An employee working in accordance with a remote work policy.
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How to create a remote work policy in 2022 (with free templates)

Successful remote work requires a formal agreement and a clear set of expectations. Achieve this with a remote work policy.

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Nine in 10 companies are switching to a hybrid work model, according to a 2021 McKinsey report.

Whether you oversee a team of remote front-line or desk-based workers, you need to create a set of formal guidelines that increase transparency and streamline management. In short, you need a remote work policy.

This article will explain what a remote working policy is, why you need it, and how to create one fast, with ready-to-use templates for each part of the policy. Let’s dive in.

What is a remote work policy?

A remote work policy is an agreement that outlines everything employees need to know, do and expect when working remotely. 

For example, the policy covers who’s eligible to work remotely, how they should work remotely, the company’s expectations of them, the support the company offers, and the rights of remote workers.

Such a policy is essential for the long-term success of your remote work strategy. It cuts through the confusion and ensures that your line managers and executives apply the rules consistently and fairly.

How to create a remote work policy

While remote work is prevalent in a post-pandemic world, remote working policies are not. Only a little more than half (57%) of companies using remote workers have a formal remote work policy in place.

That’s not a huge majority, but we’ve made it easier for you to join them. Follow these steps to create a remote work policy that ticks all the right boxes while using our remote work policy examples to create your own. 

Get the right stakeholders involved

When creating a remote work policy, collaborating with key stakeholders across your organization is essential. This helps you in two ways:

  • You’ll be able to craft an effective remote work policy
  • You’ll have an easier time getting buy-in for the policy 

So make sure to get suggestions from senior staff members as you work on the remote work policy. Your CEO, legal team, HR team, IT department, and line managers will all have different perspectives that must be taken into account. 

Explain who’s eligible for remote work

Not every worker can be remote. Case in point: Utah-based Young Living Essential Oils. In 2020, only about half of the company’s 2460 employees could work remotely, while essential workers like lab and research staff had to continue to work on-site. 

So it’s important to set out a list of requirements that employees must meet for remote work. This way, you’ll avoid confusion while ensuring a fair and consistent application of the rules. 

Example: Employees are eligible to work remotely if they have worked for the company for more than one year, have proven themselves trustworthy, can effectively carry out their job remotely, and obtain sign-off from their line manager. 

Spell out what locations employees can work from

Many employees report increased productivity levels when working from home. This is due to fewer interruptions, more focused time, and a more comfortable workplace, according to research by FlexJobs.

But the productivity benefits are possible only when your employees pick the most appropriate workplace. And you can help them do this by defining exactly what you expect from their working environment. Leave no doubt in their minds about what their surroundings should look like. 

Example: You are required to pick a work environment that is safe, secure, and free from distractions. It should have a reliable internet connection and contain all the equipment you need to do your job.

Explain how the policy might change

The world of remote work is constantly evolving, and your company must be able to adapt at a moment’s notice. After all, just 17% of employees were remote in 2019, as compared to the 31% who are remote in 2022. 

As such, your company’s remote work policy shouldn’t be set in stone. Include a clause that outlines to what extent the policy may change in the future and what notice employees will receive. You don’t need to pull any punches here. Remote work is a privilege, not a right. So don’t be afraid to be frank. 

Example: We reserve the right to change this remote work policy without prior notice. It may be discontinued at any time, after which employees will have a two-week period to return to the office. 

Specify what expenses are included

The extent to which your business pays for home office equipment is up to you. For the record, more than one in five companies pay some portion of the home office equipment, with almost one-third saying they reimburse remote employees for laptops. 

Include a clear description of the tools provided to employees and the stipends available for remote workers.

Example: It is mandatory to use a laptop provided by the company for work. The laptop will include all of the software you need to perform your role, including a VPN that must be used whenever you connect to the internet. A $100 stipend is also available for home-office expenses such as a desk or chair. 

Clarify work expectations

The biggest benefit for employees working remotely is the flexibility, shows a 2019 study by Buffer

pie chart showing the biggest benefits of working from home

Image Source: Buffer

But that doesn’t mean it can get in the way of getting work done. Your remote work policy needs to make it clear that most of the official rules and regulations still apply. These may include sticking to a schedule, meeting deadlines, and being available between pre-determined hours.

Example: Remote employees must agree and abide by a remote working schedule set with their line managers. Any deviation must be communicated to your line manager in good time. Employees must be available through pre-agreed communication channels during office hours. 

