Even before the current pandemic, a lot of businesses would allow their team to work remotely or from home. Also called flexible working arrangements, if you are a business owner, how do you ensure your team are still productive and deliver products and services as they normally would?
Work From Home Policy Template
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Well, it is a bit harder but certainly not impossible. If you have a great team and they are hard workers it will be easier. If some of your team like to take a break and kick back while the boss is not around, then it is likely to be more difficult to monitor their effectiveness and productivity.
A great idea to help manage expectations is to create a work from home policy which identifies the rules your business has regarding working from home.
You can use a work from home policy template to achieve this. This will save you a ton of time and effort. If you don’t have time to think of all the detail and get it together and check it and recheck it, then using a template will help you save all of this effort.
Let’s look a bit in detail about what expectations you should have and what your team could be thinking. Then we will check out some detail about what should be in a typical work from home policy and what you can consider adding into yours.
What Are Your Expectations as Business Owner?
Do you expect your team to be contactable all the time? What are your expectations when it comes to taking breaks? Is it the same as being in the office? Do you expect them to be on call 100% of the time during work hours?
All of these issues you should think about as a business operator and set the rules for your team so they understand what your expectations are.
Ask Your Team
Have you asked your team what they think about working from home?
If you haven’t thought about this then maybe it might be a good time to check in with them and see what they think.
In a pandemic situation, you might not have a choice and your team may be forced to work from home. However under normal circumstances, it is worth engaging with your team to find out their thoughts about working from home.
It easy to assume that your staff want to work from home. They may prefer to work from the office. So check with them first before you go ahead and set up your policies about working from home. It’s going to save you a lot of time and effort if none of your team are keen to work from home.
Plan a Policy
So now that you’ve worked out whether or not you need a work from home policy and determined that some of your staff would like to work from home, it’s time to get together a policy.
How does your business actually operate? Can your team actually work from home or do some of your team work on site and some of your team work in the office?
Most businesses have at least a few people working in the office dealing with administration tasks and accounts for example. These tasks can be easily transferred to home. However if your team need close monitoring while they work, then working from home could be a disaster.
I am sure your team are also going to have some expectations about what they can and cannot do so it is a good idea to make the conversation a 2 way street. Take the time to get together a policy that works best for your business and plan a policy around the way your business operates. A standard policy might need to be tweaked to suit.
As an employer, you still have a requirement to ensure the health and safety of your employees even when they are working from home. This may sound surprising, however, working from home is similar to going to site or working on site. Basically any activity that is being performed for the business.
You should minimize risks as much as you can. This means working together with your team to establish a safe home environment including a safe working place and workstation that meets Workplace Health and Safety requirements.
What are the Risks?
Have you even considered the risks that your staff may face when working from home? They certainly are some issues that may pop up and it’s worth considering these.
Firstly let’s consider injuries that may happen at home. It’s a good idea to have some guidelines about how people should set up their workplace environment such as their workstation their desk and chair, keyboard and mouse and typical items that you would normally do in your office. If you have some guidelines around this you should communicate these with your staff members so that they set up their environment correctly.
Your workers also have obligations to minimize any risk when they are working from their home. They need to follow procedures and have a responsibility to operate any equipment correctly that may have been taken home from the work place.
They should also insure they have adequate lighting and ventilation and consider how they sit at their desk. Correctly posture avoids repetitive strain injury that could occur.
There are of course more dangerous hazards such as electricity and ensuring all equipment is maintained and installed correctly. In addition to this, do they have operating smoke alarms in their property?
There are plenty of considerations that you need to take into account when your staff start working from home.
Mental Health Considerations
How about the mental health risks and consideration of these when working from home? Naturally this can be a stressful and uncertain time. Therefore it’s important that your team have access to mental health resources that help them get through their day.
Real risks are being isolated from others, workplace and changes in workplace demand and also and fatigue and poor environmental conditions. All of these issues can affect workers mental health. Further to this, do your staff have young children? This then becomes and extra consideration and how can they deal with their kids on a regular basis while also trying to get their work completed.
If your team don’t have any knowledge around good ergonomics then it is time to educate them and ensure they apply this at home. You could easly get them to complete a checklist around how they workstation is set up and get them to pass that back to you. This will ensure you have documentation on file and also give them an understanding about your expectations.
It is important for most people to have that connection daily so it makes sense to touch base with them on a regular basis and sometimes this could be several times a day.
Facilities and Tools They Need
Set up employees with the tools they need. Most businesses go a long way to setup their teams at home.
This means contributing to their internet connection and making sure it is high speed. If you run a business where you need to transfer large files then it’s obvious you should set them up with a premium data plan, not the old dial up style!
Desk and a Place to Work
Maybe your team don’t have a suitable space to work. Ask them what they have and contribute to a desk and decent chair if they don’t already have something.
What about a stand up desk? Do you have these in your office? We do. Does anyone sit down anymore? Remember, these people are working for you so giving them the tools and not being stingy makes sense.
Other Facilities and Supplies
Stationary, paper, printer and all the necessary tools are all important if your team normally uses this stuff in your business. Make sure your team have to these things and offer to contribute if they are using them for work.
Focus on performance and results and allow team members to manage work and private lives.
The Detail of a Work From Home Policy
Where do you start? Below is a list of headings you might want to use when creating your WFH (Work From Home) Policy. These are ideas. Your business might be different. Take a look below.
Work Health and Safety
We have spoken about this in detail above. Certainly a good idea and something you should address upfront. Probably one of the first things you should talk about in your policy.
Have you requested that your team have any particular insurance? They might be crazy not to. What about home insurance and any other relevant insurance.
Information Technology & Cyber Security
Getting access to your server or cloud is essential. Having a fast speed is even more essential. If you don’t provide your team with an ultra fast connection don’t expect productivity to be too good.
