What Is a Remote Work Policy, and How to Define a Good One?
Remote working is more common today than ever before in history. The pandemic of last year also caused the telecommuting process to progress much faster than before. There are currently laws in the United States that make telecommuting policies mandatory for any executive agencies. Under these laws, all companies are required to allow eligible employees to work outside the company. However, the lack of approved executive instructions in this field – like any other thing- will lead to chaos and a lack of desirable results. As a result, along with telecommuting’s peak, Remote Work Policy has also gained a special place.
What is Remote Work Policy?
Remote Work Policy refers to agreements that clearly define the employee’s working conditions outside the workplace. This instruction should include all aspects related to telecommuting.
Although there are currently some ready-to-use Remote Work Policies available for free download, you should write yours based on your specific conditions. However, if you use a pre-arranged one, you need to rewrite it based on your business terms.
This article teaches you what steps you need to take and what to consider to write a good Remote Work Policy.
Necessary steps to writing a perfect Remote Work Policy
Step # 1- Discover which jobs are eligible for remote work
Not all company responsibilities usually meet the requirements for telecommuting. For example, a web developer and customer service employee can easily do their job at home or anywhere else. All he/she needs is a laptop and an internet network. But, for example, a forklift driver cannot perform his duties remotely.
Therefore, the first step in forming a perfect Remote Work Policy is to identify the responsibilities that are covered by the telecommuting law.
Nevertheless, investigate through the occupations that require physical presence. See if there are any activities that they can do out of the workplace? For example, preparing a list of packages by the forklift driver or arranging the office paper works by the secretary. These are duties that may take a few days. So you can allow your secretary and forklift driver to enjoy the benefits of telecommuting a few days a year.
After specifying the list of responsibilities covered by the telecommuting law, you can move on to the next step.
Step # 2- Discovering Your Rules for Telecommuting
Employees who work outside the company are still your staff and must follow company rules. Typically, most company rules for telecommuting are enforced. There are laws such as nondisclosure agreement (NDA), working hours, ethical issues, sick and non-sick leave, and sexual harassment legal standards.
Extract the rules that apply to all staff and mention them in your Remote Work Policy. Employees are usually grateful to know exactly what you expect from them.
However, some rules may only apply to fable telecommuting. These rules must be well defined and adequately formulated. Rules such as flexibility of working hours, times when the employee needs to be available, provision of work equipment, etc.
Step# 3: Define the work schedule of the remote staff.
Using the WBS or any other managerial tools, break down the company’s goals -that you have already turned into tasks- into small pieces. You should carefully identify the responsibilities of telecommuters just like the employees present in the company. Assign each task to a person in charge and tell him what tasks to perform in what time frame. Until your employees don’t know exactly what to do, expecting high productivity is more of an illusion than a reality.
If some remote staff are to work as a team, you need to introduce them to each other and remind them of teamwork rules. For example, your web developer team should know that they must promote the company’s site within a week. Defining the remote staff’s work schedule is one of the prerequisites for developing a successful Remote Work Policy.
Step # 4: Identify the equipment needed by remote personnel.
Employees who work from home may need special equipment; the most notable of them are laptops and the Internet. Although most people own this equipment and utilities, you should investigate and plan to fix any defects.
What should you do if your staff does not have access to the Internet or doesn’t have a personal computer? Besides, you have to decide whether you will pay for the Internet and other personal belongings. All of these must be clearly stated in the Remote Work Policy.
Step # 5: Determine how you will measure the result.
When your employees are working outside the company, you need to set a plan to measure their performance.
Performance sensors vary based on the nature of the tasks. The best way is to talk to your employee and ask for his opinion.
However, in general, the following methods help measure remote workers performance:
This method is ideal for the content site manager, copywriter, content production, content modification, content quality control, or site SEO (items such as writing keyword, SEO title, headers, and meta description)
In order to count your employee’s active hours, you must use an appropriate software. One of the good apps here is Time Doctor. Time Doctor currently costs $ 10 per month to add each user. So you have to consider how many hours a day your telecommuter works. If your employee’s hours are low – this is more the case with freelancers – you can ask him/her to record his working hours with a stopwatch. This method may not be very reliable, but it is better to trust what the staff says for part-time hours.
In this method, a specific salary is considered for each particular project. It does not matter how many hours it takes your employee to complete the task, what is important here is the result. This method is usually suitable for jobs whose time can not be estimated. For example, a site SEO project, sorting out a bunch of cluttered files, or packages delivery.
In this method, the remote employee earns a percentage of each sold piece in the term of commission. He may sell several items in a few hours or spend a few days with no sale. This method is actually a win-win. Your staff will make more efforts to sell your products or services to earn more money. You can use this method in the Remote Work Policies of goods salesman, marketer, and insurance clerk.
The number of phone calls made:
This method focuses on the process, not on the result. For example, you can measure your customer service employee performance via this system. How many phone calls did he make per week? How many emails did he send, or, in general, how many customers did he communicate with?
Number of projects completed per week or day:
In this method, the employer defines a number of projects per week or day for each remote employee. The employee’s performance is measured through carrying out these projects, as well as timely delivery, quality, etc.
Step # 6: Identify the communication process.
The success of a telecommuting business depends mainly on how effectively staff communicates with each other. Clearly incorporate in Remote Work Policy what you expect from your workforce in the field of communications.
They need to know through what software, when, and with whom to communicate. Weekly and daily reporting time, communication channel, style of report, and how often to check-in are other communication issues you have to address.
To set this part of your Remote Work Policy, ask yourself the following questions:
- How often do I expect them to respond to their emails or messages?
- Do I need them in fixed hours to be online?
- Are their working hours fixed or flexible?
- How is the communication between team members?
- How should they report and solve their technical problems?
- When should their phone be available?
There are currently many applications for virtual team communication. Some of this software is free, and the rest is needed to be paid for. Skype, WhatsApp, Click-Up, and Google Drive are some of the tools you can use to plan and run your virtual communications.
SOJECT produces video conferencing software and other apps you need. We design what you want based on your needs and then produce it.
You can also apply for a long-distance workforce through this site
Step# 6: Security issues:
It is usually challenging to take care of the security of remote workers’ personal computers. However, you need to make sure that the appropriate antivirus is installed on their devices and they are protected.
Ask them to use the latest version of the software available for video conferencing sessions. Newer versions are usually more reliable in terms of security.
Also, if sensitive information is being exchanged, make sure it is secure.
Step # 7: Insurance, leave, and amenities.
Although telecommuters work outside of your company, they are still your workers. The facilities available to other employees should also be considered for them and mentioned in Remote Work Policy.
If you plan to insure them, list all the insurance’s responsibilities and terms in the agreement. This insurance covers both their health and the equipment they use. Also, if the welfare facilities are available to the company members, it is necessary to provide them to the remote employees as well.
Specify leave status. What holidays are they on? This is especially important for employees living in another country. Are they on holiday in the country where they live or should they follow your country’s calendar?