Remote working has become the new norm in various industries during the last eighteen months due to the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the way we work.
With the reduction in the threat of the virus, many companies are reopening their premises for employees, while others are evaluating the feasibility of full or partial remote working arrangements. During this transition, it is crucial for employers to assess their workplace and take necessary measures to ensure uninterrupted operations. Firstly, they must implement a work-from-home policy for employees.
In simpler terms, let’s establish what a remote work policy is.
To cater to the demands of an off-site work situation, a company can create a Remote Working Policy with specified procedures, policies, and organizational structure for remote working environments. All employees are accountable for reviewing and comprehending these directives.
Please elucidate the significance of the Remote Working Policy.
Creating a policy equivalent to the one made for the entire office is critical for the remote work environment. As the primary policy was likely established at a point when most or all employees worked on-site, it is probable that the applicable laws and conditions have altered since then.
Several employees may find remote work unfamiliar. Thus, it is fundamental to define detailed guidelines concerning responsibilities, check-ins, and other aspects to eliminate any prospects of misinterpretation, disagreements, and lack of cooperation.
Developing a strategy for remote employees
Consider Delegable and Non-Delegable Responsibilities for Remote Workers
While various jobs are feasible to do remotely, it may not be practical in every scenario. It is beneficial to engage in talks with the management and Human Resources to ascertain which tasks can be accomplished outside the office. It is crucial to establish the extent to which employees can fulfil their responsibilities and obligations while working remotely, whether on a regular or sporadic basis.
Specify measures to be taken in case of an emergency when someone is unable to safely and feasibly access the office.
Deliberate on Essential Resources
Providing essential resources is crucial to guarantee the productivity of your remote team. Depending on their roles and departments, they may require specific hardware and software to accomplish their tasks. While your policy may not encompass every platform, it is expected that you will facilitate work-related tools or reimburse employees for the tools they have purchased themselves.
Our in-house or contracted IT personnel will collaborate in determining the most efficient approach to aiding workers with their device setup. We will guarantee the provision of all necessary information to ensure successful installation.
Seek Advice from Company’s Legal Team or an External Specialist.
Examining the legal consequences of establishing a remote office is crucial and subject to change across sectors and companies. Seeking guidance from internal and external legal experts is advisable to guarantee a comprehensive policy. Additionally, it is critical to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements and make necessary modifications to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
To ensure the policy’s comprehensiveness, it must address compliance with relevant legislation, income considerations, and meeting minimum wage requirements for hourly rates. Discrimination concerns should also be duly taken into account.
Mitigate Cybersecurity Concerns
As an employer, it is crucial to have proper mechanisms in place to supervise employee cyber activities, especially when they are working remotely or from diverse locations. An IT team should collaboratively develop a strategy that accounts for the protection against data breaches and other cybercrime in your remote work policy.
Restricting employee access to certain software and hardware except when necessary is advised. Employing firewalls and virtual private networks (VPNs) can bolster the business’s and its data’s safety. Furthermore, requiring attendance at cybersecurity training sessions in your remote work policy is strongly recommended.
Create a Schedule with Precision
Working remotely can lead to losing track of time. Although staff working longer hours may appear advantageous, ensuring that employees do not experience overwork or tiredness is crucial. Providing a policy and a framework for adhering to appropriate working hours is recommended.
Employing time monitoring tools, for instance, can guarantee productivity and prevent exhaustion while working from home.
Allocate Time for Socializing with Friends and Family
During the pandemic, individuals have expressed sentiments of loneliness while working from home. Including breaks in the schedule for employee interaction can help manage stress and boost morale. It is probable that virtual happy hours and impromptu Zoom meetings will become more frequent in the future.
Promoting team building by arranging extracurricular activities for staff is advised, but it is not obligatory for them to attend.
Keep in Mind the Significance of On-Site Factors
When composing a remote working policy, the impact of any physical premises should be taken into account. This entails addressing the treatment of current business locations. For instance, will these sites be completely closed or will limited access be permitted? Furthermore, will the organization maintain the building and offer remote employment opportunities for staff? These questions should be taken into consideration while developing a remote working policy.
To avoid any misunderstandings, precise decision-making is imperative. When employees are needed to be on-site, guaranteeing their safety is crucial. For example, they may need to show proof of vaccination against particular illnesses or use protective gear at all times.
It is clear that numerous organizations will adopt a hybrid method of working both off-site and on-site once the current pandemic has subsided. Setting up guidelines to ensure that expectations and procedures are met is crucial to maintaining the safety and satisfaction of all involved in this new environment.