How to Implement a Work-From-Home Policy (With Tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated October 31, 2022 | Published August 17, 2021
Updated October 31, 2022
Published August 17, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
With working from home becoming the norm for many companies, it's crucial that business leaders consider ways of designing and implementing an effective work from home policy. Working remotely helps reduce the cost of running an office and increases flexibility for employees. Learning the basic elements of an effective work from home policy can help you create the most effective way of managing a remote team. In this article, we explain what a work from home policy is, show you how to implement one, and provide tips to ensure a smooth transition to a work from home arrangement.
Related: The Benefits of Working From Home
What is work from home policy?
A work from home policy is a set of guidelines or an agreement between an employer and an employee detailing the terms and conditions of how employees can work from home. These terms may cover details about the eligibility of an employee to work remotely, responsibilities, how to request for these privileges, and the approval process.
The primary purpose of creating these policies is to ensure that employees remain successful and increase the productivity of the organization, regardless of where they work from. The most important element in designing a work from home policy is to ensure the policy meets the objectives of the company.
How to implement a work from home policy
Follow these guidelines to implement an effective work from home policy:
1. Design policy brief and purpose
Effective implementation of a work from home policy starts with designing a proper plan. Employers need to set work standards that are easy to follow and also promote the goal of the company. Clearly defining the need for work from home policy and the organization's expectations promotes an effective policy. Communicate to your employees about the importance of the policy and how they can implement it. Ideally, create the policy to encourage the overall employee value proposition and improve the work experience.
You may be concerned about the performance of employees who are working from home because of distractions. With the help of a policy, you may be in a better position to make a conclusion. Avoid micromanaging staff, and instead, focus on the end results. You can do this by scheduling meetings to follow up on their progress.
2. Outline scope and eligibility
Outline all the positions available for remote work in the organization with a focus on responsibilities, available resources, and the risks associated with remote working. This helps to reduce unnecessary work from home requests. Ensure there is clear communication about the work from home application process and how the applications would be assessed.
3. Set availability standards and attendance
A significant element in creating a work from home policy is setting the availability standards of employees. Identify how employees can attend various meetings while working from home. You can foster employee collaboration by using conferencing and messaging tools, but keep them formal. Also include rules about the availability hours to avoid inconveniences during working hours. Ensure employees understand how they should store their files while working remotely, or how they should collaborate using collaboration tools. This way, you are likely to enhance employee productivity even when they are out of the office.
4. Outline performance appraisal measures
The policy must outline how to evaluate the productivity of remote workers. Some key performance indicators include the time spent on a particular project, number of tasks completed, or customers attended. Ensure there are equal processes of tracking progress and rewarding achievements, both for in-office and hybrid teams.
5. Plan for technological support
Access to technological resources is crucial in remote work. The policy must state how the employees can access resources such as laptops and reliable internet connection to help them work on tasks while at home. If they use their own devices, it's crucial to educate the team about cybersecurity threats that may affect the company. Include an action plan for employees who encounter technical issues during work.
6. Plan for a good flow of communication
Effective communication is important in remote working as it affects all the positions in the company. Ensure that there is effective communication between the employees working from home and office. Video conferencing ensures there is face-to-face interaction between employees, making them feel connected to in-office teams. Remote workers need to understand that emails, meetings, and phone calls are part of their workday the same way they are in the office.
7. Adopt a remote working model
Adopting a virtual model ensures everyone performs their duties regardless of their location. It is a strategic approach to ensure that everyone has all the required tools to maximize productivity. Before doing this, consider the following:
Establish parallel perks for the on-site and off-site teams
Create all-inclusive team-building exercises
Avoid unnecessary physical meetings and make use of software project collaboration tools
Use cloud tools instead of on-premise server applications
8. Plan about data security
A major challenge with remote workforce is digital security. Employees using their own devices may be vulnerable to cyberattacks. Although some organizations supply hybrid employees with devices, they may access dangerous sites or download files with hidden malware.
The IT team should ensure maximum protection for all the company's devices and those used by remote workers. These include anti-virus software, firewalls, encryption, and other important forms of software protection on the company's server and devices. Train employees on basic security issues such as creating strong passwords, the importance of logging off when not using a device, and the effects of public Wi-Fi.
9. Plan for remote workers' compensation and benefits
Although remote working helps cut the overall cost of the company, it transfers some of these expenses to the employee. Digital working requires high-speed internet, constant power supply, and other utilities that may offset their savings on mileage. As a way of reimbursing these costs, introduce a remote employee allowance, but be clear on the expenses you plan to cover for hybrid workers. Other important issues to include in the policy include termination of contract, dress code, and physical working environment while working from home.
Related: How To Start a New Job Virtually
Tips for a smooth transition to working from home
Here are a few areas that managers can improve to ensure a smooth transition from office to a work from home strategy:
Build the community feeling
Managers can redefine their team-building ethos where all employees can share professional updates and delegate group tasks to enhance teamwork. You may also encourage virtual activities such as quizzes and multiplayer games.
Set attainable goals
Balancing between work life and personal responsibilities while working from home can be challenging. To foster effective use of time and continuous success in the organization, managers need to set realistic goals for hybrid employees. Set deliverables and metrics to help you monitor their progress and measure performance effectively. Conduct regular meetings to get updates and confirm that progress is being made.
Before the employees get used to working from home, they are likely to face various challenges, including technical issues, time management issues, and disconnection from their fellow employees. Encouraging learning helps curb some of these challenges.
Recognizing an employee's hard work is great for motivating them to do better. Consider switching to a digital recognition and rewarding platform to engage remote workers. Human resource managers can access cloud tools to bridge the gap between managers and employees. Such tools enable managers to send their appreciation to employees instantly and from all corners of the world.
Offer the required support
Availability of equipment and tools can affect the performance of employees working from home. Identify all the useful tools for remote work and ensure every employee gets them. You can do this by prioritizing the most immediate needs, as you work on equipping remote workers with everything they need in the long run.
Explore more articles
- What Is Accounting? (With Importance and Types)
- How to Calculate WACC (With Variables and Formula)
- Management Control Systems (With Examples and Tips)
- Using a Release Notes Template in Product Development
- How to Change Margins in Google Docs (With Importance)
- What Is Formal Communication and Why Is It Important?
- A Guide to Load Testing: What It Is and How to Implement It
- How to Deal with Job Dissatisfaction in 4 Easy Steps
- What Is Onboarding (With Tips and Phases Involved)
- How to Resolve Conflict in a Team (With Types and Steps)
- Achieving Team Cohesion in the Workplace (With Strategies)
- How to Be Respected in the Workplace (With Importance)