Many businesses and their employees were thrust into working at home back in March when the Coronavirus really started to take off. Hawaii’s stay at home/work from home order began on March 25 for everyone but essential workers. The stay at home order was extended a couple of times, most recently for Oahu at the end of August. Neither HR managers nor employees had any real time to adjust to managing remote reworks or working from home. For businesses whose workers are still at home and will be for the long term, it may be time to create or edit a work from home policy to set expectations and guidelines that will help ensure success.
What to include in a work from home policy
Writing a work-from-home policy will help attract top talent. For one, most companies don’t have one and for two, a company that takes the time to write this policy is showing that they value their remote workers.
Define the purpose of the policy: The policy should start with a statement about the purpose of creating the policy and what you are hoping your work from home employees can contribute to the business. Remember that the work from home policy should make working life better for your employees, increase productivity and align with you company’s core values and work culture.
Identify which roles are eligible for remote work: It’s clear that some jobs are easier to do from home than others, and some are downright impossible. Identify which organizational roles are eligible for partial or full remote work.
Define what traits a remote worker must have: While some jobs can be done from home, they won’t be done well by an employee who lacks certain personality traits. Define mandatory traits such as excellent communicator with great email etiquette and willingness to ask questions for guidance, task focused, self-motivated, organized and autonomous.
Identify which days/time frames are an option for remote work: Some jobs may be eligible for 100% remote work. Others may be eligible a couple of days a week or only during the “off-season” or every week but the first of the month.
Identify how employees become eligible to apply for remote work: Will some roles be automatically remote? Will workers need to apply for remote work status? Is there a minimum number of months that an employee needs to be employed before there are eligible to apply to work from home?
Lay out the request and approval process: If employees need to formally apply, provide a step-by-step process that employees will need to follow to apply for a remote work position. Also identify who will be reviewing and approving applications such as the HR manager.
Layout a broad schedule: For example, are employees expected to be logged on for a certain number of hours per day within a certain time frame? Do they need to check in with their manager first thing in the morning and again before wrapping up for the day?
Layout communication expectations: Will employees be required to participate in teleconference or video conference calls when they are at home? How will employees track their own progress or submit their daily work? Will the company Slack channel be used or is email the preferred method of communication?
Set technology and security requirements: Will remote workers be required to have high-speed internet access at home or is it okay if they work at a coffee shop? Can they may phone calls to clients in a public setting? Will you offer security resources such as a Virtual Private Network (VPN)? Will they be required to provide their own laptop or software program? How will they be expected to handle a technology glitch?
Identify the supplies you will provide: Will you supply pens and notepads, etc. to be used by remote workers? This can be accomplished through a stipend, an expense report or workers checking out supplies from the office.
Set productivity expectations and identify how you will track productivity: there are different ways to track productivity. The two main options are time tracking and project progress or completed tasks. Do you offer a time-management platform that will help employees track their work?
Once you have written your work from home policy, be sure to share it with your employees and put it in an obvious place within your employee handbook for future reference. Remember that in addition to a broad policy, the managers will need to set specific goals, tasks and expectations for each team and role within the organization.
How partnering with a PEO can support your business during COVID-19
A PEO provides small businesses with many advantages that they might not otherwise be able to afford. These advantages have become even more important during this international health crisis.
When small business owners’ partner with Makai HR they:
- Gain peace of mind that they are complying with all of Hawaii’s labor laws, which is especially important when decisions are being made about how to handle a health crisis.
- Can provide comprehensive health care plans that will give your employees peace of mind about going to the doctor for treatment and testing.
We are also here to support your business if you are working remotely:
- Our cloud-based platform means that your employees can manage their HR needs through a computer, tablet or phone, making it easier for them to work from home.
- Our cloud based HRIS platform means that your HR team can manage HR remotely if they are sick or everyone is working remotely.
Pro tip: this is a good time to encourage all employees to update to Direct Deposit to reduce in person bank transactions and continue timely payroll payments. Do not delay. Contact us today to get started!