A recent survey carried out in the US has found that of companies with remote workers only 39.4 percent actually have a policy detailing or enabling remote work. The report commissioned by Microsoft through 7th Sense LP was into remote working practices in various US cities.
In my Ariadne article on remote working I highlighted the need for such a policy.
In order to formalise such practices, organisations which increasingly allow staff to work flexibly should make sure that they have good working policies and procedures in place. A policy might cover how remote working can be applied for, health and safety, data protection, security issues, financial issues such as when expenses can be claimed, legal and contractual issues, work hours etc. Such a policy should also provide useful guidance. As an article in Business Zone explains, “The key to unlocking the benefits of flexible working is to ensure that when a boardroom policy is being created it always keeps practical implementation front of mind.”
An article by Catherine Roseberry on About.com gives a number of other suggestions for what an effective policy should clearly state. These include details on non-reimbursable work expenses, tax implications, insurance information and determination of who is suitable for remote working.
British Telecom actually provide a remote working policy toolkit that makes suggestions in how you can use ‘plain English’ and “make the grey areas, black and white“.
At UKOLN we have recently updated our remote worker policy and it now covers:
- Existing staff moving to Remote Working
- Integration of Remote Workers into the work place
- Homeworking environment, office furniture and ICT equipment
- Internet connections and phone lines
- Travel expenses
- Links to related documents (such as the University of Bath policies and one on secure data)
A quick trawl shows that there are plenty of policies available on the Web for admin staff to use as a guide. So there really are no excuses.
Do you have a remote worker (or remote working) policy? If not then maybe it’s time to write one.