The ability to work remotely can be a dream come true for employees while simultaneously boosting a company’s bottom line and talent reach. Leveraging the full potential of this work style requires clear and well-defined expectations on both sides of the relationship. A remote work policy provides exactly that.
What is a Remote Work Policy?
In simple words, a remote work policy outlines some rules for remote employees. It is an agreement that contains information such as where and when the remote employee can work outside the office.
A good remote work policy is about enabling, not restricting. It doesn’t try to take away the flexibility that accompanies remote employment; instead, it embraces that and enables it by spelling out guidelines for performance – not just of the employee, but of the employer as well.
While every policy is unique to the company that implements it, it is important to note some aspects that a good remote work policy covers.
What Does An Effective Remote Work Policy Cover?
Official working hours may vary from person to person depending on where in the world they’re working from, but spell out what’s expected. Are there particular hours the employee must be available, or is it completely flexible as long as particular deadlines are met or a certain number of hours are completed? How should illnesses or absences be reported and handled?
There needs to be a proper track record of attendance and leaves in order to keep the employees accountable and disciplined. An attendance schedule or routine ensures better productivity. It is good for both the employer and the employee.
Clearly state who will be providing the necessary equipment. If you provide it, specify rules governing its use. For example, is the employee allowed to install software on the device? If so, what types of software are permitted? Will the company provide peripherals, such as a printer or is that the employee’s responsibility? Can a developer use the IDE of their choice or must they use the one provided by you? Even though it may seem obvious, it’s a good idea to spell out that the equipment must be exclusively used by the employee. This sets clear expectations for the employee.
If the employee is to use their own device, let them know of all the softwares they need to install for work purposes. Keep this conversation as a part of the late stages of the hiring process so that the employee knows if they’re to use their own devices/softwares or not. Otherwise they might assume you’re providing necessary equipment and the fact that you won’t shouldn’t come as a shock after the onboarding process.
3. Data Protection
Data protection is an extremely important aspect for any company. Provide detailed guidelines to ensure sensitive business data is safe from loss or compromise. This includes data that is stored on a device and external paperwork. For example, you could specify that privileged information must be kept in a protected folder and that company work shouldn’t be performed on public wi-fi unless using a VPN.
You can also prepare an NDA to ensure that company data and information isn’t leaked during and after the employee’s tenure with your company. This safeguards sensitive and confidential information related to your products, services, work culture and more.
Define which expenses are reimbursable and which are not. For example, will the company pay for a dedicated phone line or an internet connection? What about office supplies? Specify a procedure for submitting reimbursable expenses on a regular basis and a reimbursement schedule.
List the reimbursable expenses clearly in order to avoid assumptions by the employee. Create a separate document for the same that you can share with the employee along with the appointment letter.
5. Worker’s Compensation
The policy should point out that worker’s compensation coverage applies when the employee is working, but not when they’re performing non-work duties or when outside their designated workspace in other areas of their home.
If you’re to include worker’s compensation, as an employer you need to make sure that your remote work policy also has a clause of logging/tracking the work hours of employees in some way.
Even good things can come to an end. What is the protocol to follow if remote employment is ended? This should include steps for the return of equipment and recovery/removal of company data and other assets, if any.
This should also include pending reimbursement or payments, if any, to be made to the employee and on what date can the employee expect these payments to be made. If there’s an experience letter to be provided, mention about the same too.
Need Help With Your Remote Work Policy?
When you have remote employees, implementing a formal remote work policy covering points like these eliminate potentially nebulous aspects of the relationship. By clarifying expectations upfront before hiring them, you can ensure everyone’s on the same page, and dive straight into getting the work done.
DistantJob’s unique placement method makes some of the above points moot, of course. As an example, employees that we find you will stick to your company schedule.
But we always advocate flexibility – they are your employees, so you manage them your way. We are, of course, always available to make recommendations – just get in touch and we’ll share more about our recruitment and management process, and how we can help you hire the best developers while getting rid of red tape.