Why HR Needs To Develop A Carefully Crafted Remote Work Policy

Why HR Needs To Develop A Carefully Crafted Remote Work Policy

It is not exactly new, but remote working remains a work in progress. While the idea of working away from the office has gathered considerable steam in recent decades, many companies still view it suspiciously. So much so, they have no official Remote Work Policy. But properly crafted, a policy could maximize benefits from ‘out-of-the-office’ working.

Exactly why some companies have not written up an official policy is largely open to debate. But for many their reluctance stems from a conviction that it is little more than a fad, and eventually everyone will need to be at their desks.

The statistics suggest a growth in remote working is likely, so developing a dedicated policy is becoming essential. But just as with every other aspect of running an organization, a Remote Work Policy needs to be carefully crafted.


Is It Really Here To Stay?

Yes it is. In fact, according to its 2018 report on developing trends in the modern workplace, some 63% of companies have remote workers and hiring managers expect 38% of their full-time, permanent staff will work mainly on a remote work basis.

Meanwhile, another report states that the number of employees who work remotely at least half of the time stands at 3.9 million, some 115% higher than in 2005, illustrating the trend.

Perhaps most importantly, remote work has become critical to recruiting. One survey discovered that 69% of millennials see regular office attendance as unnecessary, while 45% would choose an employer based on work flexibility more than pay.

And yet, despite the strength of these indicators, the majority of companies that believe they are adequately organized to support those remote staff (some 57%) still have no actual Remote Work Policy.


Formulating The Right Remote Work Policy

While remote working is clearly a real force in a changing working environment, it would be a mistake to consider it a straightforward development. There is no ‘one size fits all’ plan, so it’s important a Remote Work Policy is designed for a specific company’s working needs. Here are some key factors to include:


    • Identify Eligible Roles – Some roles are not suitable for remote working, so the first step is to identify which ones are. Team members, like designers and social media managers, can work perfectly remotely, but team leaders and department managers may need to meet frequently face-to-face.


    • Be Clear On Terms – Employers expect results, and it must be clear that remote working changes nothing in this regard. HR needs to state factors such as:
      1. who is eligible and not (and the reasons why)
      2. what criteria qualification is based on – for example, if it is performance based
      3. what minimum targets must be reached per day or week
      4. whether it affects remuneration in any way, for example, will travel allowances be reduced

The good news is that productivity has been shown to improve through remote working, with 77% of employees that worked remotely at least a few times reporting greater productivity.


    • Select Official Tools – Communication is clearly important, but equally important is consistency in the communication methods employees adopt. So, it’s important to identify the official online tools that workers use to share, log and submit work.


    • State Minimum Standards – Clarify the minimum standards that remote work employees must have before they work remotely. This includes such basic factors as internet strength and as specific as workplace environment, like a dedicated room as a home office with a door. The latter may be necessary to ensure privacy during conference calls.


    • Work Time – The Remote Work Policy needs to consider time zones to ensure co-workers are awake and working at the same time for at least a few hours a day. This overlap is essential where project teams are concerned, since group meetings are often necessary.


  • Start Broad – If this is a first Remote Work Policy, there still needs to be flexibility. So, start with a broad policy and over time check with your remote workers to see how it’s working out. That way you can gradually mold it into a more effective structure that benefits everyone as much as practically possible.

About the Author

AnnualLeave is a leading employee leave management tool on the market, lifting the HR headache by cutting request processing times, monitoring leave trends, and maintaining company compliance all with one user-friendly, affordable self-service app. For more information you can get in touch with one of our team via our online form or email at sales@annualleave.com.

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