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Work-From-Home Policy (+Free Template)

What is a work-from-home (WFH) policy?

Welcome to the future of the (hybrid) office. According to Gallup, eight in 10 remote-capable employees expect to work hybrid or fully remote, with 60% wanting to work off-site for part of the week and almost 30% not wanting to return to the office at all.
Deloitte’s statistics reveal a similar pattern:
  • 29% of remote-capable employees are fully remote today
  • 40% of remote-capable employees have shifted from working entirely on-site to either a hybrid or exclusively remote work arrangement.
This shift is not only the result of digitization and the pandemic. Many employees have found that they like the flexibility of hybrid work, and 46% of respondents in a Workmonitor report by Randstad said they would quit if their jobs did not support work-life balance.
The challenge is that working remotely, or even hybrid, is not the same as working from the office, and traditional policies may not always accommodate these differences. To meet the needs of a hybrid or remote workforce while maintaining consistency, strong company culture, and productivity, it’s essential to have a work-from-home policy that outlines how the company allows its employees to work from locations outside the traditional office environment (typically their homes).
This type of policy specifies who is eligible to work from home, often based on the nature of their job or on a case-by-case basis. It sets expectations for working hours, clarifying if the remote work arrangement adheres to standard business hours or if there is flexibility to accommodate different schedules.

Why have a work-from-home policy

Like all company policies and procedures, a WFH policy provides clear guidelines and expectations for employees. In the context of remote work, this is crucial for maintaining consistency, efficiency, and productivity when the workplace extends beyond the traditional office setting. It ensures that employees understand their responsibilities, work hours, and the methods of communication they should use. This helps in adopting discipline and a sense of normalcy, even when working remotely.

What to include in your work-from-home policy

HR should consider various factors to ensure a comprehensive and clear policy when constructing work-from-home policy guidelines.
Some key considerations you should include:
  • Eligibility: A clear definition of which employees and job scopes are covered by the policy and under what circumstances it applies. This includes which roles are eligible for remote work and the extent to which they can work from home.
  • Request process: A process for employees to request work-from-home arrangements, including any necessary approvals from management.
  • Communication and scheduling: Communication channels, flexibility of work hours, and where, when, and how employees should collaborate and connect.
  • Performance evaluation: How performance and outputs will be measured.
Importantly, a hybrid work-from-home policy will include a range of policies within the overarching policy. By its very nature, a work-from-home policy is not one-size-fits-all, and yet it is the foundation for transparency and consistency. The various ‘sub’ policies within your work-from-home policy will, therefore, meet employees’ different needs.

Here are a few policies you could include:

1. Hybrid work-from-home policy: Outline how the hybrid model operates, with specifics on how many days are expected in-office versus at home.

2. Work-from-home internet outage policy: Establish a protocol for what employees should do in case of an Internet outage, including any expectations for communication and a timeframe for resolving the issue.

3. Work-from-home security policy: Emphasize the importance of information security and specify the measures employees must take to protect company data. This includes using secure connections, company-approved devices, and adhering to IT security policies.

4. Work-from-home stipend policy: If applicable, define a stipend policy to cover the costs of home office setup or ongoing expenses that employees might incur when they work from home.

5. Work-from-home reimbursement policy: Provide details on what costs the company will reimburse, the process for submitting expenses, and any limits on reimbursable amounts.

6. Work-from-home equipment policy: Clarify if the company will provide the necessary equipment (computers, phones, ergonomic furniture) and how equipment support and maintenance will be handled.

7. Work hours and flexibility: Define core working hours during which all employees are expected to be available while also providing flexibility to accommodate personal obligations and varying time zones.

8. Performance management and productivity tracking: Outline how performance will be assessed. For example, is productivity based on output and completion of objectives or hours logged? What regular digital productivity tracking tools are in use?

9. Communication protocols: Determine expected response times during work hours and the use of company-approved platforms for all work-related discussions and file sharing.

10. Professional development: Outline how employees working from home will have equal access to professional development opportunities and training resources, ensuring remote work does not hinder career growth and skill advancement. Also, discuss the expectations on remote employees in terms of their development.
👉🏻 Work-from-home policy template

Best practices when developing a work-from-home policy

To make the most of your work-from-home policy, follow these tried-and-tested best practices:
  1. Provide training: Offer comprehensive training on digital tools and platforms that facilitate remote work, ensuring that all employees use them comfortably and efficiently.
  2. Encourage regular check-ins: Encourage regular check-ins between managers and their teams, possibly through daily or weekly virtual meetings, to keep everyone aligned and informed.
  3. Prioritize cybersecurity: Provide extensive training on cybersecurity best practices to all employees to protect sensitive company information.
  4. Encourage work-life balance: Encourage employees to maintain regular work hours and to take breaks throughout the day to avoid burnout and maintain work-life balance.
  5. Organize social events: Create virtual social events, like online coffee breaks or team games, to maintain morale and a sense of community among remote workers.
  6. Develop clear communication protocols: Ensure that team members remain connected and collaborative.
  7. Implement virtual project management tools: Help track progress on tasks and projects.
  8. Establish clear performance metrics: Align metrics with remote work outputs rather than time spent in the office.
  9. Enable a good home office setup: Provide ergonomic guidance and support for setting up a home office to help reduce the risk of strain and injury.
  10. Provide support: Offer mental health support, such as access to counseling or mindfulness resources, acknowledging that remote work can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation.
  11. Encourage a culture of trust and autonomy: Train managers on managing remote employees to help avoid micromanagement, which can be counterproductive in a remote setting.
  12. Help managers to lead by example: Ensure leaders model healthy work-from-home behaviors to set a standard within the organization.
  13. Offer reimbursements or subsidies: Reimburse or subsidize home office expenses to alleviate any financial burdens on employees.
  14. Review and revise: Review and revise the work-from-home policy regularly to adapt to changing circumstances and feedback from employees.
Implementing these practices can help ensure a smooth transition to remote work and contribute to the sustainability and success of work-from-home programs.
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