Apart from reaping tangible benefits like lower operating costs (from saving on things like rent and utilities), companies usually notice improved staff morale and productivity because of more flexible work schedules, and for some, relief from traffic-congested commutes.
But to keep this working arrangement healthy, it’s necessary to have a remote work policy. This policy isn’t meant to take away the flexibility inherent in working remotely, but provides guidelines and boundaries that maintain order and allow staff to function at their best.
Here are eight points that should be included in your business’ remote work policy.
1) Office rules apply
Even though your remote employees are not physically in the office, they still need to adhere to all relevant rules outlined in your employee handbook. For example, if you have defined policies concerning work-related electronic communication, these rules continue to be applicable.
Every business is different regarding equipment policies. If you’ll provide remote workers with all equipment they’ll need to work from home, define rules as to how the equipment should be used. For example, can employees load non-work software on their laptops? Can equipment be used by non-employees?
You may need to ensure your remote staff have a homeowner’s insurance policy that covers using a part of their home as an office. If additional money is needed to accommodate this, determine who will pay the added expense. For insurance purposes, many small companies also stipulate that client meetings not be held in home offices.
4) Workers’ Comp
It needs to be established that workers’ comp only applies if remote employees are injured while performing work-related activities.
5) Reimbursable Expenses
Having remote employees can introduce new reimbursable expenses. Eliminate the questions by defining in this policy what is or is not reimbursable.
6) Data Security
In our digital age, all work data is vulnerable, but especially when apart from a secure office system. Create guidelines remote staff must follow to ensure sensitive business data is not lost or exposed.
7) Tax Deduction
It may be possible for your employees to file for home office tax deductions. Your policy should state employees are responsible for applying for these deductions themselves. Here’s more information from the good folks at the IRS.
This section should include reasons why a remote work agreement can be terminated. Also, if a remote worker leaves your company, outline the protocol for what steps need be done prior to his/her exit. This includes equipment return, data removal, and possibly a home office inspection.
(Photo credit – TylerIngram)