Things to Consider When Creating (or Reviewing) a Remote Work Policy

As the current pandemic has necessitated a rapid transition to remote work for many businesses, we are committed to helping simplify the process. To that end, we have compiled a list of recommendations to assist organisations in developing or modifying a remote work policy that is suitable for their particular needs.

The items listed below can be found here.

  • What is a remote work policy?
  • Why would you want one?
  • What should it include?
  • Making the policy
  • Resources for Free

What is a remote work policy?


This is an HR agreement between the employer and an employee that specifies when and how they may work outside of the office. It also serves as a set of expectations and rules.

The policy should clearly define the legal rights of employees who are eligible and able to carry out their duties remotely. This should include outlining the rights of employees to work remotely and the rights of employers to require employees to work remotely when necessary.

It is essential that this policy incorporates best practices to ensure a smooth transition and minimise any potential for confusion. This policy could be designed with either a temporary or permanent solution in mind.

Why should you allow for remote work?


It’s a statutory necessity.
The documentation you need may vary based on local legislation; familiarise yourself with what you need so you don’t get caught off guard.

Employment and equal opportunities regulations serve to protect businesses from potential violations. It is recommended that corporations regularly review their insurance policies at least once a year to ensure their continued compliance with relevant laws and regulations. This can also help to ensure that workers are aware of the correct procedures to follow.

Laurel Farrer’s insightful essay has identified six scenarios in which a business may inadvertently be in violation of the law with regards to remote work.

  1. The paperwork must define the extent of the work
  2. An employee must be provided with occupational health and safety regulations
  3. Information safety
  4. Labour and employment laws
  5. Tax regulations
  6. Immigration regulations

In addition, it helps workers to comprehend:

  • How to Handle Interpersonal Relationship
  • Data Security Measures
  • Their legal standing
  • How their management relationships might change as a result of their wellbeing
  • Their employment is not at risk because they are distant

What should it include?


The policy should help to define the mutual expectations of both the employee and the company. The contract is not only intended to provide legal protection, but also to facilitate the successful operation of the organisation and to ensure that the employee has a clear understanding of the differences between their role in the office and their role while working remotely.

  • Working times
  • Insurance for legal rights
  • The necessity for cybersecurity
  • Tools
  • Expenses (if applicable)
  • Strategies
  • Termination

Developing the policy:


When developing your policy, consider the following:

  • Review current operating procedures
  • Employees should be involved in the process.
  • Use simple wording
  • Keep the policy up to date.

Work alongside HR, legal and financial departments in creating a remote working policy.

  • Outline how various positions will function remotely.
    • HR requires different things than a developer.
  • Provide clear instructions for working from home
    • Consider several situations and develop communication tools and methods for each:
      • Meetings with the whole team
      • Kickoff meeting with clients
      • Manager 1:1s
      • Performance evaluations
      • Employee learning and development initiatives
  • Provide the required tools to your workforce
    • Make certain they feel at ease with them.
    • Are stipends or equipment purchases paid for by the school?
    • Tools and software have ramifications for communication and engagement, as well as cybersecurity.
      • Included resources:
        • Communication within the team
        • Video conferencing equipment and software
        • Software for Collaboration

Consider the following:

  • What are the legal requirements in your jurisdiction for remote working?
    • Country to country law is different.
  • Is the position suitable for a remote worker?
    • How do you handle the demands of this position if you are not there?
  • Is management ready? Will they need more training or assistance?
    • A manager should preferably go through training if she has no prior experience managing a remote workforce.
  • Are there any tax or benefit implications?
    • It depends on which country or state you live in.
  • Provide recommendations for using WiFi and VPNs.
    • Check to ensure they are working properly.
  • Make room in the policy for the development and preservation of work relationships.
    • Use social media as a virtual water cooler to improve management engagement.
    • Monthly, quarterly, and annual scheduling are recommended.
    • Useful Suggestions:
      • Hours of operation
      • Hangouts on Video (non-work)
  • If an employee is 100% remote, verify that any other applicable rules, such as those signed by their in-office colleagues, are likewise signed.

TechRepublic’s Macy Bayern provides ten principles for your remote work policy:

  1. Eligibility
  2. Availability
  3. Productivity measures
  4. Responsiveness
  5. Productivity evaluations
  6. Help with technology
  7. Termination with cause
  8. Physical surroundings
  9. Security
  10. Client privacy is respected.

Free resources include:


It is important to keep in mind that the remote work policy of your company should be crafted to address the specific needs of the organisation. To begin creating the best policy for your company and its employees, consider utilising the following resources as a starting point:

  • An example of an employer remote work policy from Remote.co
  • Guidelines for Operating Procedures at The University of Texas at Austin for Telecommuting
  • The Local Authorities’ Policy on Remote Working is an example of a policy template
  • [Working from home, flexible hours, and remote work policies] From Owl Labs
  • How to Make a Remote Work Policy Work for Businesses and Employees from Smartsheet
  • An explanation of how the University of Washington’s HR department establishes and enforces telework policies and procedures
  • An example of an enterprise Seattle telecommuting policy
  • A Telework Policy from The Telework Pilot Project can be written
  • The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides telework guidance on its official website, Telework.gov. This website is a comprehensive resource for Federal employees and their supervisors to learn more about telework and how to effectively implement and manage telework programs. The site includes information on the benefits of telework, how to get started, tips on developing telework policies and agreements, and other resources to help Federal employees and their supervisors successfully manage a successful telework program.
  • Companies using Gitlab for remote work

Having a remote team is only one aspect of an effective policy; trust and proper communication are essential for maintaining the motivation and productivity of your remote staff. It is important to build trust by creating a culture of openness and respect, and to ensure that communication is clear, consistent and timely. By doing so, you can ensure that your remote staff feel valued and empowered, and can remain productive and motivated, despite the distance.

Take the time to ensure that relationships and communication are at the forefront of your team’s remote operations. Pay close attention to how you manage remote work, and make sure that you create the appropriate environment for effective relationships and communication. This will lead to a better performance from your team.

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