Odds Are, You Don’t Have a Teleworking Policy
“We had a guy who was supposed to be working from home but Facebooked pictures of himself enjoying lunch at a strip club.”
There are a lot of horror stories surrounding telework. However, as a remote worker myself, I can attest that it’s possible to have a teleworking program work successfully for both the employee and employer. I believe that the success or failure lies in the quality and implementation of your teleworking policy and agreement.
What’s really horrifying is that although 2/3 of companies allow teleworking, less than half have a formal policy in place. More and more businesses are dipping their toes into the world of teleworking - especially on a casual, trial or temporary basis – but policymaking is getting put on the back burner.
So, is a teleworking policy and agreement necessary for your business? Unless you want “strip club guy” as a remote “worker”, the answer is YES.
Teleworking Policy & Agreement: Why Your Business Needs One
While remote work can have a positive impact on your business and people, it does bring new challenges and a greater potential for unclear expectations and miscommunication. Just like any policy in the business world, remote working can suffer when employees don’t have guidelines to follow.
When teleworking goes wrong, it can go very, very wrong
Don’t allow your employees to fall into an “out of site, out of mind” mentality (pun intended) where they believe they can slack off and you won’t notice. Because they’re right! When problems aren’t right under your nose, it can take longer to spot them, if at all. Unless of course they’re posted on Facebook...
Teleworking Policy & Agreement: Done Right
Remote work is becoming increasingly popular and is here to stay. Let’s make sure your company is ready for it. Consideration on the front end should help your company navigate and overcome any potential pitfalls that can arise with telework.
Here are a few tips to create a teleworking program that ensures both parties are getting the most out of their remote working strategy:
Get input on program creation
Managers should have a say in designing a teleworking program that is specific to your company's needs and resources. This extends beyond the basics of what technology or equipment will be issued to remote workers. Include your managers in the conversation while you create the following guidelines:
Expectations should be crystal clear. The following are a few fundamental terms and conditions that will need to be addressed:
- What is your definition of teleworking? What types of teleworking programs does your business offer?
- What kind of employees are eligible for each program? Remember that not all positions are conducive to working remotely.
- What factors define an appropriate alternative workspace for your remote workers?
- What are your expectations for work hours, productivity and performance?
- How and when your teleworking program will be assessed and evaluated
- Available software and tools for your teleworkers to use
- Methods and frequency of communication
- Consequences of policy abuse
Teleworking Policy &
Preview & Download this template to see more essential terms and conditions.
Bonus: The Table of Contents and comprehensive list of topics is a lot beefier than the above list.
Plan upfront. Do your research and find what communication tools will be the most efficient. Invest in technology that will keep everyone – remote employees, managers, clients and customers – connected. There are so many options.
Consult legal advice
It’s smart to speak with an employment lawyer about issues such as overtime, workers’ compensation, and responsibility for company property.
Make adjustments where warranted.
New technology is popping up every day which means shiny and new methods of communication. New remote work spaces are emerging everywhere. If your employee is remote, but not working from home, be sure to update your security, privacy and confidentiality clause as often as possible.
Keep it fair
Once you establish guidelines for the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the teleworking program – stick to that policy. Don't make exceptions for people that don't meet the expectations. Maybe Jim meets all other requirements, but he also has 3 roommates, 2 dogs and thinks his 3 by 4 bedroom qualifies as a Remote Office. Sorry Jim, but it doesn't.
Start with the policy. Avoid the horror story.
A carefully established teleworking policy is key to creating a mutually beneficial work environment for all parties involved. Test and tweak as you learn what works for you and your company. Then, watch as your business expenses drop and productivity rises.