Permitting employees to work remotely is one-way employers may choose to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Implementing a Work-From-Home policy is an important step in ensuring your business continues to operate smoothly while taking precautions to ensure the safety of your office, employees, and clients. The following items should be included in any Work-From-Home policy:
- Purpose: Set out for employees the purpose and scope of your Work-From-Home policy, explaining that the policy is implemented only in response to necessary COVID-19 precautions.
- Eligibility: Identify which employees may work remotely and which employees conduct essential job functions that require their presence in the office. Identify whether employees may work from home full-time, or if they need to spend a certain number of hours working from the office.
- Approval: Establish the process by which employees may be approved to work remotely, including the appropriate supervisor to report to should an employee desire to work from home.
- Duration: Establish clear guidelines for how long this policy will be in place. If the duration is dependent on the ever-evolving news related to COVID-19, set that out for your employees.
- Equipment: Most employees will need certain electronic equipment at home (laptops, chargers, printers, scanners, phones, etc.). Set forth what items will be provided by the employer, or alternatively what items the employee must have in their own possession in order to work from home.
- Working Tools: Most employees will need certain office supplies at home. Set forth what items the employer will provide, or alternatively what items it is necessary for the employee to have in their own possession in order to work from home. Additionally, employees may need access to video-conferencing technology (Google Hangouts, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.). Set forth what programs need to be downloaded and accounts need to be created prior to any employee working remotely.
- Expectations: Define mandatory office hours and the procedure by which employees should manage and record their time. Require a weekly meeting for the employee and the manager, supervisor or team to discuss weekly progress and future expectations.
- Security: Set basic requirements for internet connection, anti-virus software, and paper and electronic file storage while working from home. Define clear expectations for confidentiality at home, including who may be present for phone calls and who may access the employee’s home computer.
- Duration: If you don’t believe this is something feasible once the crisis ends, you should include clear language limiting it to the current circumstances.
If you have questions about what to do with your business or company during the COVID-19 pandemic or desire assistance in preparing your own Work-From-Home policy, call Capell & Howard at 334-241-8000 and ask for one of our employment lawyers: Christopher Weller, Barbara Wells, Brooke Lawson, Carla Gilmore, Mai Lan Isler, Faith Twiggs, or Blake Brookshire.