Remote work, or telework, is a work arrangement where employers allow employees to work from their home as opposed to their on-site premises. In recent years, and especially due to Covid-19, remote work has seen increased popularity among businesses and employers. It certainly has its advantages — lower overhead, flexible scheduling, and, when hiring, a larger pool of potential candidates. However, it can also have its challenges for employers.
Many question arise when it comes to managing remote workers. Some common questions are: How do you know if they are accurately reporting their time worked? This parallels concerns with off-the-clock work and expectations employees may have of their employers when they decide to work off-the-clock. That’s why it’s important to maintain structure, schedules, and meetings. And who is responsible for maintaining systems, software, the general IT of equipment? Privacy concerns come with the territory of remote working, and it’s important that, as employers, you ensure there is an understanding of expectations as to privacy and security.
The answers lie in not only the employers actions, but also their written policies and practices. As an employment lawyer, it is always our recommendation to document everything. Some documents that may provide clarity are: employer handbooks, remote work policies, and/or remote work agreements.
In any or all of these documents, an employer could outline the general procedure to request remote work, as well as clearly establish their expectations, the obligations of the employee and rights of the employer. This allows employers and supervisors to effectively manage remote workers without wondering if they are within their rights.
As an HR law firm, we can assist with preparing, reviewing, or updating employer handbooks, or a simple remote work policy, as well as a remote work agreement to help protect what matters to your business.