The COVID-19 pandemic has been a game-changer for the ways industries are conducting business. New working models and trends such as remote working, a hybrid workforce, and flexible work schedules have gained momentum, and many believe they are the future of the working world. In this article by Autonomous, we are going to provide readers with a remote work policy template, break down what a remote work policy is and discuss how to go about working from home legally.
A remote employee policy is a document that outlines all of the requirements for allowing workers to work from home. The work from home policy acts as a guide and set of rules based on employees and the organization. It outlines who is allowed to work from home, how employees should go about doing their tasks, what is required of them, how their work is going to be evaluated, how they are going to be supported, and their legal rights as remote workers.
What Is The Purpose Of Remote Work Policy?
There is a lot for management to consider when creating a remote work policy. A work from home policy must provide a lot of detailed information if it is to be a good guideline for workers who work from home or work from anywhere.
The remote employee policy contains the terms and conditions for operating remotely and applies to employees whose primary location for working is not at the organization's offices. It can serve as a reference for both managers and employees, and it must be signed and certified by the employee to acknowledge that they have read the policy and comprehended the contents.
What Elements Should Be Included In The Policy?
A work from home policy is a temporary or permanent arrangement between staff and employers to work from a non-office venue for more than three days in the working week. As a manager wanting to implement a remote work policy you might be asking yourself what the elements of a remote work policy are? Not every policy is going to be the same but here are several elements that should be included:
If an employee's responsibilities can be fulfilled with specific software and hardware, they have proved to be trustworthy, disciplined, and self-motivated, and the employer has granted them approval, they could be eligible to work remotely.
2. Company Policies and Rules
Employees are to follow all of the terms and conditions of the Employee Handbook when working remotely. Regardless of the venue, all organizational policies on behavior, confidentiality, sick leave, and other issues remain in effect.
3. Expectations of the Workplace (Goal Setting)
Employees must adhere to their assigned work schedules, meet deadlines, maintain high-quality expectations, and file regular reports. Although some flexibility is permitted, the employee must continue to work fixed hours, five days a week, as often as possible.
This is why goal setting is so essential in the workplace. Setting goals and knowing what you want your employees to achieve in the working day is crucial. Without the actual involvement of teammates and managers to prompt and motivate employees because of the remote environment, it is vital for managers to regularly communicate and set SMART goals for remote workers.
4. Communication Requirements
Employees must be online and available for eight hours a day throughout the week and, at least once a day, employees must check in with their supervisors or managers. The necessary tools and equipment for engaging with members of the team and working on tasks should have been provided. Therefore, emails must be answered, and meetings must be scheduled weekly.
To keep workers updated, companies need regular, targeted, accurate, and customized two-way contact. Through clear and frequent communication, managers and employees are going to be able to see what is going on, ask questions should they not understand, and get input in real-time
The organization should provide computers, audio, and even look into the option of ergonomic office furniture to remote workers who need them to fulfill their work duties (when applicable.) The equipment is owned by the company and employees must keep it safe and refrain from misusing it.
While flexibility promotes work-life balance and improves health, remote working can lead to isolation, especially for employees who are not used to it. We recommend for managers to show emotional intelligence and empathy towards their staff.
Five Legal Problems That Can Arise from Remote Work
When drafting a remote work policy, keep the following five legal pitfalls in mind:
1. FLSA Violations
2. Discrimination and Disability-Related Issues
3. Work Environment Obligations
4. Data Security Concerns
5. Worksite Closures
What is a Hybrid Workforce?
A hybrid work model could become the future work model of the working world. Before learning how to sustain and grow a workforce you must understand the meaning and significance of a hybrid workforce. A hybrid workforce, also known as a hybrid workforce model, is made up of a group of remote staff who collaborate with a few onsite employees. To satisfy the company's demands and increase competitiveness, the work-from-home team and the office workers collaborate and integrate their jobs.
Managers can think of it as the ideal blend of onsite and remote working because it combines the best aspects of all job styles to provide a productive and pleasant working atmosphere. Hybrid working is also a great way to start moving from a virtual to an onsite job model and vice versa, as it allows you to prepare and test how your workers handle returning to the workplace and work from home.
The Bottom Line
During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people around the world worked from home. And the consensus is that remote working is going to continue even after the pandemic has passed.
This consensus is why business owners and managers need to establish and create a remote work policy. It explains who is permitted to work from home, how employees can carry out their responsibilities, what is expected of them, how their work is going to be measured, how they are going to be supported by the manager and organization, and their rights and responsibilities as remote workers.
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