Designing a Remote Worker Policy

Designing a Remote Worker Policy

There are a number of issues to consider when creating a remote work policy. Here are some of the bigger questions:

  • Can remote workers fit into your organization’s culture?
  • What positions can be performed remotely? (e.g. a sales position might be a logical “yes,” while a receptionist is obviously a “no”)
  • How will you deal with employees who want to work remotely, but aren’t able to?
  • What expenses will the organization cover? (e.g Internet, desk, etc.)
  • Will you have a policy that would require employees to regularly meet up with their colleagues?
  • What other criteria will you use to decide if an employee is eligible?  Seniority? Distance from the office? Personal situations, such as those who have mobility challenges or are caretakers of family members?

Other Elements of Your Remote Access Plan

  • Set a standard for equipment: Be sure to establish what equipment can be used remotely and what software must be installed.
  • Here’s just one example:
    • 13″ screen, with an i5 processor, 8GB RAM/256 GB SSB
    • Standard Software
    • Windows 10 Pro/MacOS
    • Microsoft 365
    • Adobe Acrobat
    • Non-standard software examples:
      • Accounting Software
      • Adobe Creative Cloud (for Creatives)
  • Non-tech equipment:
    • Furniture
    • Shredder
    • External Monitor(s)
    • Office desk and chair
    • Printer
    • Laptop Bag
    • Fax machine
    • VOIP/mobile phone

Have employees sign a release (and track inventory) to cover the loss of the device and how they can use it.

  • How does your organization want to address BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)?
    • There is software (often referred to as Mobile Device Management or MDM) that has the ability to remotely “kill” a device that has been lost or stolen
    • Have policies in place to restrict what software can be installed on devices that have company data
  • How will the person access the network?
    • Remote Desktop
    • VPN (hardware or software)
    • Hosted solution (Zoho, Office 365, Google Docs) SaaS/ SaaP (Salesforce, LinkedIn)
    • Private cloud or ERP
    • Be sure to provide both training and support
  • Usage policy
    • You may permit employees to do a reasonable amount of non-work-related stuff on the machine (checking news or sports scores), but you might not want them to let their friends/family members install software or use the device.
  • How will the IT department update the software and firmware?
    • We recommend hardware replacements every 3-4 years and mobile device replacements every 2-3 years. There are solutions to update software beyond giving Admin Access to the user(s).
  • Remotely kill software.
    • Absolute Software/Lo-Jack  
  • Reimbursement policy for Internet ( e.g., $50/month reimbursement for home Internet for employees approved for working remotely).
  • Workers comp covers remote workers.
  • Remind remote employees that sexual harassment cases might be relevant even within the home, especially if during working hours.
  • Remote working hours: Will you establish working hours, factoring in time zone differences? Recognize that remote employees are often open to working at odd times because of the need to tend to children or elderly relatives. This can turn into a win-win for everyone.
  • Insurance Policies: Make sure that there aren’t any issues with both the company insurance policies (e.g. asset, workers’ comp, health insurance) and the employees’ homeowner’s policy.
  • In-home meetings: Consider whether you will allow the employee to have work-related meetings in the home, or whether that could leave the company at risk of civil and criminal liability if something goes wrong. You may opt to require employees to meet others in public places or at the main office.

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