbal communication like emails, WhatsApp groups, and for virtual conferencing software like unremot, Skype, or Google Hangouts.
Guidelines to work from home
When an employee is engaged in working remotely and not in an office place, creating a platform for communication is a must. The remote employee should be able to communicate with the following people.
- The top management – whom she/he would be reporting to
- Team meetings – in most cases, a project would be carried out by a team
- Client meetings – for the client to whom the worker is handling the project
- Performance reviews – again, this would be with his senior management
A clear platform for communication set-up should be kept installed as these are essentials. It is the responsibility of the employer to specify these in the remote work policy.
Legal rights of the remote worker
This is a very important aspect of the remote worker’s point of view. As with the office goers, the remote employees are also entitled to legal protections. As the remote employees are not present in the office, the remote policy should be drafted in such a way to ensure that the company is legally compliant.
The working hours should be clearly specified because it ends up as overtime work if they work above 40 hours or generally accepted working hours. It is important to select the working hours to prevent it. The employer should also mention the leave policies for a remote worker.
If it is mentioned clearly, they won’t end up working overtime. Other than this, it is important to through some lights about the benefits, training as what the office goers are entitled to. If these things are not addressed properly, it might end up as discrimination.
Remote work is no longer a trend. Most of the companies around the world had to shift to remote work due to Coronavirus pandemic. Remote work is likely to see a popular, long-term adoption around the world.
Benefits and remuneration
The pay, the perks, and the other benefits the employees are entitled should be specified in the remote work policy. Like the regular workers, the remote employees’ work policy draft should also specify the remuneration.
Laptop/desktop, WiFi are the basic requirements to work away from the office. The reimbursements for these, if any, should be clearly discussed. These are not supposed to be reimbursed mandatorily, depends upon the mutual talks.
Additional requirements like a printer, the scanner would be reimbursed in most cases. Anyhow, these details should be mentioned clearly in the remote work policy rather than a verbal agreement.
Reasons to adopt a remote work policy
The reason for hiring the best employee is in an expectation that he would bring in more to the table. A good result is what expected from an employee. Unlike traditional office settings, it would be difficult to monitor a remote employee.
A policy should be drafted in such a way that it makes the employee realise what the management is expecting from him. Remote working policies also briefs about the code of conduct, rules, and regulation on work hours, etc. Ultimately, this will act as a guideline for remote employees.
Flexible remote work policy
The work policy is not stringent. The work policy rather is employee-friendly. For example, in a flexible remote work policy, there might not be any system of rigid working hours. The employee might opt for flexible work hours.
It is like working the time whenever she/he is available. Of course, there wouldn’t be any compromise relating to the responsibility or the target to achieve. With flexible remote work policies, an employee might be able to schedule his day by what he wishes to do. He can work in the morning, work out in the noon, and relax in the evening.
Sample working agreements templates
There are several working agreement templates you can use for your organization. We have given a sample human resource policy template, that you can use for setting up your remote work policy for your company.
Policy brief and purpose
Our employee remote work policy provides a framework for employees to work from remote locations. We need to ensure both employees and staff benefit from the arrangement.
The policy applies to staff whose work location is away from our offices. i.e. the staff who work from remote locations.
Remote working agreement
We may hire remote employees permanently, temporary basis, or contract basis. Permanent employees should mention their primary work address in the remote working agreement.
Office-based employees can work from home for a maximum of [two consecutive] weeks a year. Employees who have been working for us for 12 months are eligible for functioning from remote locations. Employees who are new parents or have suffered a short-term or long-term disability can opt for work from the home program after meeting their manager and HR department.
Office-based employees that have relocated permanently may discuss employee work from a home policy with their manager. The HR department will review each case on an individual basis. They will need to submit the form available in the working agreement template.
Remote working that works
Employees need to guarantee work performance does not suffer in remote working arrangement, we advise our work from home employees to,
- Choose a quiet and distraction-free environment
- Have a stable internet connection with adequate bandwidth
- Avoid distractions and give full attention to their work during work hours
- Stick to the recommended break and attendance plan agreed with their manager.
- Ensure their schedule overlap with their colleagues for meetings or collaborations to complete job duties effectively.
Remote employees and managers need to establish long-term and short-term goals. They should have scheduled a weekly follow-up meeting with their managers to review the goals.
Working hours – We document the agreed-upon working hours in the remote work policy documents. We negotiate the working hours after a meeting with the employee, manager, and HR Department. While working remotely, your employee should plan their work to complete the job in the stipulated time frame.
Availability – The remote worker must be available via telephone, email, or instant messaging applications. They need to ensure there are no previous engagements on remote workdays.
Compliance with policies
Our remote employees must follow the company’s policies like their office-based counterparts. Policies followed by all employees include,
- Attendance – Attendance rules outline the regulations about employees coming to work. Remote workers need to report absence like other staff members. The attendance policy details rules about absenteeism and tardiness, unforeseen absenteeism, good attendance, and disciplinary action.
- Social media – Staff should abide by the guidelines regarding things they can post about. They should not post any confidential information. They are liable to face disciplinary action if their posts can affect your company’s image.
