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Remote Work Policies Require Effective Management

Want happier employees? Research indicates that offering remote work opportunities during all or part of the workweek may just be the key to higher job satisfaction.

It’s one thing to have a happier workforce, but what employers want to know is whether those employees remain productive. Good news: a two-year Stanford Study showed an astonishing productivity boost among remote workers in addition to a 50% decrease in employee turnover, fewer sick days and less time off.

Potential recruits and existing employees are increasingly looking for remote work opportunities to provide higher satisfaction and a greater work/life balance. If your company wants to adopt this practice and remain competitive in a tight labor market, you’ll first need to develop a remote work policy. Be sure to use these tips.

  1. DO assess employees' remote working capabilities. Certain positions—and employees—are better suited for working remotely than others. Consider whether an employee's duties are sufficiently 'portable,' and whether the employee has demonstrated the ability to work independently and productively before approving any arrangement.
  2. DO communicate expectations. Managers and employees should be on the same page when it comes to expectations for remote employees, including scheduling and hours of availability. Will remote employees need to be available during normal business hours or can they set their own schedules? You’ll also want to outline location(s) where work will be performed and performance standards. Be sure to spell everything out.
  3. DON'T discriminate. There may be employees who wish to take advantage of a remote work arrangement, but whose job duties make it prohibitive. While job functions can serve as a reason for limiting remote work opportunities, it’s important to ensure that discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion or any other protected class doesn’t play a role in any denials. Keep in mind, however, that allowing an employee with a disability to work from home may be required as a form of reasonable accommodation in some instances. Employees who work remotely should receive the same opportunities for advancement and professional development as their in-office counterparts.
  4. DO stay connected. Keep the lines of communication open by checking in regularly with remote employees, and arrange conference calls and in-person meetings to keep them in the loop. Many technology solutions and applications are available to help keep employees connected. Remember to provide feedback on performance and apply the same standards to both remote employees and on-site employees.
  5. Do spell out what tools and equipment are provided. Additional equipment or software may be necessary to maintain a proper level of connectivity. Outline who is responsible for providing and maintaining any necessary equipment or related services. Will the company provide a computer? Who pays for the internet connection? What about phone service? Is there an allowance for necessary services? These are all questions that need answers outlined in a remote work policy.
  6. DON'T overlook security issues. Ensure that offsite employees are able to maintain the security of computer files, correspondence, equipment, materials and any business data. Employees should also follow any security protocols for remote connectivity. Depending on the sensitivity of the information being handled, a home office should include security measures to protect against data breaches and cybercrime similar to those required at the official worksite.

    Offering remote work opportunities for eligible employees is an attractive benefit that can also be promoted to potential hires as part of a competitive benefits package and set your company apart. Include your remote work policy as part of an engaging employee handbook so all employees who are or may become eligible for remote work opportunities are aware of the guidelines.

    Looking for more ideas on developing a competitive benefits package? Check out our guide below. If you still have questions or need help navigating compliance laws when developing your company policies, reach out to our team. We are here to answer the toughest of questions.Build a Better Benefits Package: An Employer's Guide to Offering Competitive Benefits

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A collection of articles from the McClone team with the helpful knowledge and insights to ensure your organization is well protected.