Remote work is here to stay. If you’ve struggled through the last couple of years, you should consider putting together an effective long-term remote work policy.
1. Remote working here to stay in the long-term, and a remote work policy will help set your organization up for success no matter which stance or approach you take to it
2. Many companies allow remote working without a clear remote work policy. This can lead to confusion, frustration, and disenfranchised employees. These all take their toll on your culture
3. If you’ve got to include international workers in your remote work policy, a global PEO can help you achieve compliance with tax and labor laws in most countries across the world.
Building an Effective Remote Work Policy
Around a year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic plunged our world into unprecedented uncertainty. As the virus began to take hold, thousands of people suddenly found themselves being told to stay at and work from home.
While vaccination efforts have brought the end of the pandemic closer for many countries, people are still going to continue working from home for some time yet. And for some, remote and flexible working is going to be a permanent reality.
If you’ve found yourself battling through the two years as your employees work remotely (and if you’re still struggling with it at this stage), you should consider putting together a thorough and effective remote work policy as part of your strategic workforce planning.
From this point, on managing remote work will be an important part of employee benefits administration within an organization.
Doing so will not only help to ease the “pain” of managing a remote workforce, but it’ll set you up for a future where a majority of the office-based workforce is likely to demand that you let them work remotely at least some of the time.
In this brief guide, we’re going to discuss flexible and remote working, why it’s the future, and give you some tips for planning your own remote work policy.
What is a Remote Work Policy?
Generally speaking, a remote work policy is an official organizational arrangement that permits all or some employees to conduct all or some of their work either flexibly or remotely at an approved alternative place of work.
We say generally speaking because not all remote work policies are the same. Companies are completely free to set their own remote work policy, meaning what’s in one company’s policy could be completely different from another.
Some companies, for example, may only permit flexible working (i.e., having some control over core working hours) whereas others will permit 100 percent unrestricted remote working at a pre-approved workplace. Indeed, some companies may go as far as to not set a “workplace” and give their employees the freedom to work from wherever and, operations permitting, even wherever.
Companies may wish to consider whether they should also create a policy on how to return to work safely, alongside their remote work policy.
Why You Should Have a Clear Policy for After COVID-19
While it’s not “compulsory” to have a remote work policy, it’s best practice.
Even if you trust your workers and are confident that they know the rules when it comes to remote working, that doesn’t mean caution should be thrown to the wind.
It goes without saying that remote working is a very different situation from having everybody together in one office. By chancing it and operating without a remote work policy, you’re leaving everything open to ambiguity. This can lead to confusion, frustration, feelings of unfairness, and disenfranchised workers. But nevertheless, companies are taking the risk—a recent study discovered that a shocking 57% of companies are utilizing remote teams without a remote work policy.
However, COVID-19 has put remote working under the microscope. It has shown us that many jobs can be carried out in the same way as (or even better than) they can in an office environment.
This has led many prominent companies to come out in support of remote working and say that when the pandemic is done, they will be switching permanently to partly or fully remote operations. With this, we’ll likely see remote working policies become more common and viewed as “mandatory” by a majority of people.
If you’ve got a clear policy that says everybody can work from home (or work flexibly or remotely in another place) provided that their job can be done outside of the workplace, then it spells everything out in black and white.
A Flexible vs. Remote Work Policy: Which is Best?
There’s a difference between flexible working and remote working (e.g., working from home.) The arrangement that’s best for your company depends solely on its operations and what will and won’t work.
Tips for Figuring Out the Specifics of Your Remote Work Policy
The whole point of a remote work policy is to set everything out clearly. Doing so will help build better relationships between you and your employees and foster a positive culture.
Your policy should include everything that your company will allow and provide for employees who decide to work flexibly or remotely. Here are some tips for deciding what to include:
Remote Working is the Future
There’s no doubt in our minds that remote working is the future. Organizations and employees alike have realized far too many benefits of “the new normal”, and this will undoubtedly lead to a remote working trend that will continue on possibly forever.
The extent to which people will work flexibly or remotely, however, will depend on their jobs and the individual agreements they have with their employers.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to start thinking about your stance on remote working and how you want to proceed when the pandemic is over. Whatever you decide, a clear remote work policy is the right way to set out your rules and expectations surrounding remote working, even if it’s something that you decide isn’t right for your operations.
Horizons can provide advice on international remote working arrangements and, where appropriate, take over all compliance responsibility for remote workers based overseas through its comprehensive Global PEO solutions.