This COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies into remote work without much warning, but companies and employees adapted. Seventy three percent of executives said the transition to remote work was a success. Sixty eight percent of people say they’re successful working remotely, and 70 percent of leaders say that working remotely is the same or better for their team’s work performance.
Once the threat of the pandemic passes, 83 percent of workers want to telecommute at least once a week, and 55 percent of employers believe most of their workers will be able to do so. It’s clear that COVID-19 has accelerated the rise in remote work.
This is a noteworthy shift for many companies, and it’s important to support your employees and managers with an updated remote work policy. Here are some things you may want to include:
Be very clear about which employees are eligible for remote work. This may include a breakdown by title, location, or tenure. For instance, you may ask new employees to work from the office for their first 60 days.
Note whether remote work is at the manager’s discretion, and outline the process for requesting it.
State whether there are certain hours everyone should be online and available for collaboration. Some common ways to do this include:
- Set work schedule: Employees are expected to work set hours each week, such as 8:30am until 5:30pm, Monday through Friday, in their local timezone.
- Core work hours: Set hours each week when you expect all employees to be available for collaboration. For instance, 10am-3pm Pacific Time.
- Fully flexible schedule: Employees can work any time that best suits their needs.
If you have hourly employees working remotely, be specific about when overtime is allowed.
3. Trial period
Remote work isn’t for everyone. Some companies offer remote work on a short-term trial to see how well it works for each employee. If you go this route, it’s best to provide some notice if any changes need to be made, so everyone can adjust accordingly.
Include the frequency at which employees may work remotely. Is it allowed full-time, a set number of days each week, or only as-needed?
As an example, Figma expects everyone to come into the office on the same two days each week to “maximize connection and serendipity.”
If you offer full-time remote work options, note whether there are any times employees are expected to come into the office. For example, for a quarterly all-hands and annual employee retreat.
5. Expectations for external meetings
If your remote employee’s role requires external meetings, set expectations for how to conduct those. For example, outline what an acceptable backdrop for virtual meetings looks like, how to ensure good audio quality for phone calls, and acceptable venues to meet clients or vendors in person.
Be upfront about your process for employee relocation. State whether relocation needs to be approved ahead of time, and whether compensation and benefits could change as a result. For instance, Facebook requires employees to request a permanent change in their jobs if they’d like to work remotely, and will adjust compensation to reflect the local cost of labor.
7. Equipment and expenses
Outline what equipment you will provide for remote employees, what expenses you will reimburse, and what the employee is responsible for.
- Desk, chair, laptop, monitor, and peripherals
- Phones and phone lines
- Utilities, like internet or electricity
- Co-working space
Some companies may provide needed equipment and stipends for other home office expenses, while some expect employees to handle those. Let your team know upfront.
8. Childcare policy
Share your expectations for dependent care. While it’s common to expect employees to have childcare arrangements during work hours, many companies are being more lenient during COVID-19. Outline your expectations so they’re clear, and applied consistently throughout your organization.
Each employee should receive training to ensure company data is secure—especially when working remotely. Remind employees to use secure passwords, log off when they’re away from their devices, and avoid public WIFI. You may also want employees to install a remote-wipe solution to erase hard drives in the event of equipment theft.
Finally, you may want to include common exceptions to your remote work policy. For instance, employees at high-risk for COVID-19 may be approved for full-time remote work once hired, rather than waiting the usual 60 days.
Final thoughts on updating your remote work policy
The world of work has changed drastically over the past year, and it’s important to update your policies to reflect those changes. Your remote work policy, in particular, provides guidance to employees and their managers to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This ensures consistent application between departments, managers, and locations.