12 Points to Include in an Effective Remote Work Policy Checklist
During the pandemic, companies like PwC, Hopin, and Cisco allowed their teams to work from anywhere, whether it’s home, the beach, or a coworking space.
Did you choose to be remote-first, too?
As an employer, you are responsible for providing a clear structure for your employees in this remote work environment and enabling them to perform their best work. To achieve that, you need a well-written remote work policy and possibly a remote work agreement that provide guidance for employees to rely on.
We’ve put together a remote work policy checklist to help you build your own policy to ensure your business and employees thrive together.
What is a remote work policy checklist, and why should you have one?
A remote work policy checklist is a list of essential factors that affect how you design a remote work policy for your company. This checklist serves as a guide to ensure you implement the remote work model in the most effective way possible for you and your employees.
Creating your remote work policy based on a checklist also helps you ensure you’ve covered all relevant points in the policy. When you have a list with items to cross off, it’s easier to track your remote teams’ performance and progress towards your work structure goals.
Who should use a remote work policy checklist?
Companies of all sizes should use a remote work policy checklist when implementing the rules of remote work. Whether big or small, businesses can save valuable time and prepare for potential issues in remote work implementation if they think through different scenarios beforehand and put them in writing.
Moreover, tracking your company’s performance through a checklist can give clear feedback on how ready the organization is for remote work and whether there are more suitable solutions, such as the hybrid work model.
What should a remote work policy checklist cover?
Below you’ll find a comprehensive list of points you should cover when creating a remote work policy. Use them to help define your own remote work policy.
At the beginning of the policy, define who is eligible for remote work and how they become eligible. Is simply joining the company enough, or will authorization be needed?.
- Are all types of employees eligible for remote work (full-time vs. part-time)?
- Do employees need to be authorized by HR to work remotely?
- If employees need to be authorized to work remotely, when is remote work considered a reasonable accommodation?
- Are new hires eligible for remote work as soon as they join the company?
- Are some employees restricted from remote work due to local jurisdictions and employment laws?
- Are different employees allowed to have different remote work arrangements?
- Which roles can smoothly transition to remote-first and which need adjustment?
Even if flexible, the work schedule must be defined clearly to ensure effective collaboration between co-workers and among teams.
- Is remote work a permanent or temporary solution for your organization?
- Are you going to have fixed or flexible working hours?
- Are there any exceptions as to when your remote workers are required to be online?
- How long is your workweek going to be?
- What tools will you use to track employee attendance, if any?
Depending on where your team is distributed, you may need to include points about work location, especially if you need to provide equipment for your employees. For safety reasons, you may need them to work from home exclusively.
- Are employees required to work from a home office, or is it up to them to choose their preferred remote work location?
- Are you going to offer coworking space memberships as a benefit?
- Are you going to provide a work-from-home stipend to reimburse the expenses of employees setting up their workspace?
- What are the conditions for using the coworking membership benefit going to be?
- Are employees allowed to travel to other countries while working for your company?
- Are you going to sponsor work visas for your remote workforce?
- What are the conditions for sponsoring remote work visas going to be?
- Are you going to relocate any employees?
- What are the requirements for employee relocation going to be?
- Are there any potential safety issues for your remote workers, and how will you handle them?
To avoid micromanagement or lack of trust, clearly define employee job duties in a document and make it available for all employees to refer to when necessary. The clearer the expectations, the more productive your team will be.
- What are the responsibilities of every employee regarding remote work?
- What are the responsibilities of team managers regarding remote work?
- Where are these employee responsibilities clearly outlined?
Remote teams rely heavily on proper communication. You will need to combine synchronous and asynchronous communication for the best results. To leverage both types of communication fully, set up some ground rules in your policy.
- What software or apps are you going to use for communication?
- How are you going to communicate internally?
- How are you going to communicate with external parties?
- Who do your employees reach out to for technical support?
- What is the etiquette for communicating with co-workers from different time zones?
- What should employees post on different channels (Slack, for example)?
- Are there any expectations from your employees regarding response time?
- Are you going to share any tips or best practices on remote communication with your employees?
Meetings & video conferencing
Meetings may be a challenge for distributed teams that work across time zones. Clear guidance is necessary to keep the number of meetings optimal and the time spent video conferencing as efficient as possible.
- What tools will you use to hold meetings (team-level vs. company-level)?
- How far in advance do you need to schedule company-wide meetings?
- How can employees book meetings with each other?
- Do you require meeting hosts to prepare a meeting agenda in advance?
- How often should team managers have team meetings and check-ins?
