How to Create the Perfect Remote Work Policy — Andy Sto

Major global shifts towards working remotely, means that many companies are transitioning quite rapidly to having a remote workforce. As a result, many companies haven’t had time to give thought to creating a remote working policy.

Your company probably already has policy documents that cover issues like professional conduct, discrinimation, confidentiality and sick leave. You can expand on these issues and specifically address remote work by creating a remote work policy.

Here we look at reasons to create a remote working policy and some easy steps to follow to draft one.

Reasons to create a remote working policy

For employers, having a remote work policy can help to reduce confusion among staff and managers, streamline communication, and save time on having to answer many staff questions about remote work. It can also help to ensure legal compliance and help to legally protect companies and employees.

Remote working policies address issues like preferred communication methods, work hours, expectations around meetings etc. A remote work policy also helps spell out all the rules, so employees know what’s permitted and what’s not — clearing up any possible confusion.

How to create a remote working policy

Below are some pointers to help you along this journey.

Specify who can work remotely

It’s therefore important that you clarify exactly which job roles and people are expected to be in the office, and who is able to work remotely. It’s best to make it clear whether working remotely is an option, or whether it’s expected.

Being transparent about remote working opportunities helps employees know what to expect. You may need to look at what types of job roles can easily be fulfilled remotely and which are critical as in-office job roles before you specify who can work remotely.

Detail privacy and security guidelines

For example, staff working from home or from coworking hubs using free wifi, may not have access to a secure server. That means that any data sent could be open to being intercepted, putting the security of the company and its clients at risk.

That’s why it’s a good idea to detail rules in your remote working policy about how staff access and share sensitive information and passwords. This may include using encryption, having strict access protocols in regard to accessing company data, and using virtual private networks (VPNs).

Outline what equipment and support is provided

Being clear about what the company will provide in terms of the monetary contribution towards a computer, network setup, and tools, helps employees plan and know what to expect.

If your company provides staff with resources like a computer, you may want to set rules about it only being used for company work, not for personal use to help avoid security issues.

Set Communication rules and standards

Instead, rather be clear from the outset about what communication tools employees should use, what software and apps should be used, how project management should be tracked etc.

Managers can also set expectations and rules around participation in virtual meetings, and regular check-ins. When staff work remotely and are based in different locations and time zones, response times may vary and scheduling meetings takes extra consideration. This should also be addressed in a company policy.

Furthermore, many remote companies allow staff to work flexible hours, depending on the nature of their roles. If this is something your company plans to do, then you may want to set these guidelines or rules down in your company policy.

Discuss collaboration and team building

It can also be a good idea to specify in your policy how often staff will have the chance to take part in team planning and brainstorming sessions. And you may also want to mention optional staff events like staff movie nights, staff book club, staff wellness wednesdays etc. where staff can come together and interact.

Regular team building activities can also be a good opportunity to build closer staff working relationships. Your remote working policy can make reference to these activities, so staff know what to expect. This can also contribute towards the company work culture.

Explain monitoring and evaluation expectations

Your policy may need to detail metrics for measuring performance. For example, sales positions may have weekly targets and you may need a tracking system or a way of regularly communicating progress.

Other roles may need to have quality metrics attached to performance reviews. Explaining your company’s monitoring and evaluation expectations in a remote work policy helps staff to plan for these activities in advance.

Set out the relevant laws

You may want to add legal provisions regarding handling sensitive data, client confidentiality, accessing company information, and may even want to create non-disclosure agreements for remote staff.

Final thoughts on how to create a remote work policy

With rising levels of remote work, it’s best to be prepared and start writing your work from home policy. There are many templates available that can be customised, making it easier to draft the document.

It’s important that any remote work policy addresses issues like data security and protection, how employees will be monitored and evaluated, what communication methods to use, and what procedures they need to follow.

Originally published at https://andysto.com on June 26, 2021.

Digital Nomad focused in #remotework and #digitalnomadism