Work from Home (WFH) has been on an upward trajectory from 2005 to 2018.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, remote work in the U.S. alone has increased by 173 percent. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, a Gartner survey revealed the plans of over 74 percent of CEOs to move their employees to WFH positions after the outbreak.
In order to make the employee transition from on-site/in-office positions to WFH, employers are required to come up with a Work From Home Policy.
If your company is planning to shift to a full WFH situation or a hybrid setup, here is what you need to know about this policy.
Definition of Work From Home Policy
The Work From Home Policy is a legal agreement between an employer and an employee who chooses to work from home.
The document outlines key WFH guidelines, including employer expectations, the employee’s responsibilities, and the eligibility criteria for those who can be granted WFH status.
Basically, the policy ensures that employees clearly understand what the company requires of them when they work from home.
The Benefits of Working From Home
Both employers and employees stand to gain benefits from a Work From Home Policy. Let us first enumerate the benefits for employers:
1) Savings on Office Rental Space
One of the biggest expenses of any office is the cost of rental space, excluding expenses on repairs and maintenance.
When employees are on WFH part- or full-time, employers can expect a reduction in office space, thus gaining savings on rental which can be used for other expenses by the company.
2) Expand your Hires Internationally
Even before the pandemic started, many companies have benefitted from hiring remote workers from all over the globe. They are no longer limited by local talent. They can hire skilled workers anywhere in the world and expand their reach at the same time.
Sites wherein such talents can be recruited include SmartRecruiters, Glassdoor, Entelo, and LinkedIn Recruiter.
3) Higher Retention of Employees
Having a WFH Policy in place in the company plays a major role in an employee’s decision to stay or quit their job.
Because WFH offers greater flexibility in terms of time and schedules, employees remain strongly engaged to their current jobs and are less likely to seek employment elsewhere.
4) Reduction in Absenteeism
With WFH, employers can expect a reduction in absentees.
This is because employees are expected to take better care of their health while working from home.
Plus, they don’t have to deal with absent calls due to sick kids or running important errands.
It should be mentioned though that, while there is a reduction in absenteeism, there is still the risk for WFH burnout due to the longer work hours.
So, employers should also take the initiative to come up with measures to prevent or alleviate burnout among their WFH employees.
5) Longer Working Hours
Much of an employee’s time is wasted when they commute through horrendous traffic going to the office.
With WFH, employees don’t experience that early morning commuter fatigue. Instead, they start work earlier and go about their jobs for a longer time.
Now, here are the benefits that employees can derive from a WFH policy:
1) Work Schedule Flexibility
Employees can select the times when they are most productive.
Some WFH policies allow for flexibility so that employees can adjust their work times accordingly. This helps employees to attain a good work-life balance.
2) No more traffic and crowds
Nothing can be more draining to a worker than having to brave through traffic and crowds going to work on a daily basis.
With WFH, the employee no longer has to go through the daily commute and can start work still refreshed. This leads to improved productivity and longer work hours.
3) Increase in Productivity
Because of the elimination of the tiring daily commute and greater control over their work schedules, employees have demonstrated increased productivity on the job while on WFH status.
4) Stress reduction
The office environment can be stressful to employees due to pressure from bosses, conflicts with co-workers, and office politics. Employees who WFH are free from distractions, office tension, and mental pressure.
5) Better health
WFH allows employees to take better care of their health. Unlike in the office wherein they drink numerous cups of coffee and eat fast foods, employees on WFH status can prepare their own healthy meals and snacks to eat while working.
Again, because of the flexible work hours, they can get the required six to eight hours of sleep every night.
The Key Components of the Work From Home Policy
If you are planning to have a Work From Home Policy in your company, here are the key components that comprise this important document.
1) Policy Brief and Purpose
This briefly summarizes the content of the policy as well as define your purpose or intent for allowing WFH. Emphasize the importance of the policy and how it will be implemented in your company.
2) Scope and Eligibility
State in the policy which positions are available for WFH, taking into consideration software availability and limitations, client-facing responsibilities, and WFH/remote work security risks. This will reduce unnecessary WFH requests.
Be very clear in specifying who will be accepting WFH applications and their assessment.
This task is usually assigned to the department manager or the HR department. Some of the points to be considered before accepting a WFH request include the following:
- Nature of the job allows for WFH
- Existence of security or privacy issues at home
- Ease or difficulty in communication with the employee at home
- Presence of the required equipment and software
- Whether the WFH status will be allowed full time, on certain occasions, or a hybrid setup (part of the work day will be spent at home and then at the office work station)
3) Request Process
The policy should clearly outline the procedure in requesting for WFH status.
This may include submission of an application or a written formal request with the manager or HR department, registration for WFH assessment, or a face-to-face meeting with the manager.
4) Standards for Attendance and Availability
State in simple and clear times your expectations for attendance and availability.
This can be tricky because of the flexible schedules. Make sure that your employee informs you about the schedule they will follow and then designate specific times for attendance and their availability for work, conferencing, and related matters.
5) Productivity measures
The WFH policy should also state how employee productivity will be measured. Evaluation can be done in the following ways:
- The amount of time spent working on the project
- Number of projects/cases handled
- Number of customer interactions (including successful closures of deals)
6) Equipment and Tech Support
Companies should clearly state in the policy the availability of equipment and tech support.
This would include any equipment that will be offered to the employee for them to be able to work from home or if they are to use their own computers/laptops. It should also state possible reimbursements for repairs.
There should also be contact information on the available equipment maintenance and tech support.
7) Response expectations
The WFH policy defines how immediate the employee should respond to company messages. Efforts should also be made to streamline communication channels for more convenient interactions between employers and employees and employees with their co-workers.
8) Compensation and benefits
The policy should explain if being on WFH status will have any impact on the compensation and benefits of the employee.
9) Rightful Termination
While employers may feel uncomfortable about not being able to manage their remote workers properly, they should also be reminded that employees on WFH status harbor greater fears that working from home may be a step toward termination.
Therefore, the WFH policy should clearly state that no employee will be terminated or fired on the grounds of remote work or working from home.
10) Dress Code
The policy should state if employees need to observe dress codes while WFH. Wearing a suit or blazer over a blouse or shirt is necessary during video conferencing with employers, co-workers, and clients.
11) Physical environment
Some employers prefer their employees to work in a particular physical environment. This may be a quiet, professional-looking room in the home with minimal traffic or distractions from family members. The room should be kept neat at all times to maintain a professional atmosphere.
12) Security concerns
The WFH policy should outline the steps needed to maintain security and client confidentiality.
These steps may include having a password manager to prevent access to company servers and prohibition from using public WiFi.
Having a Work From Home Policy will enable your company to help transition your employees into remote work.
When developing the policy, keep in mind that the guidelines should be stated in simple and clear terms for your employee to easily understand.
If you’re looking for other resources on working from home, be sure to check out our Complete Guide To Working From Home to get you started!