A Guide to Setting Up an Effective Remote Work Policy

A remote work setup was unthinkable for most companies in recent decades, but rapid technological breakthroughs made such an arrangement possible. And due to recent world events, it’s not an exaggeration to say that remote work has become critical for many businesses.

While some companies fear allowing employees to work from home could lead to a less efficient workforce, statistics have proven otherwise. At least 77% of remote workers claim they’re more productive when working from home. Moreover, 69% of millennials are willing to give up work perks for more flexible working arrangements.

While the current situation and trends suggest that a remote setup is viable, it’s best not to instantly jump the gun. Implementing a work-from-home (WFH) policy without the company preparing for the change only spells trouble for everyone.

Prevent this dilemma from affecting your company by having a thorough understanding of remote work and the necessary adjustments to make it successful. This article will arm you with the proper knowledge to give your employees an ideal remote working environment.

What is a Remote Working Policy?

A remote working policy functions just like how it sounds. This agreement between an employer and their employees defines how the work-from-home arrangement will be implemented in the company. It should detail the changes in every facet of the organization—from hiring to operations and the equipment needed to execute or implement the arrangement.

The agreement can be temporary or permanent. While many were forced to create remote work policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, positive feedback from employees and the level of performance observed in remote teams may convince more companies to adopt the setup permanently.

Why Do You Need a Remote Work Policy?

The benefits that employees receive working from home are clear. While it may seem that employers get the short end of the stick with this arrangement, certain perks await them as they establish a remote work policy.

Here are the top reasons you should set up a remote work policy for your company:

  • Reduce unplanned leaves 

Employees take leaves due to health concerns. Preventing employees from reporting to work when they have an illness is a great way to curb unexpected leaves and prevent the illness from spreading to other employees. It also helps employees suffering from burnout by giving them more opportunities to control their work-life balance.

  • Mitigate compliance risk 

If your company is ill-equipped to immediately change how you should operate based on new protocols— like limitations on the number of people who can be at a given space at any time—you could be subject to fines and other legal implications. Having your employees work away from the office is a great way to avoid potential conflicts with the concerned agencies.

  • Impose order and clarity 

Employees may feel excited about the prospect of working from home, but this setup may produce misunderstandings such as their expected time to start working. Having a policy will prevent any kind of confusion.

  • Make remote work scalable 

Having a blueprint for remote work will make any future transitions within the company easier. Moreover, the policy can serve as a guideline for virtually hiring new employees, giving you the agility needed to address challenges as you hire amidst lockdowns.

  • Provide a stepping stone for a hybrid work setup      

While the benefits of a work-from-home policy are great, some might find a middle ground between office work and remote work to be more viable. Having a policy set in place can guide the company when hiring new employees and implementing other similar processes.

Questions to Ask When Making a Remote Work Policy

It’s easy to get frantic when you’re setting up a policy that should be specifically aligned to your company’s situation. There are plenty of cogs that must be put into consideration, and it can be easy to lose track of any (if not all) of them.

Here’s a handy guide to help you understand the things you must check before rolling out a remote work policy so that everyone in your company can benefit from it.

  • Who can work from home?

This question is the first one you must ask. Certain departments of your company simply cannot do their work remotely. For example, if you’re into manufacturing, you need your quality assurance staff to work on-site. Identifying which personnel can work from home will help clarify the situation to everybody.

  • When can they work from home?

Will the policy be temporary or will it be the new status quo for your organization? Another factor to consider is the circumstances that will allow employees to work from home. Think ahead and ask questions like “Will there be set days when employees should report to the office” or “Will there be WFH credits that employees can use should they plan to go on leave”. 

It would be best to set a hard limit as to how often your employees can work remotely. This will also help you plan how to supervise your remote workers whenever they’re not physically present in the office.

  • What are the current laws and regulations concerning remote employees?

Remote employees are a relatively new concept, so understandably, there are a handful of laws that protect them. However, the growing number of legislation shows that governments haven’t forgotten about this sector of society.

Consult with your lawyers to see if the government has specific policies surrounding remote work. This way, you can protect your employees and your company from any legal complications.

  • Do you have data security concerns?

If you want to implement a remote work policy, now would be the best time to assess your company’s data infrastructure. Are your servers powerful enough to handle input coming from remote places? Are they completely secure from any form of a data breach?

If that isn’t the case, make sure that your systems are updated and protected before greenlighting a remote work setup.

  • What are your technological capabilities?

Ensure your data security measures are in order. Is your company equipped with the hardware and software necessary to create a successful working environment?

If your answer to this question is no, it’s time to consider getting upgrades. The last thing you want to happen is your employees struggling to work from home due to technological limitations.

  • What are the expectations for remote workers?

Define what employees are expected to accomplish and comply with while they are working from home. What are the forms they are expected to complete? What would be the preferred means of communication across teams?

If your employees know what they’re expected to do while working from home, any sort of mishaps can be avoided moving forward.

What Needs to be in a Remote Work Policy

Once you’re ready to adopt a work-from-home policy, you can begin crafting your policy. Take extra steps to ensure that the policy is spotless and covers every area relevant to your company.

To make sure that your remote work policy is comprehensive enough, we’ve listed factors that are critical to a successful remote work agreement.

  • Purpose and Objective

Identify what you want to achieve with the remote work setup. Make it clear to your employees why the company is opting for this work setup in the first place.

  • Eligibility and Acceptable Circumstances 

Define which employees are qualified to work from home based on their job responsibilities. For example, employees who work in digital marketing can more or less operate remotely, while showroom staff need to be present physically to do their job. Apart from that, clarify in what circumstances can employees avail of the WFH arrangement, like medical and health reasons or distance from the workplace. 

  • Request and Approval Process      

Employees looking to work from home shouldn’t find the process complicated. Create a system that will allow your workers to easily apply for a remote work setup. Also, make sure the approval process is quick and efficient.

  • Communications and Availability     

Communicate with your remote employees when you expect them to be online. This way, you don’t have to scramble to find a remote employee that isn’t online. Establish measures and communication practices that will allow employees and managers to collaborate and interact. 

  • Performance Expectations      

Set expectations to make sure your employees are working effectively even if they’re off-site. Their key performance indicator (KPI) targets while working from home should still be the same when they’re on-site. It would be useful to track your employees’ performance and efficiency using monitoring software.

  • Equipment and Data Security 

State the equipment that will be predominantly used while in this arrangement. Also, specify the data security measures that will be taken to secure your company’s data and devices.

  • Violations and Consequences

Enumerate the possible violations your employees might make while working from home and the corresponding disciplinary measures for such actions. Clearing things up in this area will prevent any misunderstandings should an employee deviate from the agreed rules.

Create Your Company’s Success Remotely

If done correctly, remote work can help your company thrive in these uncertain times. Aim for a seamless transition to remote work by crafting a thorough policy and bringing in the right people for the job.

If you need help in creating the perfect remote team for your needs, contact our experts at Manila Recruitment. We are a recruitment agency in the Philippines with years of experience and an expert team of recruitment professionals who can provide you with top-notch services.

Ron Cullimore