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Creating Policies for Remote Work During the Holidays

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With the holidays approaching, employers will be thinking about providing their employees with time off in addition to the statutory holidays. Many businesses experience a slowdown during the winter holiday season, opting for company closures in the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. For some small businesses whose operation doesn’t allow them to shut down during the holiday season, it is common to provide employees with the option to work from home. Here’s what employers should know about letting their employees work remotely during the holidays.

Why should employers allow remote work?

The option of working from home is a valued benefit for employees, especially for parents who have children home from school over winter break. Not only can the option of remote work help employees balance their personal responsibilities, but it can also improve employee well-being, morale, and retention. This flexibility is a great way to demonstrate your appreciation and consideration for your employees, helping to make you an employer of choice.

Remote work can facilitate trust and boost productivity, but it can also have unintended consequences when not managed properly. To ensure that remote work arrangements go off without a hitch, businesses that allow remote work during the holidays should have an appropriate policy in place to set expectations.

What to Include in a Work from Home Policy

A policy for remote work arrangements can help ensure that employees are operating just as they would if they were in the office. Your policy should set out your expectations and be communicated to staff before they begin working remotely. Deciding how to structure the remote working setup is up to you but here are some examples of what your policy can include:

  1. Work hours and expectations: Clearly set the start and end time for when employees working from home are expected to work and respond to emails and phone calls (especially if it will be different from their normal hours). Hours can be traditional or flexible based on business needs or accommodation. In addition, if the employee is eligible for overtime, remind them that they must seek prior written approval before working additional hours.
  2. Measuring productivity: To ensure remote employees work effectively, establish deadlines and targets for them to meet as a way of evaluating productivity. For example, you can set a target for the number of calls a remote worker is expected to make during their shift.
  3. Equipment and work conditions: Your policy should state whether you will provide equipment to your employee, and if so, how they should treat company property in their possession. For example, your policy might state that company laptops and phones may only be used for work purposes. In addition, your policy can require reliable internet access. To protect your business and employees, your policy should also require safe and hazard-free work conditions for remote work.
  4. Confidentiality: Your policy should also remind your employees that their designated work area must provide for the appropriate level of privacy during work time and that company policies regarding the safeguarding of confidential information continue to apply.
Need help developing a remote work setup that works for your business?

If you need advice on how to best manage remote employees, give our HR experts a call. We can help you establish robust workplace policies that will protect your business, employees and facilitate productivity. For consultation on any HR matter, contact us at: 1 (833) 247-3652.

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