The ability to work remotely has become very common in the workplace since the pandemic started. In fact, twenty five to thirty percent of the workforce now work from home multiple days a week since 2021. With the holidays coming, it is a fair assumption that at least some of your employees will be working remotely while being home for the holidays and or traveling. If you have not written a formal remote work policy for these employees or want to adapt a hybrid work model in 2023, we are going to talk about how to write a remote work policy today. A remote work policy is a set of guidelines that outlines how employees should work outside the office. Having this policy in place will keep both your business and employees productive and secure while working from home.
How to Write a Remote Work Policy
Provide the tools needed for successful and secure remote work.
As their employer, you are responsible for ensuring that your employees have and use the proper tools for remote work. With the complexity of today’s hybrid work environment, a laptop and Wi-Fi connection may not be enough. Before deciding on what equipment they need to work remotely, several things must be decided. Here is a list of questions to ask when deciding on what equipment employees will need to work remotely.
• How will employees be communicating with their team members while working from home?
• Will they be video conferencing?
• Do employees need more equipment to take home to help make a more suitable remote work environment? For example, will they need a printer or an additional monitor?
• If employees purchase their own equipment will there be reimbursement or a stipend?
All employees that work remotely should have a VPN (virtual private network) in place. Using a VPN will secure company files and private client data. You can check our collaboration page for some of the products we implement to ensure our clients have a safe work from home environment.
Create a purpose and scope for a work from home policy.
Begin the process of writing your remote work policy by explaining why you created it in the first place. You should also explain how long the policy will be in place, for example, is it just for the time that people are out of the office for the holiday? Or will you be continuing to adopt a hybrid work model in 2023. You should also clarify who the policy pertains to. Is it just for established part-time and full-time employees or does it cover interns and new employees as well?
Define the eligible employees and positions for your work from home policy.
If your business plans on going entirely remote in 2023 or already is, there will be eligibility criteria you will want to include in the policy. Questions to ask are employees required to live in the same city and state as your business or can they be located anywhere in the world? If your business is only partially remote, you’ll want to outline who is working from home and when. For example, client facing roles, such as sales, may be only allowed to work from home two days per week. Also, it is often a wise idea to only allow the employees who have been working for you for at least three months to have the eligibility to work from home.
Include remote work expectations in your work from home plan.
Human resources had a lot of concerns during the start of the COVID-19 work from home boom. Their top concern was the productivity and engagement of their employees while working remotely. Setting up the norms and rules of work from home expectations can provide much needed transparency to ensure employee productivity and set your remote employees up on a successful path. The following is a list of things that need to be decided upon for proper collaboration and communication when employees are working from home.
• Can remote employees choose their own hours, or do you want them to work the normal 9 AM to 5 PM?
• If you allow them to have flexible hours, do they have to be available during a certain period? For example, between 7 AM and 7 PM?
• How much will they have to be online and available for the eight hours they work?
• What will be your responsiveness policy?
Depending on their workload, employees may not have time to answer communications right away. If this is the case, you can always put a policy in place that requires employees to respond to emails and messages in one to two hours if they are labeled important. For general communication, the response time can be as soon as possible. If there is a work related emergency that absolutely cannot wait, it is also good to have a way to call people over the phone or by video right away.
How often should remote employees check in with their managers and supervisors?
Most remote work policies require employees to check in at least once daily with their managers by phone or email. This also puts some responsibility on the manager to make sure employees are checking in.
There was a study done that discovered that almost half of remote workers believe that the best managers are the ones that are willing to communicate frequently and consistently. The best way to make sure that both employees and managers check in is to simply set reminders on their calendars or on their task management software.
Make sure employees have access to technical support from their home office.
Employees that are not working in the office should still have access to their usual office IT support. If they are experiencing technical difficulties, it is important to get them the help they need as soon as possible so that they can stay productive.
There should be a large assortment of ways to contact support and these may include phone, direct messaging, a ticket system, or video calling. Make the company support contact information readily available and easy to find in case it is an urgent issue.
Creating security rules for your work from home policy.
Cybersecurity and physical security should be one of the most important things in your work from home policy. There are a lot of risks associated with working outside the office both on and offline. Each employee should go through thorough security awareness training before being allowed to work remotely. The cybersecurity aspect of the training will cover everything from using a VPN to spotting phishing scams. The physical security part may go into using caution when taking client phone calls in public places to making sure onlookers cannot peek over your shoulder to see your laptop screen while working in a public place.
Tekscape is committed to providing proactive, responsive, and timely managed IT services support for our clients. We start with our comprehensive new client onboarding process designed to get your business up-and-running on our monitoring and management tools with as little disruption as possible. For over 15 years, we’ve successfully onboarded simple and complex IT infrastructure supporting multiple users including:
• Servers and Systems
• Collaboration (Phone, Video)
• Desktop, Email and Endpoints
• Microsoft Office 365 & Azure
• Security & Disaster Recovery
As your trusted partner, Tekscape becomes your go-to-guide for technology best practices aligned with your industry and your unique business goals. Our technology solutions can help reduce operational costs, eliminate downtime and decrease overall IT spend. We hope you enjoyed this article on how to write a remote work policy. Please comment below with any questions.