Updated on 01/06/21
Do I need a formal policy in place regarding which employees can work remotely and what their obligations are when doing so?
Whether to provide such a formal policy is dependent in part on an organization's circumstances and location. Some states are now requiring certain employers to implement policies addressing remote work and specifying which employees may work remotely. It is important to understand if any of these state-specific requirements apply to your organization. Even absent a state-specific requirement, the following factors should be considered in deciding whether to establish a temporary remote work policy:
- Employers may not want to establish if they have not yet had time to test and develop;
- Leverage established protocols;
- Make decisions based on objective evidence, not fear.
In determining which employees should work remotely, employers should:
- Identify employees critical to operations and determine whether they can work remotely.
- Assess your technological capabilities, as well as security and privacy protocols.
What should a remote work policy address?
Remote work policies should address:
- Overall expectations for employees working remotely –including time recording for non-exempt employees
- Expectations that employees help the organization maintain normal business operations
- Whether employees are encouraged to work at home or are absolutely barred from coming to the office, as well as any exceptions
- Whether employees will need to be available at all times during working hours, or whether remote meetings and appointments will be scheduled ahead of time
- An anticipated end date
How can I maintain a sense of organizational unity and structure while most or all of my employees are working remotely?
Employers should agree on a single communications platform (i.e. instant messaging, Skype, Zoom Conferencing, etc.) to communicate with and amongst employees who are working remotely.
Employers should keep an eye on the bigger picture and track overall productivity and monitor employee burnout.
Employers should consider using the following tactics to prevent employees from feeling disconnected:
- Develop and distribute agendas for all team meetings
- Schedule virtual team lunches and social time
- Connect new remote workers with experienced remote workers
This is a fluid and rapidly changing situation and these resources are current only as of the date of publication. We recommend that you contact your local Quarles & Brady attorney regarding the most up-to-date information or with any other questions regarding this subject matter, or contact Otto Immel: (239) 659-504 / [email protected].