It is one thing to create a remote work policy and quite another to create a remote work policy that your employees will own and love.
The importance of a corporate remote work policy cannot be overstated, considering that remote work is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
Reports tell us that 67% of companies who have instituted a work from home policy expect remote work to be permanent or long-term.
Other reports show that employees are loving the idea of being able to work from home, with 65% reporting increased productivity while working from home, with 86% of them rating their productivity as good or excellent.
If you’ve decided to go remote or to test the remote work waters, a remote work policy will help you to provide cohesion throughout your organization.
In this post, I’ll highlight key ways to create a robust remote work policy that works, one your employees will love and own, but first
What Really is a Remote Work Policy?
According to Wonder.Legal, a remote work policy is a guideline that regulates employees that work from a non-office location.
Because remote work is decentralized, it is important that employees work as a distributed team. A remote work policy lays out the groundwork for this to happen.
Without one, your remote work experiment may hit the rocks and negatively impact your bottom line. Let’s see some other benefits of creating a remote work policy.
5 Key Benefits of Creating a Remote Work Policy
There are certain benefits of creating a definite corporate remote work policy.
- It establishes clear expectations from employers and employees
- It helps to hold employers and employees accountable
- It eliminates confusion and guesswork by establishing clear guidelines, parameters and frameworks
- It ensures productivity, business continuity and can even help staff to maintain work-life balance
- It helps to bridge gaps that can negatively impact team output and organizational goals
Above all, a robust remote work policy helps to keep everyone on the same page.
For instance, Shopify has announced its plan to allow its 5,000 employees to work remotely indefinitely. Staff were also allowed to carry their essential office gears home to their home offices.
Other companies are allowing staff work from home 2-3 days a week throughout 2020. These are examples of things to include in a remote work policy.
Key Ways to Create a Robust Remote Work Policy that Employees Will Love
This is perhaps the most important aspect of creating a remote work policy that your employees will love, embrace and own. Request for their input, what and what would they like to see in their remote work policy?
This is a far better approach than creating a 5,000 word document without a single word of employee input. You can foster ownership by making sure their voice reflects in your remote work policy.
First and foremost, you should conduct a poll to ascertain the general employee sentiment regarding remote work. It may surprise you to learn that the majority of your employees actually prefer working from the office.
For instance, most Wall Street workers might miss the banter and camaraderie that characterize trading on the floors of the NYSE. JP Morgan Chase is asking trading staff to return to work primarily because of this.
Do your Research
After ascertaining that your business is remote work friendly, and that your employees in fact want to take it for a spin, or that is the last resort, you should do your homework before drafting and implementing a work from home policy.
Do your research by understudying reports and the remote work policies of other companies in your niche, vertical or industry. For instance, a recent Blind survey of 2,800 employees across Silicon Valley, New York and Seattle found that 66% of them were willing to go remote and relocate out of those areas.
In fact, 20% of San Francisco respondents opted for a pay cut of up to 20% so they can relocate and work remotely. Findings like these can help to define your remote work policy.
During the course of your research you should also identify and collate the key points of other companies remote work policies you come across. This will give you a headstart when creating yours.
Consider Employee Personality Traits
Another key thing to consider when developing your remote work policy is staff personality traits, work ethics and general attitude to work. If a particular staff has repeatedly missed deadlines and done shoddy work even with supervision, they may do worse if allowed to work remotely.
Because remote work requires self-discipline, initiative, excellent communication and good problem solving skills, not every employee may be suited to it. In your remote work policy, you may indicate that staff have to earn the right to work from home by delivering on certain agreed parameters or metrics.
Staff who repeatedly fall short should be asked to return to the office. Staff who have to be closely supervised or micromanaged will likely struggle with remote work.
Set Goals and Measurable Metrics
It is also very important that employers set clearly established goals and metrics by which employee performance and results will be measured. There are two main benefits to this approach.
Firstly, it allows employers to review compliance and performance, and optimize processes for better results. Secondly, it allows employees to understand expectations and to measure their individual progress.
Employees should identify and set clear goals. Goals that are SMART
There are several softwares and tools that can help you measure specific metrics like attendance, working hours, tickets resolved, etc. In fact, you should never attempt to implement remote work without such softwares and tools in the first place.
Use Remote Work Policy Generators
There are certain tools that can help you to easily create or generate a remote work policy in minutes. These tools work on a garbage-in-garbage-out basis. Hence it is important to have all your bases covered before using them.
Nimvelo, Wonder.Legal, LMGSecurity, Workable, and SixtyFifty all provide customizable tools and templates to help employers create and generate remote work policies to pilot their remote work experiment.
Most HR departments are responsible for conceiving, implementing and overseeing remote work policies across organizations. These and other tools can be handy when you need to create yours.
In combination with the aforementioned points, small businesses can also find remote work policy generators useful and helpful in planning and executing a robust remote work policy that employees will love.