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Developing an Effective Remote Work Policy (+ Checklist)

The past two years have shown us that, in one form or another, remote work is here to stay. In fact, a recent McKinsey study reported that 9 in 10 companies are switching to a permanent hybrid work model. This makes it more important than ever for employers to implement a remote work policy that clearly outlines the guidelines for working remotely.

In this guide, we will share a remote work policy checklist to help you do just that. We’ll start by looking at the purpose of a remote work policy. We’ll then explain how to write a clear and comprehensive policy that promotes employee productivity, wellbeing, and collaboration. And, as an extra bonus, we will share a remote work policy template to help you get started.
remote-work-policy-checklist

What Is a Remote Work Policy?

A remote work policy is an agreement that outlines expectations and guidelines for working outside the office. This includes who can work from home, what is expected of them, and how performance will be measured. A remote work policy should also define what tools and support are available to employees.

If you offer remote or hybrid working models in your company, then you need to make sure you write and implement a comprehensive policy that covers all aspects of working from home. This will help your employees understand what is expected of them and help you avoid any potential disputes or misunderstandings.

Here are a few examples of questions you should consider before writing your policy:

  • Which roles can be performed effectively from a remote location? Which roles can’t?
  • How will you monitor hours worked for employees working remotely? If you have hourly employees, how will you ensure they don’t work too much overtime?
  • Which policies will employees have to adhere to when working from home? Dress code? Fixed hours?
  • What about utilities and equipment? Will you pay some of their electricity and internet bills? Will you provide laptops to remote workers?
  • What tools and software will your employees need? How will you ensure they have access to all the platforms they need? What security measures will you take?
  • How will your employees communicate and collaborate?
  • How will you measure performance?

The Purpose of a Remote Work Policy

The purpose of a remote work policy is simple: to ensure the smooth running of business operations when employees are not based in the office. You want to clarify the guidelines and expectations that remote workers need to be aware of so that they know what is expected of them, and how they will fulfill their duties. This will help your employees understand their rights and the rules they must follow as remote employees.

The ultimate aim is to optimize your remote workforce while limiting the risks associated with working outside the office. For example, your policies for remote employees should clearly define if there is a need for specific working hours or if the remote employees are allowed to plan their day around their own individual needs.

Your policy should also set specific expectations around communication, equipment and specific security precautions. Defining a clear framework will help you manage employees’ expectations from the outset and make it easier to promote engagement and productivity.

Work from Home Policy Samples

There are a number of key areas you need to cover in your remote work policy, as we will see shortly with our remote work policy checklist. However, the level of control you exert and the specific content you include will depend on your own internal standards. It will also depend on the type of remote work policy you are implementing.

Here are a few examples of types of policies for working from home:

  • Strict policy: where remote workers must follow a strict work schedule, where start and end times and breaks are closely monitored.
  • Ad hoc policy: where an employee works from home on an occasional basis when it is appropriate or beneficial to do so. Managers usually have the discretion to approve/deny any work from home requests.
  • Allowance-based policy: where employees are allotted a fixed number of days per month when they can work from home. Employees are required to use discretion when scheduling remote workdays so that they don’t miss any important in-office meetings and events.
  • Flexible policy: where employees can work remotely as much as they like and come into the office whenever they see fit.

If you are not sure where to start, you can download Factorial’s free remote work policy template and tailor it to your company’s needs. This work-from-home policy template will help you define your rules and regulations around remote work so that you can clearly communicate them to your employees.

Remote Work Policy Checklist: Guidelines for Working Remotely

Now let’s take a look at a remote work policy checklist to help you define the policies that you will put in place. These are just a few examples of what you should include. Make sure you include all your policies in your employee handbook for remote employees.
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Establish Working Hours & TimeKeeping Process

The first thing to include in your working from home policy checklist is establishing working hours for remote workers. You need to specify if employees need to be available during set hours, or if they can choose their own schedules. If you are offering flexible schedules, then you need to define how staff should communicate availability (calendars, Slack status etc.). This will depend on the nature of your business.

You also need to define how timekeeping will be monitored. Will you use time clock software to monitor and record working hours? What about breaks? This will depend on payroll requirements and if you have salaried or hourly workers.

Define Tools & Equipment

The next thing you need to define in your policy is what telecommuting software and tools for remote workers you are going to provide. You need to make sure your remote workers have access to the right technology so that they can fulfill their individual duties from home. Your employees also need to be able to collaborate with co-workers and communicate with supervisors. The newest software for remote workers includes video conference software, communication platforms, and management tools.

Also, consider what support you will offer in terms of equipment. Does everyone have a computer and internet connection at home? Will you provide equipment or reimburse remote workers? If you are providing company equipment, what standards of use will you set?

The right software, equipment and tools will help your employees optimize their home office and feel a part of the team, regardless of location.

Clarify Which Company Policies Will Apply

It is important to clarify what general rules, regulations and policies will still apply to remote workers.

Company policies and resources that should still apply, regardless of location:

  • Code of Ethics
  • Attendance Policy
  • Professional Code of Conduct
  • Sick Leave
  • Sexual Harassment Policy
  • Confidentiality Agreement

Discuss How Performance Will be Measured

Another important element of your remote work policy is defining how you will measure the performance and productivity of employees. Decide what performance metrics you will use: completed projects, closed sales, etc.

What software will you use to track productivity? What goals and KPIs will you set? This will depend on the nature of each role.

Determine Communication Practices

Be clear about what you expect of your employees when it comes to communication. How often should they check in? What channels should they use to communicate with their colleagues? Will they be required to attend virtual meetings? What software will they use to manage projects and give remote presentations?

Define Security Measures

The final important element of the working from home checklist that we are going to mention today is security. Make sure you outline all your security protocols to protect company, client and employee data.

Will you use a VPN? Should virtual meetings be password protected? Can employees use personal devices to access company data?

Putting the Right Remote Work Policy in Place

Let’s end by looking at a few best practices you should consider when you write your work from home policy employee handbook. This will help you write a policy that is both relevant and effective so that you can maintain standards across all work environments.

  • Be as specific as possible. This document will establish the rules and guidelines for remote workers, so you need to be as clear and straightforward as possible. Use concrete examples so that employees understand your standards and expectations.
  • Include a few tips for working remotely so that your employees can create a sustainable work environment that keeps them healthy, focused, and productive. For example, creating a designated workspace, taking regular breaks, and communicating regularly with their teammates.
  • Make sure you enforce your policies consistently. Remote workers should deliver the same quality and quantity of work as in-office staff, and you should hold all team members accountable, regardless of location.
  • Finally, make sure you review and update your remote work policy on a regular basis. This will help you adapt to new circumstances and evolving technology. It will also help you ensure you comply with any changes to state or federal employment laws.

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