- Confidential – Employee confidentiality deals with how employees treat confidential information. Staff may receive information about clients, partners, and our company. This could be sensitive information or business data. Common working from home policy example regarding confidentiality are,
- Unpublished financial information
- Data of customers/partners/vendors
- Data entrusted by third partners
- Pricing and marketing strategies
- Documents and process explicitly marked confidential
- Unpublished goals
Breaching confidential information could lead to disciplinary and/or legal action.
Data Protection – The company treats data received from employees, customers, stakeholders with care and confidentiality. The data should be stored transparently, securely, and individual rights.
Employee code of conduct – The employee code of conduct elaborates on the expectation regarding employee behavior towards colleagues, supervisors, customers, and other stakeholders. Important components of the employee code of conduct are compliance with the law, respect in the workplace, professionalism, and protecting company property.
Anti-discrimination/equal opportunity – Anti-discrimination provision in our policies ensures equality and promotes diversity in the workplace. We are committed to providing equal opportunities to employees, candidates, contractors, stakeholders, partners, and visitors.
Dress code during meetings – The dress code elaborates on how employees should be dressed at work. Employees must be clean and well-groomed. Clothes worn should be projected professional and work-appropriate.
Training – We shall provide the remote worker with adequate training related to the technical tools at their disposal and the specific features for remote work. The remote work policy should provide adequate orientation to the job profile. The manager and employee should provide feedback about the training.
Occupation Health and Safety – We are responsible for the health and safety of our remote staff. Remote workers must agree to comply with any required health and safety practice specified in the remote work policy.
To ensure compliance the employer, employee representative, and occupational safety and health authorities must have access to the workplace. The remote worker must have prior intimation. Occupation health and safety for remote workers. Remote workers must agree to the practices and discuss health and hazardous at work.
Travel – Remote workers are subject to travel regulations. Business trips are subject to the regulations currently in effect.
Compensation and benefits
Your job profile will determine employee compensation and benefits. Health insurance, PTO, other individuals, and group benefits remain unaltered by the remote working policy. The remote worker’s insurance coverage also applies to remote work.
Work from employees will receive a work-from-home allowance to cover office-related costs. In case you need to visit our office for remote employees they will be paid for the same.
We provide our remote employees with all equipment essential for their work (laptops, headsets, and mobile phones). We install the required software and VPN on the equipment. The organization does not provide additional equipment like printers and screens.
If we provide the equipment it is company property. Employees must not misuse or lose equipment. Responsibility for company equipment includes,
- Equipment should be password protected.
- Store equipment in a safe and clean place when not in use.
- Follow required data encryption, protection standard, and settings.
- Avoid downloading suspicious, illegal, unauthorized software.
The HR department will discuss any new insurance requirements with you. Employees may have to take homeowners insurance to cover company equipment. HR may reimburse them for the portion of the insurance.
How to measure the success of remote work policy
There are multiple ways to measure the success of a remote employee. But it all depends on the nature of the work they perform. If the work is based on talking to the customers, the performance will be measured based on the feedback of the customers.
If an employee works for his clients on a project basis, the same is applicable here. Feedback values the most than the number of hours logged in for work. One of the basic and common ways to analyze the success rate is to see how the person adheres to the deadlines.
In most cases, the proper channel of communication reduces the chances of missing deadlines. If you feel things are not going well for the employees, well it might require a rearrangement in the remote work policy.
Remote work is a boon for both the 21st century’s employers and employees. Employers enable the work-life-balance of the employees, which also helps in boosting productivity. This helps in reaping the reward for the employer and employee in many aspects.
Further read: Best Home Office Set Up For Remote Work
What is a remote work policy?
A remote work policy is an agreement between the employer and the employee that outlines when and how a remote employee can work from locations other than the office.
Is the remote work policy a permanent one?
A remote work policy is either temporary or permanent, which is based on a mutual stand.
What are the benefits of working from home?
Flexible working hours, customizing the environment we like, no compulsion for wearing a formal dress, happier work life, better attention to health, etc. are the few benefits of working from home.
What are the points to be kept in mind while preparing a remote work policy?
A remote work policy acts as a guiding factor for a remote worker. The tools and resources required, the nature of work, the legal rights of the remote employee, the communication software, remuneration, and pay are some aspects that should be kept in mind while preparing a remote work policy.
What is a flexible remote work policy?
A flexible remote work policy is a work policy that is employee-friendly. It benefits the employee like not rigid policies for the timing of work. It is the target that matters, not the hours the employee work.
What is work from home policy?
A remote work policy can also be said as a work from home policy.
How to create a remote work policy template?
A flexible remote work policy template could be created by adding the points elaborated to prepare a remote work policy.
How effective is a flexible remote work policy?
The flexible remote work policy helps in maintaining the work-life balance of the employee. This, in turn, helps in increasing productivity.
What is working from home policy template?
Working from home policy template is the same as a remote work policy template.
How to measure the success of a remote work policy?
Measuring the success of a remote work policy depends on many factors like the nature of the work of the remote employees, how effectively they adhere to the deadline, etc.