Do you have standards or policies for your remote employees?
Over the past several years, businesses like yours have had to find some creative ways to remain viable due to the worldwide health and safety concerns. You may have reevaluated your working environment and offered your employees options that would increase their levels of comfort in order to maintain productivity during the work slowdown. Among the changes many businesses made was the opportunity for employees to work remotely, often from the security of their own homes.
You may have learned that some of your employees are happy to be back to work in their New Jersey offices while others enjoyed working from home so much that they want to continue doing so even as things get back to normal. If you are considering allowing some employees to work remotely, you probably already know it will take more than laying down a few ground rules. You will likely need a comprehensive policy that will cover as many contingencies as possible.
What should work-from-home policies include?
Remote work may be something you offer to employees one or several days a week in conjunction with their time at the office. It could also be a fulltime alternative for those who meet certain standards of eligibility. Businesses that offer a work-from-home option often see less absenteeism and greater productivity from those who appreciate the flexibility. Nevertheless, your policies for working from home should address the following questions:
- Which job functions will qualify for remote work?
- How will employees gain approval to work from home?
- How many hours will remote employees work each day, and will those hours be a set schedule?
- How will you streamline communication between in-house and remote employees, including digital recording of employee receipts?
- How will your company ensure your remote employees maintain high standards of security and confidentiality?
- Will you require your remote employees to follow the same dress code and other codes of conduct as your in-house employees?
If working from home is a new idea for your company, chances are you will have to provide some training for those who qualify for remote status. This includes time management techniques and timekeeping as well as the use of critical technology. Employees working from home will still need technical support, perhaps at odd hours, and you should be ready to supply that.
Additionally, to maintain a team environment, you might want to schedule in-house meetings or require your remote employees to attend training sessions virtually. Finally, your policies for remote workers will not be set in stone. You can expect to review them frequently and adjust them as necessary, especially when those working from home express concerns or suggestions for improvement.