Remote Work Policy

Remote Work Policy

Many companies have pivoted to work-from-home models during the course of the pandemic; some have opted to keep remote work as an option for their employees.

Prior to recent years, working remotely was, at times, viewed as a privilege, and was something that was determined on a case-by-case basis, or, dependent on an employee’s specific role within a company.

Although allowing your employees to work from home has become a common, familiar reality for many, it is still crucial that you craft a Remote Work Policy for your employees to access, and comply with.

Why should you implement a Remote Work Policy?

Your company’s Remote Work Policy will serve as a useful document to ensure there is a mutual understanding of expectations and practices your employees should strive to uphold while they are working remotely.

Ideally, your employees should already have an understanding of your vacation policies, company rules, practices, and procedures specific to their role, breaks and time off, etc.

Your Remote Work Policy should work to remind employees to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects how they would act in the workplace; while they indeed may choose to work in their Pajamas (as long as they aren’t on a Zoom call…why not?), their performance, attendance, and attentiveness to company tasks should not decline! It is important to detail that working from home is unfamiliar ground for many, but should not be treated as an excuse to slack.

Your Remote Work Policy will also provide your employees with details about several other procedures and points that are vital to your operational efficiency and company success.

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Key information to include in your Remote Work Policy

Many companies (like Castle HR) implemented their Remote Work Policy during the pandemic for all employees, and have not looked back! We put our employee’s safety at the forefront of our decisions, utilized our Remote Work Policy, and have been successfully operating remotely for an extended period of time now.

The key to operating a successful company remotely is providing employees with concise information that leads to a smooth transition from in-office work to working remotely. This information can easily be communicated in your Remote Work Policy.

Some companies have moved past this pivot point that began in 2020 (or, you may have remained in-office)! Regardless of where you and your company stands currently, having a Remote Work Policy in place is beneficial in the case that any employees request to work remotely. 

Requests to work remotely could be made for a number of reasons: perhaps your employee has fallen ill, is relocating, or is restricted from coming into the office for a period of time.

In any case, including a section detailing permissions at the beginning of your Remote Work Policy can be helpful in outlining the steps an employee must take to be granted permission to work from home.

This may be a request that is made through your HRIS system, or, you may wish to encourage your employees to bring their request to management directly; ensure that you clearly outline the steps an employee must take!

If you grant your employees permission to work remotely, they will likely be given equipment to use while they work from home: a laptop, microphone, cell phone, etc. Because of this, your policy should note that these items are company property.

Your Remote Work Policy can also detail that company property should only be used for work-related tasks, and you could even consider including the appropriate IT information/contact information and process an employee should follow if they experience technical difficulties with company property. Let your employees know that abuse or misuse of company property will not be tolerated.

Even though your employees will (likely) be given the appropriate equipment to complete their workday tasks, keep in mind that they’ll be the ones responsible for creating a comfortable office or workspace at home. Your Remote Work Policy should also provide details regarding company-related expenses an employee can claim—such as an ergonomic desk and chair, or perhaps a portion of a hydro bill—while they are working remotely. Providing them with details on how they can claim these things is recommended as well.

An additional component, depending on the nature of your company (and your employee’s work) is having a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or another legal document available for your employee to sign if they opt to work remotely. Because your employee will not be in your line of sight on a 9-5 basis any longer, it is important that you take the appropriate steps to ensure any sensitive or private information is protected; failing to comply with an NDA could, in most cases, result in an employee’s termination.

A final piece in your Remote Work Policy should be information outlining communication and preferences you have for remote employees. As an example, the employee may be asked to track their work/progress on projects or attend zoom meetings throughout the day.

While communication expectations may vary by role and department, providing employees with basic information regarding the minimum expectations for communications and performance is a good place to start!

It is beneficial to have a Remote Work Policy in the event that any employees request to work remotely, or if working remotely is the best option for the majority of your company.  While many of your employees will likely understand your company expectations, policies, and rules in-office, some may have trouble adjusting—or staying on-task—while working from home.

Implementing your Remote Work Policy will be a great way of gently reminding employees of what your expectations of them are—although they can refer to their employment contract for further details on this—along with outlining other key points related to procedures, the use of company property, communications and performance expectations while they are working remotely.

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