The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Building a Work from Home Policy
Working from home is growing in popularity across all industries and organization sizes. Whether you currently have staff working from home or are considering introducing a work from home option, you’ll need a work from home policy. Here is our ultimate cheat sheet to create your work from home policy.
Remote Compliant Positions
Some organizations might be able to allow any position to work from home, while others might have some jobs that cannot be performed anywhere but your location. All positions should be listed as either remote compliant or non-compliant so that you are not faced with questions regarding remote work. Although you can limit who can work from home based on their job description, it can get dicey if an employee feels they are being discriminated against. By having a clear definition of which positions can or cannot be performed remotely you can help defend yourself should discrimination be raised.
A common beef for organizations that allow employees to work from home is ensuring staff are just as available when working from home as they would be if working onsite. Therefore, you should outline the expectations of what hours the employee must be available. Some companies might allow for flexible hours, but regardless of how you view hours, you should clearly set schedule requirements. This will avoid misunderstandings and also ensure your employees are available when you need them.
Knowing people are actually working can be a challenge for remote worker relationships. It’s a good idea to set up some form of communication using apps such as Slack or Skype. Staff have to be available for immediate communication during work hours and can also indicate their availability if they take a break or are on lunch. You can also outline an expected response time for communication via email. This can also include accepted modes of communication i.e. phone, text, DM, email, etc. This will avoid frustration amongst co-workers while ensuring work is never held up by a remote employee who is MIA. Tracking systems also commonly appear in a work from home policy example.
Productivity and Deadlines
Depending on the nature of the work being managed remotely, the use of deadlines or productivity measurements can help keep people focused on their work. You can determine which form of measurement works best such as:
- Time spent on a project
- Number of cases resolved or client interactions
- How many reports are completed
- Deadlines are set and met
If you can’t measure outcomes you are at a disadvantage as you can’t prove someone is meeting the demands and expectations of their positions.
When hiring for remote positions it has to be clear what equipment will be supplied if any, or what equipment is required to accept the position. A clear list including required software will ensure people are capable of performing their work without interruption. This should also include things such as mobile and internet services, as well as a speed expectation to ensure they are not slowed down by poor internet access.
This can prove to be one of the biggest challenges for work from home setups. If you are not providing the equipment, who will assist employees who are faced with technical difficulties. If you do provide the equipment, how far will you go to provide tech support when issues arise? Do you agree to continue paying them for a certain amount of time until it is resolved? Do you take them off the clock until the issue is resolved? Are they expected to make up for lost time should issues arise? Are deadlines still expected to be made? Without a policy on technical support, it is easy for employees to claim they are having issues and cannot work.
When people work from home, it can be hard to assess their performance. When it comes to rightful termination for remote workers it can get a little tricky. First, you can’t allow managers to fire an employee based on their desire to work from home, so that should be mentioned in your policy. As well, your policy surrounding measurement, communication, responsiveness, hours worked, etc. can all provide support to help build a case that someone might not be meeting the requirements of their job.
The same process to establish someone’s inability to perform their job to the expectations of the organization must be used including recorded discussions, performance reviews and warnings.
Health and Safety
This is another dicey area. At the least, you should require remote workers to have adequate coverage for their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to cover any potential equipment damage or liability.
Security and Confidentiality
Keep in mind you have a responsibility to ensure any confidential information shared or used by remote workers is secure. Your policy should include how you will provide the proper setup, apps or equipment to protect your clients’ and employee’s information. You will want remote workers to sign some form of confidentiality agreement as well.
Although it is a great perk for many employees, remote work can prove to be a bit of a headache to manage for most companies. These work from home policy guidelines will help you manage remote workers more effectively.
About The Author
Kayla is the Marketing Manager at Paypro Corporation overseeing all inbound and outbound marketing and sales efforts. She has 7+ years of experience working within the B2B and SaaS based solutions space and thrives on creating messaging and campaigns that introduce products and services to those who need them most.