Creating a remote work policy allows everyone to clearly understand their roles, responsibilities, and job duties when it comes to working from home.
At ActivTrak, we know that transparency and teamwork are the keys to any organization’s success. In order to help your remote employees succeed, managers and team leaders must clearly define, explain, and enforce remote work policies and requirements for all company workers. We also know that’s easier said than done!
Creating a remote policy is essential, but it can be a challenge for many organizations. With ActivTrak’s template for a thorough yet accessible work-from-home policy, you can help your remote employees understand their roles and responsibilities. Here’s everything you need to know about creating and implementing a remote work policy.
The Employee Experience At Home vs. In An Office Location
What does it take to transition from a “remote-friendly” enterprise to a “remote-first” one? Based on our experience making the switch ourselves, we know that creating a clear remote work agreement is key. The future of work has changed — 63% of high-growth companies today have already adopted a “productivity anywhere” workforce model, and 73% of all businesses are expected to include remote workers by 2028. Plus, the benefits of remote work speak for themselves:
- Increased productivity — Remote employees have fewer coworker distractions and interruptions in their home office than they would have in an office setting. Also, working from home lets employees complete tasks at their own pace and create a work schedule that helps them be most productive.
- Better work-life balance — Remote work allows for more flexibility during the day, making it easier for employees to handle childcare or rearrange their work hours in the case of an emergency. Also, employees can travel or move around freely when working remotely.
- Reduced stress — With better work-life balance and more flexibility, many remote workers feel less pressure when it comes to their jobs. Also, without having to commute to and from the office, remote employees can start their day earlier and maximize the hours in their workday.
- Increased employee retention — It’s highly likely that your part-time and full-time employees will be happier if they work remotely, meaning they’ll stay with your company longer. You also won’t have to lose employees if they change locations, start a family, or make other life changes that take them away from the original office space. Plus, because you can hire remote workers who live anywhere in the world, you can hire dedicated employees who want to be with your company long-term, no matter where they are.
These benefits notwithstanding, it can be challenging to get everyone on the same page when it comes to working from home. In a remote-friendly work location, for instance, in-office work is still most important. Management takes place in headquarters, synchronous (real-time) communication is the standard, and critical decisions are made in person. Remote work is a “perk” in workspaces like this as opposed to a sustainable and flexible work option, and there often aren’t remote work guidelines or policies attached to it.
When considering a remote-first work environment, there are important questions you have to ask yourself. What equipment will your enterprise provide to help support remote workers? What are the expected response times when working from home? Do in-office breaks and attendance schedules still apply? Should these rules be determined on a case-by-case basis or will all rules apply to everyone? Only a remote work policy can help you answer these critical questions.
Building a Remote Work Policy That Supports Remote Team Members
A remote work policy outlines your enterprise’s guidelines for working outside of the office, and clearly defines expectations to ensure all remote employees are empowered to work efficiently and effectively. The goal is also to minimize risk and ensure business continuity so remote workers are successful and supported no matter where they are.
What should your remote work policy look like? We’ve created a remote work policy template that can be your guide! Let’s break down each of the four recommended sections.
- Section One: Policy Overview
In this section, you should clearly define expectations for your remote workers and outline any general guidelines. This helps ensure that individual employees, as well as your entire company, will benefit from any and all remote work arrangements. Writing a policy overview also minimizes risk, promotes business continuity, and allows for productive and successful remote employees.
- Section Two: Company Policy & Eligibility
This section should cover three key elements — scope, eligibility, and requesting to work remotely. The scope will cover who your remote work policy applies to, along with important information like how many days an employee can work from home. Eligibility covers who can work from home, how often they can work from home, and the reasons employees can apply to work remotely. Cover this in more detail in the third section, which also includes how employees should file work-from-home requests, plus how managers or human resources professionals should approve and fulfill these requests.
- Section Three: Specific Terms
By setting some terms that remote workers must follow, you can make sure productivity stays high. List objectives, objectives and key results (OKRs), compliance policies, and standards for responsiveness. You should also set standards for schedules, equipment and software that your company will provide, and any applicable expenses and reimbursements. Finish off this section by covering workers’ compensation and benefits for employees who work remotely.
- Section Four: Resources for Remote Employees
In this section, insert a list of links to your company policies. This should cover employee agreements and a code of conduct, attendance and social media or cell phone policies, internet usage information, Anti-Discrimination/Equal Opportunity information, the employee handbook, and any other resources you feel are relevant for remote employees. You should also link to your employee monitoring policy here and any other conditions of employment.
Take Your Remote Work Policy To The Next Level
ActivTrak’s work policy template provides you with a launching pad for developing your company’s own remote work policy, and it’s meant to be modified to meet your specific business needs, goals, and company culture. To add an additional layer of remote worker support to your policy, include provisions that discuss how your company will use collaborative and transparent remote workforce management software to boost productivity.
With ActivTrak remote workforce management software, you can better understand your remote employee’s total work time, their most productive work hours, and how they spend their productive time. Granular user activity data lets you analyze productivity across multiple metrics so you can help your remote workers work wiser, and make adjustments based on data-driven insights. you can also assess employee workload balance and utilization levels in order to support healthy workloads and prevent employee burnout.
ActivTrak also enables you to view your employee’s most used applications, both individually and as a team. This feature makes it easier to differentiate the business-critical applications from the “nice-to-haves,” which goes a long way toward reducing your operating costs. Also, this remote monitoring capability helps reduce compliance risk because you can more easily identify the use of anomalous applications that might pose a security threat. With ActivTrak’s productivity monitoring software, your remote workers will be able to securely, efficiently, and productively work from home.
Go Remote-First with ActivTrak
More businesses are turning from “remote-friendly” offices to “remote-first” workspaces, especially in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. Working from home comes with numerous benefits for employees, but it can be difficult to get all your remote workers on the same page — especially when it comes to expectations and standards while working from home.
To answer critical questions about working remotely, create a remote work policy! This enables you to set important rules, guidelines, and terms, plus it gives your remote employees all the resources they need to work remotely. For an in-depth example of a work-from-home policy, download ActivTrak’s remote work policy template! Customize it for your own organization, and help get your remote employees on the right track, together.
- Remote work policy templates are helpful and can save some time during the drafting process. Remember to make changes as necessary and incorporate rules, guidelines, and recommendations that are unique to your enterprise.
- Although it’s important to be clear and concise when creating remote work policy protocols, be sure to allow for some flexibility. Your policy is likely to change as your enterprise grows and needs shift.
- If you plan on using workforce productivity software to gather user activity data, include that in your remote work policy as well.