- What types of meetings are you going to encourage?
Tip: Encourage employees to use their Google Calendars to schedule meetings and personal tasks so co-workers can book free time slots when necessary.
Tools and equipment
To work productively from home, your remote workers will need appropriate tools and equipment, such as laptops, second monitors, keyboards, and more.
- What tools and equipment do your employees need when working remotely?
- Are there any specific tool/equipment specifications your employees need to follow when making a purchase?
- If an employee doesn’t have internet access, how is that solved?
- Do you provide equipment for your employees?
- If you provide equipment for your employees, how is it ordered/distributed?
- Do you offer reimbursement for tools and equipment your employees buy?
Tip: Your policy may allow small purchases up to $50 to be reimbursed, such as an ergonomic mouse or laptop stand.
Remote companies store their data in the cloud, which is typically safer than keeping physical documents. However, it’s necessary to implement many security measures to ensure company and employee data security and privacy.
- Is personal use of company-owned equipment allowed?
- Can employees use their personal devices to access company documentation?
- How do your employees protect the company’s confidential information, such as trade secrets, on company-owned equipment?
- Do you track the company-provided equipment in any way?
- Are employees required to provide their personal phone numbers to enable two-factor authentication?
- What programs and apps are employees allowed to use on company-provided equipment?
- Who can employees contact if they believe there was a security breach?
- What practices does your company implement to educate employees on information security?
Tip: Consider implementing a separate, comprehensive Equipment provisioning policy with guidelines regarding cybersecurity.
Remote onboarding process
Your onboarding process will be pretty different when you go remote, as your new hires won’t be able to “shadow” their colleagues and learn on the spot. That’s why it’s critical to have all processes and information well-documented.
- Do new hires need to sign a remote work agreement?
- What tools will you use to store company policies, information about teams, essential documents, guidelines, assets, and more?
- How long is the onboarding process going to last?
- Are you going to set up an orientation call for your new hires?
- Who is in charge of creating accounts for new employees and giving them access to all necessary tools and documents?
- Are you going to assign a “buddy” to your new hires?
- How many check-ins will your new hires have with their managers during their first weeks?
- When is the first performance review going to take place?
Remote managers often have trust issues, preventing many companies from going remote over the past few years. You should decide how you will manage your employees’ performance in a remote work environment.
- Are you going to set clear performance expectations from the beginning?
- What will your KPIs (key performance indicators) be for each role?
- What tools are you going to use for performance monitoring?
- What tools are you going to use for project management?
- How are team managers going to evaluate their team’s performance?
- How often are team managers going to evaluate their team’s performance?
- What actions will you take if an employee doesn’t meet or exceed the expectations?
- Are you going to provide virtual training for your employees?
Tip: You can use a (Notion) document to outline the expectations for month one, month three, year one, etc., for all positions within the company. That way, every new hire will have a clear idea of what they need to learn within each time period.
Employee time off & wellness
If you offer flexible work schedules, you may want to consider unlimited PTO or at least a flexible PTO policy. PTO is one of the critical elements of employee wellness, especially in remote teams, where most employees experience some symptoms of burnout while working from home. Interpersonal relationships between employees are another key wellness factor: they should be encouraged to prevent the feeling of isolation.
- Are you going to offer unlimited PTO?
- What will be the minimum of days off employees are required to take?
- What is the procedure for PTO requests going to be?
- How often are you going to organize team-building activities?
- Are you going to organize company retreats?
- How are you going to enable teamwork and bonding among your employees?
- What tools are you going to use to organize online watercooler activities?
- How are you going to promote a healthy company culture?
- Are you going to offer employee wellness programs?
Diversity, equality, & inclusion
If your team is global, chances are you will hire people from different cultural backgrounds. It means you should also implement diversity and inclusion strategies to make all employees feel welcome and promote a sense of belonging.
- What DEI activities are you going to organize in your company?
- How often are you going to promote DEI within your organization?
- Will you put conscious effort into applying DEI principles to your hiring process?
- Are you going to set up guidelines for using inclusive language within your organization?
Boost your remote work policy with Roots
Did you know that you could cross off several points on this detailed checklist at once with Roots?
Here’s the deal.
Roots is an intelligent solution for remote teams looking to automate manual tasks and increase efficiency. This Slack plugin allows you to automate HR processes such as onboarding, PTO requests, candidate referrals, and more to boost engagement within your remote team, reduce burnout, and build a strong company culture.
Sounds like an ideal add-on for your virtual office in Slack? Discover more at Roots.