It happened. You finally get to work-from-home.
As you dream of being creative from the couch, wearing pajamas 24/7 and taking as many breaks as you like, it’s best to ask if the company that hired you to work for them has a remote worker policy in place.
As the idea of going to work to sit in a cubicle becomes outdated, employers are creating rules for days when their staffers (or contract workers) put in their hours from home, a cafe, library or anywhere beyond the office.
I recently read an article from Inc. by contributing editor Geoffrey James that focused on research from Stanford University and the pollsters at Gallup (among others) about the effectiveness of work-from-home (WFH) workers.
Bottom line: Remote workers are more productive than those in open floor plan office settings or with private offices. Furthermore, working from home is fast to implement (just stay home!), increases revenue (from all that productivity) and reduces office expenses (less electricity use and fewer coffee supplies needed).
As a work-from-home pro myself, I have to give a shout out to the comfort level of working in an environment of your choice while wearing slippers. There’s no dress code in my home office, so I’m often tapping out articles in my yoga clothes.
Here are some more fun facts gleaned from the Inc. article:
- Work-from-home employees reported higher job satisfaction than their office-dwelling colleagues.
- More work tasks are completed when you’re in a home office.
- Work-from-home staffers feel more engaged in their work duties and goals.
- Those who work from home are less likely to quit their job.
- Job seekers are looking for work-from-home opportunities.
- Work-from-home employees take fewer sick days.
- Some workers will accept a pay cut to have the option to work-from-home.
So, all this flexibility is fabulous, but it also comes with some rules. Or, at least it should. A remote worker policy is both beneficial for the employer and employee, so everyone is on the same page — and not over- or under-working.
Here’s What Employers Expect
I’ve been working full-time from a home office for the past nine years. I’m my toughest boss ever, which lead me to wonder how employers keep tabs on their work-from-home employees.
I’ve dug up a few telecommuting policies and remote work guidelines online that you might like to browse if you’re wondering how hours are calculated, whether or not your commute to the coffee shop is paid and how teams stay in touch.
Here’s the 2.1.20 Staff Telecommuting and Remote Working guidelines for faculty and employees at Stanford University. These folks must abide by set work hours, even if they aren’t on campus.
Both temporary and permanent employees at Trello! also have a remote work policy. It outlines specific requirements including reliable Internet connectivity, working in a room with a door that can be closed, a headset for video calls and not being in charge of childcare during your working hours.
In the handful of remote worker policies I viewed, there seems to be several recurring expectations and guidelines.
- The privilege of working-from-home must be earned, approved and can be revoked at any time.
- Employees must be able to report to the office if asked, even during a work-from-home time period.
- Travel to a remote work location, such as a coffee shop, is not a reimbursable expense. It’s considered your normal commute to work.
- All work hours and remote work locations need to be logged or documented via a third-party provider that the employee and employer can both access.
- Employees must have a proper workspace and equipment available. The employer may require specific software, Internet speed or hardware to participate in conference calls.
- Check-ins with team members and supervisors at set times during the day or week are common.
If your business is thinking of offering remote work days or hiring work-from-home positions, consider creating a policy of your own. I came across a few templates online that can help you get started including these from Smartsheet, HR Dive, TechRepublic and Workable.
Note: These are not sponsored links. I haven’t worked directly with any of these companies. They just have informative websites, so I wanted to share them with you.
This post is the first in a three-part series about working remotely. If you’d like email notifications when subsequent posts publish, subscribe to the Web Writing Advice blog HERE. Thanks! ~Angela
Note: This post was last updated on September 6, 2021.