Does your business have a work from home policy? Hybrid workforces are increasingly common, and some candidates are even leaving jobs because they are not remote work friendly. PwC found that 74% of employees would like at least two days of remote work.
Remote work approaches range widely, from hybrid schedules with fixed in-office days to 100% flexible options with no in-office requirements. Establishing a comprehensive work from home policy – also known as a remote working policy – ensures everyone is on the same page about what to expect.
What is a remote working policy?
An effective remote working policy establishes clear rules and responsibilities for employees who work from home or at another offsite location. In general, these policies cover key considerations like who is eligible for remote work, how often (if at all) employees are expected to be in the main office, and whether compensation will change for remote or hybrid employees.
Why is it important to have a work from home policy?
There’s a lot more to remote work than simply permitting employees to stay home. For example, if employees are in different time zones, are there standard workday hours that everyone needs to follow? How quickly are employees expected to respond to emails or instant messages? Will your company reimburse for faster Internet or office supplies? Is their proprietary information an employee should only access when in the workplace? These are just a few of the logistical hurdles teams and their supervisors can run into without a clearly defined work from home policy.
What should be included in a remote work policy?
Comprehensive remote working policies include the following:
Eligibility requirements and compensation. Is remote work available to all employees or is there a probationary period? Is it limited to specific departments or job functions? If fully remote employees choose to move to other cities or states, will compensation be adjusted to match their new location?
Approval process. Is remote work at a manager’s discretion or does a department head or executive need to sign off?
Acceptable days. If an employee is hybrid, can they choose their own days, or are there specific days they must be in-person for team meetings or client work?
Availability hours. During which hours is a remote employee expected to be reachable? How quickly are employees expected to reply to an email or instant message?
Tracking time. If an employee is paid hourly or bills clients by the hour, what time tracking process should the employee follow?
Communication tools. What are the preferred methods for reaching team members and clients? Consider listing approved video chat platforms and instant messaging services, along with any that employees should not use due to security concerns.
Additional rules and benefits. Is a dress code required for virtual client meetings? Will employees receive a stipend for home office equipment?
Ways for employees to offer feedback. Hybrid and fully remote work is still fairly new to many employees. Include a feedback mechanism for improvement opportunities.
How do you create a work from home policy?
An existing employee handbook or onboarding documents can provide a good foundation for a remote working policy format. Next, review the bulleted list above and consider different use-cases for your company. Check with team supervisors and HR to understand their key concerns and learn which questions employees frequently ask about remote work.
Once you’ve settled on an approach, be sure everything in your policy is stated worded. Provide examples for rules like eligibility periods and expected hours. List any tools or training employees might need. Finally, give your business a bit of flexibility by including a line stating the company reserves the right to change this policy at any time.
What are the benefits of a remote working policy?
Remote working policy benefits include:
Improved work/life balance. Without a clear policy in place, employees may feel like they need to be “always reachable” and struggle to stop replying to email at the end of the workday, increasing the risk for burnout. A remote work policy clearly defines communication and access expectations so employees can feel comfortable closing their laptops after a set time.