With most of the West Coast under a government-mandated or strongly encouraged stay-at-home order, many companies are rapidly becoming remote. For some, remote work was already commonplace-and it’s just a matter of formalizing the practice across the company. Other organizations, though, are diving headfirst into a new world of remote work, implementing technology and policies to ensure operations continue amidst the chaos.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, creating a practical remote work policy is a critical task for Human Resources (HR) and C-Suite leaders. An effective policy not only sets expectations for employees, but also provides a framework for how your company will function over the next weeks and, potentially, months.
Follow these key steps to build a policy that addresses immediate concerns and serves your organization during future emergencies as well:
1. Bring the right people to the table.
It makes sense for HR leaders to drive a remote work policy and implementation. However, the policy impacts multiple aspects of the organization, and the planning should include as many key players as possible. For example, involve leaders from the C-Suite, IT, and any client or customer service function so you can hear their concerns and create a policy that works for every piece of your company.
2. Assess who can work remotely—and who can't.
Depending on your business, there may be some employees who can easily work from home, while others present a challenge. Determine if the latter group can do any portion of their job remotely and whether reducing their work hours to fulfill only remote duties makes sense. Also, create a strategy for employees who truly cannot work from home; this may include moving people into new roles that have remote responsibilities.
3. Enable remote work as much as possible.
This is where your IT team can make a big difference. Technology tools play a huge role in implementing a successful remote work program. Check with your employees to ensure they have laptop computers. If you haven’t already, establish protocols for securing your corporate information. Read more about how to prepare your employees in our article, Preparing Your Business to Work From Home.
4. Set work-from-home expectations.
Your remote work policy should clearly outline what remote work means to your organization. You may need employees online during a specific window of time, or conversely, perhaps the work day becomes more flexible. Remind people to continue to use PTO if they’re unable to work—even from home. Knowing the expectations, whatever they may be, makes it easier for your employees to succeed in this new environment.
5. Communicate early and often.
During this unprecedented time, changes to work and business operations are happening fast. Prioritize communication with your employees and customers to alleviate anxiety and clear the way for continued business success. Consider updating your employee handbooks as needed, though with the parameters that policies may change with circumstances. Stay as transparent as possible and you’ll engender trust and loyalty during a stressful time.
Aldrich is Here to Support You
There’s currently no business as usual. But even during this emergency, you can create remote work policies that help your employees navigate these new waters and stay productive as possible in the process.
If you need help creating a remote work policy, reviewing employee communication, or promoting telehealth and other employee benefits, contact your Aldrich Benefits Advisor today. We’re providing consultations as well as templated sample communications to help you navigate the transition to remote work.
COVID-19 Resource Center
For more employer resources to help you navigate the developing impact of coronavirus on your business, visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.
VP, Business Development
Aldrich Benefits LP
Evan Cole partners with his clients to advise and assist them with their employee benefit plans, specializing in group and association plans. Prior to joining Aldrich, Evan was a top producing employee benefits representative for one of the nation’s largest life, disability, and dental carriers. He holds licenses for life and health in the states... Read more Evan Cole
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