How to Craft an Effective Remote Work Policy

Months have passed since the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak. Currently, many companies arrived at the consensus that remote work is key to business continuity. But is the remote workforce model as easy as having teams on board with the drastic shift?

Many global mobility and HR managers care to disagree. They highlight the importance of crafting a remote work policy as a clear guideline to avoid any confusion. Companies such as Google and JP Morgan even started testing out remote work policies in the earlier months of the pandemic.

So where do companies start? What are some things to consider when creating an effective remote work policy?

Workplace by Facebook suggest starting with these essentials:

Who can work remotely, where, and when

Remote work policies should consider which employees are able to work remotely. 

Not all employees had the privilege of doing business as usual activities when countries mandated state-wide quarantines in an attempt to prevent the transmission of the virus. For instance, assembly workers were unable to perform work activities remotely.

However, for remote employees, the question is whether working remotely full time is beneficial for the company. Gallup’s research discovered that engagement rises when employees work remotely some of the time.

It further supports that when employees work remotely 60 to 80 percent of their time (or 3 to 4 days in a 5-day work week), optimal engagement is achieved. On top of that, these employees strongly agreed that their engagement needs in terms of relationships and development are met.

Another important thing to note is the location of remote work. With cafes and shared workspaces opening, do employees have the option to work in such places?

Essential work equipment

Equipment essential for work is already set in place in offices for employees, but now with a portion of a company’s workforce working offsite, providing employees with the necessary tools to perform their duties is vital. 

It’s important for remote work policies to state which tools companies readily provide for the employee and when they’re able to use them. 

Paycor, an HR software company, suggests some tools employers can supply:

  • Tech essentials
    • Computer
    • Internet connection
    • Allowance for increased internet and data
    • Communication accessories such as a headset or a webcam
  • Home office equipment
    • Ergonomically designed working chairs
    • Additional monitors
    • Printer
    • Scanner
    • File cabinet
  • Software and stationery
    • Collaboration tools (i.e. Trello, Asana, Monday)
    • Scheduling software (i.e. Google Calendar, Calendly)
    • File hosting services (i.e. Google Drive, Dropbox)
    • Video communication (i.e. Google Meet, Zoom)
    • Pens, notepads, post-it notes, and etc.

Working Hours

Unlike the traditional 9-to-5 in-office work, remote work is known for its flexibility. And many employers believe its flexible nature can be disastrous in the absence of a remote work policy to dictate the set working hours for employees to do their job-related tasks. 

In many cases, without clear boundaries on when and how long employees should work, employees tend to work overtime more frequently, leaving them burned-out. Although studies have shown an increase in productivity with a remote workforce, it’s important for talent managers to note that remote work can be counterproductive without any work policy set in place.