All companies have standards for the office, but remote work can complicate those rules.
That many companies’ remote work policies and practices are still a work-in-progress is not a surprise. But in 2021 businesses that don’t figure out things like what extra benefits to offer remote workers and how to pay and manage those workers will fall behind in the quest for talent. That’s because most companies expect the work-from-home mandate to continue, at least through the first quarter of 2021 and maybe beyond.
The lack of formal policies and principles around alternative work arrangements isn’t that surprising, though. And one of the most complicated parts of any policy might turn out to be how remote workers are paid if the employer plans to compensate them differently from in-office employees.
Guidelines to help set your remote work policy
Unspoken or informal policies are more than common. Nevertheless, unspoken rules can create confusion. To set employees up for success, they need to understand what their expectations are–whether they are working in or out of the office. Without formal work policies, a disconnect can form between employees and their supervisors, which is unproductive and unhelpful.
First, companies need to determine what positions are eligible to work remotely and state them in their policy. By analyzing their work and operating model, companies can decide which positions can and should be done out of the office. Some companies, however, may not have any jobs that can be conducted remotely. Companies without remote-compliant positions should state that from the beginning, eliminating any future requests or inquiries about remote work.
If a company does allow remote work, then availability expectations should be outlined in the policy. Whether it’s instating a blanket 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work requirement or letting employees set their own schedules, either should be put in a policy. Setting schedule requirements from the start eliminates any possible frustration between employees based on time.
It may help to define whether or not a remote employee is expected to respond to a coworker immediately, and also specify what modes of communication should be used. Organizing expectations around communication creates a healthy relationship between employees and supervisors.
4. Productivity measurements
Remote work policies should specify how an employee’s productivity will be measured. Productivity can be measured in a number of ways, whether it be on the time spent on the project, the number of cases resolved or the number of client interactions, companies need to determine how they want to evaluate their employees.
Remote workers need the right tools to complete their work. Therefore, companies need to state what equipment they are willing to offer to these employees. If they expect employees to provide their own computers, for example, then they need to specify that.
6. Physical environment
If a company has a preference in the physical environment an employee works in, put it in the policy. Some companies prefer or require an employee’s physical environment approval prior to working remotely.
A big problem with remote work is security. Most companies work on secure networks, but when information is taken out of the office, security is not guaranteed. If companies have a specific request then that should be stated in the policy.