Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, many employers have offered their employees the work-from-home option, and interest in it has been growing in popularity in recent years. Top tech companies like Twitter and Square are now allowing their employees to permanently work from home, while Buffer, Zapier, GitLab, and many others have been remote since the beginning.
Whatever the circumstances are, companies need to implement a work-from-home policy if they want to be successful in their remote endeavors. A work-from-home policy is an agreement between the employer and the employee that defines the responsibilities, eligibility, expectations, and other work-from-home and remote work guidelines. It is written to ensure that employees understand what the company requires from then when they work-from-home.
If you manage a company, you might not have a work-from-home policy in place which is why you should stick around as we will be exploring how you can easily build one.
How to Build a Work-From-Home Policy
Before you allow employees to work from home, you need to clearly outline all your expectations for every employee. Make sure your work-from-home policy is included in your employee handbook and that all your employees understand their individual and the responsibilities of the entire company.
Our work-from-home policy guidelines are here to help you get started. Make sure your policy aligns with your specific company culture. And if you're planning on tracking work from home make sure you add the rules regarding it to the policy as well.
Policy Brief, Scope, and Purpose
First, you need to define who the policy applies to and what is the purpose of the policy.
You can say that the purpose of the policy is to help guide employees through working from home. It should apply to all employees that can work from home, whether occasionally or permanently.
While working remotely, it is expected of employees to still adhere to other company policies and their contract, but make sure you state that.
Basics of the Policy
Next, you need to define the time scopes of working from home, as well as the reasons why employees may want to work from home.
Some companies allow employees to work from home full-time, once a week or a month, a few times a month, occasionally, or only because of certain circumstances. Define which time scope works for your company.
If you allow your employees to only work from home when certain circumstances occur, put those circumstances in the policy.
If only certain employees, for example, those that do not have to meet with clients, are allowed to work from home, mention that as well.
Employees and Managers: How to Ask and Give Permission
When you have determined which of your employees can work from home, at what times and because of what reasons, you now need to define how employees can ask for permission to work from home and how managers should determine whether or not they should allow a certain employee to work from home.
Employees should follow a predefined procedure when they request to work from home. The procedure should include the reason for working from home, the number of days they want to work for, whether they need any additional equipment to do their work, as well as any other component you seem fit. When managers receive the request, they should run through each point in the request and determine whether or not the request is reasonable and if they can approve it.
In case of an emergency, employees can file the request as soon as they can. In any other case, they should file a request a few days in advance. The manager can grant the employee's request verbally and then later send out the formal request if for some reason they are not able to follow the usual procedure.
What Is Expected of Employees When Working From Home?
This entirely depends on the unique circumstances of your company. You may allow your employees to work more flexible hours or you may require that they work their usual hours. Make sure to clear this upfront.
When working from home, employees are still required to do their usual tasks, make sure that their work is of the highest quality, and meet their agreed deadlines. To ensure that your employees are still doing their work, consider using an employee task monitoring software. Their performance will be measured in the same way it was measured when they worked in the office.
An employee task monitoring software can also help you measure the performance of the employees. If you decide to use such software, make sure you state in your policy that employees are to adhere to the use of work from home monitoring tools while at work.
Employees are expected to guard the company’s data in the same way as they were when working from the office, therefore, they should follow the usual security protocols of the company.
You need to mention in your work-from-home policy that the compensation of your employees will stay the same now that they are working from home. If that is not the case, that must be mentioned in the policy. Additional actions from the human resource department may be required.
Working from home can be great. However, you as the business owner need to establish which of your employees can work from home and how. You also need to provide your employees with all the necessary tools and software to help them be effective when working from home.
Make sure your employees and managers are following your work from home policy, as only then everything will go smoothly and both you and your employees will be happy.
As a bonus, we have created a free work-from-home policy template which you are free to use as-is or modify as you see fit.