The New World of Working From Home
By Karen Arnold, Director
16th August, 2021
In a world where snap lockdowns, hotspots, border closures and close and casual contacts have become part of our daily lives, we have also been thrust into the world of working from home and stay at home orders.
With the realisation that working from home may be here to stay and for many employees (and indeed employers) is a very appealing option, some consideration should be given to developing a policy and framework for working from home.
As businesses delve into this new concept, we would recommend that businesses develop a Working from Home Policy. Below is our guide to the considerations when developing this policy:
The key considerations are:
- Define who is eligible to work from home. Not all job functions can be conducted remotely. Of course, this doesn’t apply during a health crisis like COVID-19, when working from home might be mandatory.
- Establish an approval process. Once you establish eligibility criteria, clearly outline the personnel and process for approval. Employees should know how to request work from home privileges, who will be approving, and the timing for approval.
- Set regular working hours. Your Work From Home Policy should clearly state when employees are expected to work, and when they should call it a day. If you value flexibility, this might mean setting a total number of hours (i.e., employees are expected to work a total of 8 hours per day), or establishing a range of working hours (i.e., employees are expected to be working and available from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.). A best practice is to mirror your standard office work day.
- Provide guidance on timekeeping for those employees who are employed on an hourly basis. Employees will still need to accurately record all hours worked and submit these records to their managers. Make sure hourly employees have a way to accurately record their time while working remotely.
- Streamline communications channels. Consider how you will deal with communication and what your expectations are.
- How will you provide IT support? Providing IT support is both more important and logistically more difficult for a dispersed workforce.
- Security standards was raised as a concern – outline expectations particularly in relation to sensitive information.
- Continue internal communication programs, including all-hands meetings. Constant communication is key.
- Maintain a connection to your culture. Mental health can be an issue for employees working from home. Ensure there is a welfare check process in place.
- WHS needs to be considered. What does this look like from an insurance perspective? How do you ensure the health and safety of your employees who are working from home?
- Create a dress code for employees who may still have to interface with customers, clients, or partners via video conference. A note about acceptable wardrobe in these situations is appropriate.
If you would like more advice on establishing such a framework and policy, please do not hesitate to contact us.