Remote Work Policy: Importance and What To Include

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 26, 2022 | Published September 7, 2021

Updated May 26, 2022

Published September 7, 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.

Permitting employees to work from home has a range of benefits, including enhanced work performance, commitment levels, and productivity output. You can develop an efficient and proactive work from home experience that benefits both the organization and the employees if you establish guidelines, choose the correct communication tools, and set necessary boundaries. To sustain a healthy working environment for your employees and the organization as a whole, the shift from face-to-face work to remote work is a tricky process that needs clear protocols and careful planning.

In this article, we discuss what a remote work policy is, why they're important, and what to include in a good work-from-home policy.

Related: Best Remote Working Tips To Encourage Productivity

What is a remote work policy?

A remote work policy is a document that outlines all of the requirements for allowing employees to work from home. These policies explain who is allowed to work remotely, how they must do their jobs, how the organization is going to evaluate their jobs, and their legal rights as remote workers.

Why are remote working policies important?

Remote working policies are crucial to running an organization smoothly, especially when you have remote employees. These regulations make sure even if employees are not physically present, they use the same communication methods, resources, and protocols to keep the organization running smoothly.

Here's why remote working policies are necessary:

1. Makes remote work more plausible

Remote work policies could extend to a substantial proportion of your employees, depending on your business plan or talent strategies. Having a policy and framework in place can assist you in getting off to a good start. Without a policy in place, companies may have to put in a lot of effort to discover, monitor, and potentially rein in remote workers.

In essence, companies would find it challenging to track their remote worker's productivity levels, so having a policy for remote work would assist in making it plausible for employees and the company.

Read more: The Benefits of Working From Home

2. Reduces compliance risk

The primary rationale for having a remote work strategy is to reduce risk before it occurs. Payroll deferral, shifting tax rulings, permanent establishment, and immigration concerns are all potential risk factors. Even if you don't explicitly allow for remote work, you could be putting your employees and possibly your company at risk without a policy in place.

3. Allows for employee value proposition

Working from home attracts talent, lowers employment expenses, boosts productivity, and improves the employee value proposition. All of this is achievable if there's a policy in place to support these goals. The policy formulation process allows you to outline what exactly you want to gain by enabling remote working.

4. Provides employees with clarity

Several employees are ecstatic about the prospect of working from home. They have inquiries, and the organization needs to provide clear answers. Policies need to be quite precise regarding what the company permits and what they don't, and how the policy would affect payments, benefits, and compensations.

All departments and individuals relevant, including HR, tax, employees, and marketing units, must be aware of the processes. Managers and employees can learn about these policies through videos, live seminars, and policy guidebooks.

5. Gives your employees options

Remote working policies allow your employees to decide what working style is best to increase productivity. Most work-from-home policies would include guidelines and rules surrounding remote working. For example, some policies allow for a mix between remote work and physical work. If the work-from-home policy is comprehensive, the employee can pick options that work best for them.

Read more: How To Decide If Permanently Working From Home Is Right for You

What to include in your work-from-home policy

Good work-from-home policy statements clarify their obligations to put remote employees up for success. Here are the top essential items to include in your remote working policy document:

Job positions allowed to work from home

Certain job positions, such as writing, may usually be done from home by remote employees. Specify what job positions the company's employees can perform remotely and which positions require employees to work in the office in your work-from-home policy.

You can create an eligibility process that determines who is eligible to apply for a remote position. For example, employees working as office maintenance staff cannot work remotely as their jobs require them to be present physically in an office space. Also, you can state certain specifications like how an employee must have worked in the organization for at least a year before they can qualify to work from home.

Read more: Everything You Need To Know About Working From Home

Required working hours

The working from home policy needs to specify the required working hours of each employee. You could define precise hours for all employees, whether they work from home or in the office. Alternatively, you might choose flexibility and allow employees to work whenever they choose as long as their weekly hours total a specified number.

Scheduled hours may be the most viable method if your organization expects employees to communicate and report swiftly via chat messaging and turn in work from one co-worker to another daily. Employees can communicate by email if they work long-term jobs, and daily interaction is not a priority. In this instance, you can provide additional flexibility to your employees.

Related: 20 Best Practices For Professional Email Etiquette

Process for approval

Organize a group of workers who are in charge of the approval process, and make sure that other employees know from who they can seek advice. The personnel in charge of approving remote work can give potential remote employees documents to fill out and information on how long it may take to receive a response.

You can request employees to provide the following information on the remote working approval form:

  • why they want to work remotely

  • their job responsibilities and how they plan to operate as efficiently as if they were working in-house

  • whether they prefer to work normal hours or create their schedule

  • list out the benefits of them working remotely

How employees can monitor their work schedules and hours

Ensuring that employees who work from home can track their hours is very important. The following are the most important factors to consider when offering precise guidelines to employees:

  • whether it's an application, office technology, or a balance sheet, choose a preferred timekeeping system for all employees

  • instruct remote staff to keep accurate time records

  • determine if remote workers require permission to work overtime

  • discuss what they can do if they have to work overtime

  • list the repercussions if remote employees work inappropriate hours or lie about their working hours

  • inform employees that their manager must approve their final work hours

  • define what it means to work for a certain amount of time

  • factor in time spent interacting with co-workers and checking business emails

  • state when, how, and to whom employees should report their timesheets

Standard response time

When there is a time zone difference, it's not always practical to define precise response time. It's vital to state a response time for remote personnel in these situations. For example, when remote employees live in various time zones, you can specify a 24-hour time period. When they live in the same area, though, you may want to shorten the time range.

Standards of availability

Setting rules for when staff must be available, such as particular hours during the day, is one way to keep the communication process running smoothly. Employees must be approachable throughout this time via the preferred mode of contact, such as an email chain or chat messaging.

For various modes of communication, you can define unique communication tools. For example, you could use an organizing app for important discussions to keep everyone working on a project engaged. Employees can use emails for formal communication, chat applications for casual chats and quick responses, and a video app for virtual meetings.

How to contact the support team

Employees who work from home can run into a couple of IT issues. Specify who they can contact for assistance in your work-from-home policy. You can include email addresses for specific support concerns. You might have an email for IT difficulties, another for timekeeping issues, and yet another for general inquiries.

A list of recommended tools

Your remote working policy must equip employees with the resources they need for their remote job. For example, instead of supplying a business laptop, you can expect remote staff to use their personal laptop for work. So, the employee can consider whether they can opt for remote work.

How employees can give feedback

Requesting feedback from remote employees after they sign the work-from-home policy is a great method to improve your policy. Some employees may have unanswered inquiries. For example, a particular communication or privacy feature that isn't working properly. This information is essential for developing a professional work-from-home policy that benefits everyone.

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