Include communication expectations

Clear collaboration and communication are always vital, but they’re even more critical when working remotely. Your remote work policy must clarify how often employees should communicate and the resources they have at hand.

Example: You’re expected to be accessible via email and the Blink app 8 hours a day, Monday to Friday. Also, check in regularly with your manager, no less than twice per day or as agreed with your line manager. 

Explain benefits, insurance, and liability

Remote employees may not have the same rights and legal protection as on-site employees. Whatever the case, your remote work policy should note any changes in salary, benefits, insurance, and legal ramifications when working from home. 

Example: Employees will maintain their existing salary, benefits, and insurance cover while working remotely. The company will be liable for any injury suffered in the employee’s pre-agreed workspace, but only during work hours. 

Security policy

The biggest risk to any company embarking on a remote working strategy is security. That’s why it is essential to take steps to protect your company’s data and explain that process to employees. And make it clear that any security breach caused by the employee will lead to disciplinary action. 

Example: As a remote employee, you’re responsible for taking steps to protect yourself and the company’s data at all times, such as protecting sensitive documents with strong passwords. A VPN provided by the company should be used at all times. And you must not download any unauthorized software. 

Communicate the remote work policy clearly

Once your remote work policy is ready, it’s time to share it with your workers. When introducing the policy, tell your workers how to access the policy and the purpose behind its implementation. 

Depending on the communication channel you use, there are many ways to push the policy through your company. For example, you can do this via a combination of email and your internal comms software. And don’t stop there. Ensure that the new policy is introduced and discussed in face-to-face meetings and conferences. 

As the remote work policy rolls out, you may also get some feedback from different corners of your company. This is your chance to refine the policy further while making your employees feel heard, and it should not be missed. 

Get sign-off internally

The final piece of implementing your remote work policy is the sign-off process. For something as important as a remote work policy, just communication is not enough. Your workers should indicate and acknowledge that they have read and understood the policy. And you should have a mechanism in place to get these confirmations. 

Using a communication platform such as Blink, for example, you can turn on mandatory reading for updates about the remote work policy. 

Blink has a priority post feature to make important posts a priority read.

Remote work policy FAQs

Even the most experienced managers and HR executives have questions when creating a remote work policy. That’s why we’ve answered some of the most common ones below. 

What is the purpose of a remote work policy?

The purpose of a remote work policy is to clearly define who can work remotely, the company’s expectations of remote employees, and the systems in place to support those employees. 

What’s the difference between remote working and working from home?

Working from home refers to an agreement in which employees can work from their home either full time or for a set number of days. In contrast, remote work carries a much broader definition and refers to employees working from any location outside of the office, whether that’s their home, a cafe, or on-site at a client location. 

What should a remote work policy include?

A remote work policy should cover everything employees need to know and do to work successfully outside of the office. This includes who can work remotely, the hours they should work, employees’ legal rights, tools available to employees, and cybersecurity requirements. (e.g. ransomware protection)

What should employers provide to remote workers?

Businesses can choose to provide or reimburse expenses of basic equipment like laptops if the employees do not have their own, a clear outline of their expectations in the form of a remote work policy, communication and collaboration tools, and ongoing support where necessary. 

Does an employer have to provide a computer for remote workers?

While some companies will provide everything an employee needs to work remotely, it is not necessary. Employers can ask employees to use their own devices, but they will have to provide the software necessary for them to work. 

Can remote employees work from anywhere?

Allowing employees to work remotely doesn’t necessarily mean they can work from anywhere. Front-line workers, for instance, may work away from the office, but they must work on-site with a client. Similarly, employers can request remote office workers to reside in a specific state or country to abide by labor laws. 

How to create a remote work policy: over to you

The time you invest in creating a remote work policy will be returned many times over.

By outlining your expectations for remote workers and what they can expect from you in return, you and your line managers will find it much easier to manage and motivate your remote workforce. 

Creating your own policy is as straightforward as following the step-by-step process we’ve listed above. Feel free to take our remote work policy examples and use them as templates to frame your own messaging.  

And while you’re at it, make sure you have the tools in place to help your remote employees work effectively.

Blink’s internal communications tool excels in boosting internal communication and employee engagement — both of which are essential for the long-term success of your remote employees. Request a free demo to get started.

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