Insights for Executives

What should be in a remote work policy

Cedric Jackson

August 26, 2021

Even before the pandemic, there was a growing trend towards letting employees work remotely. That has only accelerated in the past year.

Now, more employees than ever want to work for a company with remote work options.

Some want to work remotely all the time. Others are happy to work remotely for a few days a week. (Must Know Statistics About Remote Work in 2021).

A remote work policy is an agreement between the company and employees about when and how employees can work when they're out of the office.

The last thing you want to do is create a remote work policy that mirrors the in-office environment.

When done right, your remote work policy can attract top talent and keep employees very motivated.

Here we'll cover what you should include in your remote work policy.

Decide If You Want to Allow Flexible Work

One of the first things to consider is if you want to allow flexible work. This would let employees set their own schedules.

They do not have to work during a particular set of hours. This works well for roles that entail minimal interaction with others. However, it is not suitable if the position involves regular interaction. 

For example, highly collaborative roles may not be flexible. The team members would need to reach each other during work hours.

Certain customer-facing roles may not also be flexible, such as call center jobs. 

Keep in mind too that more and more, employees want remote work for the flexibility. So we encourage you to find ways to have a flexible work culture, as much as possible.

Consider Which Roles Can Be Done Remotely

Another major consideration is which roles you can let your team do remotely.

This is generally easier for jobs with less interaction with others. Using messaging or video calls works well enough for many roles. However, some roles can be difficult to adapt to remote work.

For example, a recruiter could not provide office tours from home. Or maybe a role requires specialized equipment only available in the office. 

If a role can’t be fully remote, consider if it could be a hybrid work setup.

For example, could the recruiter work remotely on most days and come to the office when meeting someone in person? 

Preferred Communication Methods

There are dozens of remote communication methods.

Determine the ideal one for your company. This prevents employees from having to use different programs simultaneously. 

It's also important to consider what's best for your employees.

Remote work employees really love autonomy. Consider giving teams the power to choose how they'd prefer to communicate with each other, whether that's through video or text, as well as the software they use for that.

You can normalize a company-wide communication policy while still giving teams autonomy.

Outline the Performance Metrics

You likely already have performance metrics you use for employees.

Your remote work policy should outline how these work for remote employees. Use the original metrics as a guideline, but make changes where necessary.

The new metrics should account for the uniqueness and independence of working remotely. 

Decide If There Are Limits

Your remote work policy should outline how often employees can work remotely.

There is a wide scale between full-time remote work and in-office work. You can place limits on days of the week or days of the year employees can work remotely.

You can also set how many days per week or month employees can do remote work. 

This will largely depend on your company and structure. It requires careful consideration. 

Consider Expense Reimbursement or Stipends

Some companies provide remote workers with an office stipend or one-time reimbursement.

This helps ensure your team has the basics they need at home, such as computers and headphones.

Or maybe you will pay for internet access or an internet upgrade. You will have to decide what, if anything, you want to provide. 

Consider if you will only reimburse employees who work remotely full-time. Or if you will also reimburse those who take a hybrid approach.

Outline how the reimbursement or stipend will work and what it can apply to. 

Outline Cybersecurity Measures

Cybersecurity is already an important issue for all companies. It becomes more of a challenge with remote work.

Employees may use personal computers and will use their home network instead of the company network. Some of the biggest potential issues include unsecured networks and access to private information. 

To eliminate these problems, outline every aspect of cybersecurity. The policy should let employees know about the measures they must take and why. 

Examples of cybersecurity measures include:

  • Locking the computer screen when away from the device.
  • Using a VPN to connect.
  • Only using company-issued computers. 

Include Getting and Giving Feedback

You cannot ignore giving your employees feedback just because they work remotely.

Providing feedback helps your team stay on track. It also gives them more confidence in their work and boosts employee satisfaction. 

Feedback goes both ways. You want employees to feel comfortable offering suggestions. This is especially important if your company just started allowing remote work. 

The best way to do this is to incorporate regular one-on-one sessions.

Mention these in the remote work policy, so there are no surprises. Determine how often the meetings will be and how long. 

Decide If Remote Workers Can Be International

Once you settle the issues discussed above, look at your policy so far.

If you are allowing full-time remote employees, consider if there will be any geographic limits.

Specifically, consider if you will consider international employees. This can complicate matters with taxes and laws, but it may still be worth it. 

How Other Companies Do Remote Work

A good place to start when thinking through your remote work policy is to look at how other remote companies do it.

Besides, it's pretty fascinating stuff! (We might be biased haha).

Here's a round-up we put together of how the top global companies are approaching remote work.

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