Implementing a Work From Home Policy for Your Company
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Many of your employees may want or need to work remotely from time to time. Learn how you can implement a work from home policy for your company.

In the age of laptops, smartphones, messaging apps and high-speed Wi-Fi, many workers can do their job remotely. As employees seek a more flexible work-life balance and cost-conscious employers look to benefit from reduced business expenses, instituting a work-from-home policy has become increasingly common.

Despite growing popularity, however, remote workers come with some special considerations. Be sure to address these five areas for your company’s work-from-home policy:

Work Schedules and Compensation Policies

While technology has made it easier for employees to work from anywhere at any time of day, this can make it easy to functionally violate wage and hour laws if employees work around the clock. You should communicate the need for a specific schedule, help track workers’ time and ensure compliance with overtime and on-call regulations.

You could empower salaried employees to set their own schedule and boundaries. This may help alleviate pressure for remote employees to be always available. For hourly employees, federal non-exempt rules apply. Be sure that employees continue to track their work time and receive manager approval before working overtime.

Data Security and Privacy

What happens if your employee loses his or her laptop? Could a thief access your customer database and credit card info? Is your remote employee using an unsecured wireless network to process invoices or access the company’s bank accounts?

Employers should set specific technical and security requirements for digital and paper files that are in the hands of remote workers. Outline what related protection costs the company will cover or consider providing a list of vendors and service providers so you can control the security of home networking connections and equipment. Consider issuing company-owned equipment so your IT department can monitor data security, passwords and restrict access to certain websites. Further, you may consider investing in an encrypted virtual private network (VPN) to protect all system users.

HR and Communication Policies

Some companies fear that a relaxed work environment may foster unprofessional behavior and casual interactions that could potentially lead to harassment claims or complaints from co-workers and customers. As such, it’s important to remind your team that in-office policies apply to remote employees, as well.

Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to disabled at-home workers and managers must be consistent and non-discriminatory when assigning work-from-home privileges. Put remote employees through the same training as in-house workers and be sure to incorporate the company’s HR and communication policies into their policies.

Health and Safety

It’s easy to reduce workplace accidents and workers’ compensation claims when employees use ergonomic office equipment and furniture and participate in formal safety programs and on-site wellness fairs. Remote employees may suffer from carpal tunnel or other injuries if they’re working on a couch or coffee table; plus, they could be more likely to have an accident if they run out to purchase office supplies or coffee several times a day.

Include safety rules and guidelines geared towards home-office workers in your revised policy. If you can, offer employees specialized training programs and office equipment. Most importantly, make sure your company is properly insured.

Collaborative Input

Solicit input from IT, HR, health and safety, risk management, accounting, legal as well as key line managers to make sure you consider a wide range of risks, performance standards and technical requirements for telecommuters when establishing your work from home policy. Track incidents and questions as they arise and revisit your telecommuting policy each quarter.

With a strong work-from-home policy in place, you may be able to provide flexibility to your team without losing productivity. Take steps to educate your employees on best practices for working remotely.

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This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and irs.gov for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.