May 14, 2023

Remote work policy: dos and don'ts for companies to ensure success and productivity

Companies that do not offer remote work are at risk of falling behind their competitors. Learn how offering remote work to employees can strengthen your business.

Remote work policy: dos and don'ts for companies to ensure success and productivity

Creating a successful and productive remote work policy isn’t a simple task, so we’ve gathered our expertise in the field to help you get it right from the start. Here, you’ll find why such a policy is important for modern workplaces, best practices for creating a clear and tailored policy, and dos and don'ts for creating a comprehensive policy that ensures success for your business.

What is a remote working policy?

In recent years, remote and hybrid work has become increasingly popular among businesses and employees. Thanks to advancements in technology, it’s now possible to work from anywhere in the world, often on any type of mobile device, and stay connected with your team.  

However, this new way of working brings new challenges and responsibilities. This is where a remote working policy is useful for companies. This document outlines the expectations and guidelines for employers and employees when working remotely. It serves as an agreement that describes who can work from home, what the expectations are, which off-site set up is offered, and how cooperation is executed.

By setting these parameters, companies can ensure that everyone in the organisation is working together in the same conditions.

Why do companies need a remote working policy?

This is a common question, and the answer differs depending on the organisation. The particulars of a remote work policy will vary depending on factors such as company size, industry, and applicable working laws. However, there are often two main areas that benefit from having a remote work policy. 

First, a remote work policy protects both employers and employees from potential legal liabilities that arise from remote work. It ensures that everyone is aware of the legal requirements and obligations when working remotely, reducing the risk of irregularities, disputes, and lawsuits. Having clear expectations and guidelines therefore helps businesses to avoid potential issues, and instead maintain a healthy work environment. 

Secondly, a remote work policy fosters transparency and fairness within the company. It ensures that everyone is aware of the expectations when working remotely, making it easier for employees to understand where they stand and what is expected of them. By following these guidelines, you can increase productivity, reduce stress, and improve overall job satisfaction.

Reasons companies should have a remote work policy

Having a transparent and clear remote working policy brings great benefits to your business. Some are quick wins, while others build a solid foundation for the future. And, now that hybrid work environments are part of our new reality, companies who don’t follow these trends are at risk of falling behind their competitors.

But, what exactly are the practical advantages of a remote working policy?

  • It creates fairness and clarity in the organisation by establishing a standard of equality between on-site and remote workers. Since in-office employees typically have guidelines to follow, a separate policy for remote workers ensures that they’re considered just as important to the company. This promotes an equitable and inclusive work environment for all employees, regardless of their location.

  • It helps manage the expectations for remote work. By providing a policy, expectations on both employers and employees are set from the start, leading to less uncertainty and tension, and instead a more functional and positive environment.

  • It increases morale, productivity, and retention for remote employees, as well as enhances eligibility. By offering and providing remote work options, employees can choose a work set up that best suits their lifestyle or productivity needs. This flexibility can lead to an improved work quality and better life balance. It also demonstrates your company's commitment to inclusivity and authenticity.

  • It creates aligned and efficient workflows, with better alignment and efficiency throughout the organisation. Here, a remote work policy provides employees and managers guidance and regulations to follow, which reduces the risk of miscommunication and misinformation. This in turn helps prevent unnecessary costs and expenses that can arise, such as double work or teams working in silos.

  • It attracts talent. Many people are now looking for remote work opportunities. By offering flexible work arrangements, with a clear policy in place, companies can improve their reputation and draw in the best workers in the industry.

  • It is beneficial for onboarding processes. Why not take the opportunity to create a complete remote working policy? Companies can gain a lot by demonstrating, at an early stage, that they have the right tools, routines and documents in place for new remote workers. 

Dos and don’ts when setting up a remote work policy

Now that we have outlined the main benefits of creating a smart remote working policy, you may be wondering how to go about creating it? There are many parameters to keep in mind. Here are some general dos and don'ts that companies should consider when creating their own policy.

  • Have transparent rules on eligibility for remote work by establishing guidelines to follow. This should include, for example, mandatory work hours, communication and support tools, work measurements, technical equipment, and performance metrics.

  • If possible, a remote work policy should include provisions on how employees' remote workplaces can be designed. Which necessities can the company offer to enable employees an off-site work space that is as good as on-site?

  • Encourage regular communication and check-ins. Creating a culture that’s constantly transparent, follows up on work, and has an open dialog between teams, managers, and employees, will boost trust and confidence in the workplace. This in turn is a key factor for building a cohesive team spirit.

  • Ensure that cybersecurity and personal data protection is included in the policy. Set explicit rules on VPNs and password management, and provide employees with secure laptops and mobile phones. And, if a company with remote workers is processing customers' personal data, a policy must comply with relevant data protection laws and outline how personal information is handled.

  • Avoid micromanaging remote employees. This can lead to counterproductive results and a low work ethic, which may cause employees to leave for a job where they feel trusted. Instead, consider an asynchronous work model that allows increased autonomy and more focus on productive work.

  • Don't underestimate the importance of social connection and team-building, even for remote workers. For example, in a remote work policy, companies can include expectations for online activities and opportunities. This in turn sets the expectations for when and where to socially connect with colleagues.

  • Take the mental health and wellbeing of remote workers seriously. Provide resources and support for remote workers to manage stress and maintain work-life balance. By including this in a remote work policy, employees understand that their employer cares.