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Remote working: it’s the new normal. For many business sectors, especially when it comes to office work, working from home is both a viable and highly sought-after option. This is especially true in the post-COVID-19 landscape, which spurred the need to prevent the spread of communicable diseases by limiting social contact.
Yet whether it’s due to COVID-19, another similar pandemic, or just a desire on the part of workers to not spend as much time in the office, remote working is here to stay.
Plenty of workers telecommuted prior to the novel coronavirus outbreak and plenty of workers will continue to do so after it’s gone, so it’s time to ensure your company has a solid remote work policy in order to remain productive.
The more specific and exhaustive your company’s remote work policy, the better. This is to protect both your interests and those of your employees, so leave no stone unturned when drafting it. A good remote work policy will address the following topics:
Some jobs just can’t be done remotely, even with accommodations from an employer such as a reasonable provision of tools and equipment. Your policy needs to expressly state which roles are eligible and which roles are not.
It’s important to reinforce the fact that all company rules and safety policies that apply to employees that come into work at the office also apply to those working from home. Examples include rules concerning conduct and confidentiality while on the job.
You need to make it clear what’s expected of a remote worker when it comes to productivity. While it’s important to recognize that working from home offers flexibility, you need to explicitly state if employees need to be available on certain days or certain times during the day for business reasons.
Communication is key when dealing with remote working. Make sure your employees understand when they need to be online and accessible, how often they need to check in with supervisors, and when they’re expected to attend meetings remotely and how regularly.
If you provide insurance and other benefits to your workers, state that these benefits are extended to remote workers as well. Additionally, be sure to state clearly that remote employees need to conduct their work in a safe environment at home and to follow all safe working practices while engaged in work for your company. Finally, if you provide your remote workers with equipment, ensure that this equipment is fully insured by your company.
If your company deals with secure data, you’ll need to ensure remote workers follow protocols to keep that data secure. This may include requiring the installation of VPNs or other digital security measures.
Finally, the bread and butter. Make sure you have specific language in your remote working policy about compensation and employee pay, whether you’ll require your workers to track their hours or not, and if there are any differences between how remote workers earn pay and promotions versus on-site workers.
The more specific your work-from-home policy is, the more protections both your business and your employees share. Never hesitate to review and update your policy as needed!
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