Remote Work Glossary

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What Is Remote Work Policy?

A remote work policy is an agreement that outlines the expectations of employees who work from home or another non-office space. A work-from-home (WFH) policy is typically created by human resources and gives clear instructions on when and how employees can work from home or other remote locations. It formalizes WFH eligibility, work schedules, communication tools, and performance evaluation.

Implementing a remote work policy helps companies adapt to a changing work landscape in which top talent is seeking flexible work that they perform from home.  A well-crafted remote work agreement supports work-life balance by allowing employees to choose a work environment that suits their personal needs while still meeting business goals. This balance often leads to increased employee engagement and reduced stress levels.

Components of a remote work policy

A remote work arrangement includes several components that help define the structure and expectations for employees working outside the traditional office. While each organization should create its own agreement, a basic remote work policy template should include the following:

  • Eligibility criteria: Determine which roles are eligible for remote work. Consider factors like job responsibilities and performance.
  • Work hours: Specify the expected work hours, core hours (including time zone) in which employees need to be available, and how much flexibility there is within the workday.
  • Communication protocols: Set guidelines for virtual meetings, regular check-ins, and use of communication tools to maintain effective collaboration and information flow.
  • Performance metrics: Detail how the company will measure employee performance, including what productivity looks like and how to measure it.
  • Tech requirements: Include a list of necessary technology and equipment, like a reliable internet connection, VPN, and other software, to support remote work. Some companies may require an Ethernet connection over Wi-Fi.
  • Data security: Implement cyber security protocols to protect company data, enforce authentication, and maintain secure access to company systems.
  • Home office setup: Offer guidelines for setting up a productive home office, including restrictions on some items in the workspace.
  • Expense reimbursement: Clarify what remote work-related expenses the company covers, such as internet costs or office supplies.
  • Compliance considerations: Make sure the policy complies with local labor laws and regulations, including those related to benefits administration and workers’ compensation.
  • Training and onboarding: Incorporate specific training for remote work to facilitate smooth transitions and effective work practices.
  • Employee engagement: Aim to reduce employee turnover by proactively engaging employees online with virtual activities like webinars, online games, and virtual happy hours.
  • Wellness support: Provide team members with resources for mental and physical wellness, such as virtual fitness classes or access to counseling services.
  • Feedback mechanisms: Establish regular channels for remote employees to provide feedback on the policy and their experiences to support continuous improvement.

Hybrid vs. remote work policies

A hybrid work policy outlines expectations of employees who work remotely and in-office. It typically specifies the number of days a company expects employees to work from the office versus home for a balanced approach that supports both in-person collaboration and work-life balance.

Like a WFH policy, a hybrid work policy includes guidelines for scheduling, communication, and use of company resources. However, hybrid work policies differ in important ways because they may include on-site in-kind benefits such as cafeteria programs, gym facilities, or transportation options. Other key aspects of a hybrid policy include the following:

  • Office attendance: Designate specific days for in-office work, like Tuesday and Thursday office days.
  • Collaboration tools: Specify what meetings will be in-person and which will be on video conferencing apps such as Zoom for both distributed teams and on-site co-workers.
  • Work hours: Consider making this more structured than in remote work policies, especially if you need to maintain some overlap in the work hours of remote workers.
  • Dress codes: Specify dress codes for office days if this pertains to your company policies and culture.
  • Transportation and parking: Provide details on transportation allowances or parking arrangements for employees commuting to the office on designated days.

How to implement a work-from-home policy

Implementing a WFH policy effectively requires careful planning, especially when aiming to enhance work-life balance, reduce overhead costs, or attract and retain employees. Understanding these goals helps shape the policy to support the overall business strategy.

Next, develop a detailed policy document that outlines eligibility, expectations, communication protocols, work hours, and performance metrics. If individual team leaders set their own remote policies, provide remote work policy examples and templates to help maintain consistency across the organization. Additionally, invest in chat tools like Slack, VPNs, and cloud-based collaboration tools to support robust communication. Key steps to implement a WFH policy include the following:

  1. Identify the main goals of the WFH policy to align with the business strategy.
  2. Outline eligibility, expectations, communication protocols, work hours, and performance metrics.
  3. Use virtual meetings, instant messaging, and video conferencing tools to keep remote employees connected.
  4. Make sure remote workers have access to the necessary software and secure systems.
  5. Reevaluate team structures through workforce planning to accommodate remote work.
  6. Offer training on remote work tools, cyber security, and time management.
  7. Schedule regular check-ins to monitor progress and address issues.
  8. Track productivity, work quality, and employee satisfaction.
  9. Encourage boundaries on work hours and regular breaks to prevent burnout.
  10. Ensure the policy stays relevant and effective by scheduling regular reviews and updates.

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