Cyber Security could potentially have some impacts on your business if your IT department isn’t on top of this. If you are a small business do you have good virus software in place to ensure you have secured connections between your business and employees homes?
Absences and Leave
What happens if someone needs to take leave? Are there formal procedures in place or does the normal apply?
Work Relationships and Team Building
It’s harder to build a team environment from home. You can do it somewhat over Zoom – however person to person contact is essential if you want it to be successful.
Productivity might go out the window when working from home or in maya skyrocket. Whatever it does for your business have you got a tool to measure this and monitor it?
Personal Skills, Attributes and Work Performance
Once again it will depend on the type of staff you have. If they are proactive or if they need constant monitoring. Either way indicating expectations in your policy is important.
What are the rules surrounding your business? Are your team members available 24 hours a day just because they work from home? Have you even discussed this with them. The agreement should be in your policy so it is fair.
Record of Hours Worked
Once again they need to still fill in time-sheets. If they don’t how are they accountable to you?
Work From Home Policy Template
The Digital Documents Direct Policy has all these items in it all ready to go. Check out the Work from Home Policy Template below. Click this link or the image below to read more. There is a significant bonus when you buy this policy template so check it out.
Improvements to Expect from Having a Work from Home Policy
What improvements can you expect from implementing this type of policy in your business?
Firstly, I can say by implementing any policy in your business generally you will see an improvement. If you don’t the policy likely doesn’t suit your team, business or situation or you simply haven’t thought about it well enough.
If your team is switched on, most policies are good for your business. There might be a ton of detail to read, so the key is to make them simple and relevant for your team and most importantly – easily accessible.
No-one will read a policy that is hard to find. If you don’t have a system that is easy to access and then further to this easy to search on then you might as well throw your policies out the window.
With the amount of information technology around today create something simple has become the challenge. Information overload exists in so many forms. The businesses that keep it simple and relevant are the businesses that make a difference.
So let’s get back to the improvements you would expect from implementing this type of policy. Firstly your team will know the rules. Always a good one. Secondly your team will know where they stand and then if they have questions or concerns you have set up an easy way to ask these haven’t you?
Thirdly, your business will still be productive even when you have less access to your team.
And lastly, you will be protecting your team and caring for them. After-all, they are your business and if you look after them, then chances are they will look after your customers and also care about their boss!
A Free Work From Home Policy
If you are looking for a free work from home policy then you can download our example. This policy is a simple version you can use as a base plan to create your policy. Of course, it is simple but will get you started on creating a policy for your business.
If you need something more detailed and are also looking for more policies for your business then check out our paid version. It is comprehensive and includes a ton of other policies all ready to go. You will save a lot of time setting up your policies.
Benefits of Working from Home
OK, I am not going to say the benefits are that you can work in your pyajamas……also known as Lock-down Fashion!
That’s not a benefit. ( :
That’s a concern!
However on a serious note there are plenty of benefits of working from home. Here are a few to consider.
Benefit Number 1
No Distractions. YAY! You can get a lot more done if you are working from home and don’t have to look after kids or have any other types of distractions.
Typically being in an office will distract you when someone else shouts or yells at another staff member! The drama is high. So your home has less drama and less distractions. What a bonus!
Also, what about meetings? They can be a massive distraction. People typically don’t like long boring meetings. I know I don’t. Short sharp ones are much better.
There is nothing worse going to a massive long meeting and feeling like it is dragging on forever. You just want to get up and walk out.
Benefit Number 2
A MASSIVE benefit is no commute. If you work in the city and commute everyday my question to you is WHY? How can you do it? I used to do it and no longer do it. Got my life back thanks.
There is nothing worse than sitting in traffic with a bunch of other city slickers all wanting to get home at the same time. Arrrrgg!
Although if you were commuting on a Segway like this guy to the right then you might miss doing that.
However, tell your boss you are no longer doing it. Get a job closer to home or Zoom in everyday. The commute is killing you and the environment. You don”t need to be in there just so you look good. There is nothing in there but fumes and stressed people. ( :
Benefit Number 3
If you have a good setup at home you can walk outside and get some fresh air easily. If you are used to being stuck in an air-conditioned office with the temperature at zero degrees, then working from home will be a breath of fresh air!
Nothing like Mr Wind blowing some fresh air on your face.
An air-conditioned office can be really bad for your health. Fresh air while you are working is so much better!
Benefit Number 4
I bet you have more time to do the things you love. Just cutting out the commute makes a massive difference. The danger is you might not be able to switch off from your work.
If you can’t then separate your work by having it in another room and lock yourself out. Your personal time will increase because you will save a lot of time not having to go to the office and you will find more time to do the things you love.
Make sure you don’t spend that time working!
The Negatives of Working from Home
There can be several negatives about working from home. One major negative is not having the human connection with others. Particularly if you are the type of person that loves the company of others.
Other than that, there are some other drawbacks which you should also consider. Of course, if the work at home policy is enforced for a pandemic like the recent world events, then it is going to be hard to get around the issues that might arise.
Negative Number 1
Isolation. You might feel as though no one is interested in you anymore. A little bit lonely locked up in your house? If you love the company of others, you will certainly feel a bit like this. However, if you like your own company then you probably won’t have as many issues having limited contact with others.
Negative Number 2
Home Office Costs. Your electricity bill might jump and other associated costs may also rise. If you are in winter, then your heating costs could also rise. Worth talking to your boss about this if you have a good one. If you don’t then it might be time for a new job.
Negative Number 3
Risk of overworking. Work might feel like it never goes away. If it is at home all the time it can be difficult to switch off. However, don’t be too concerned. You can easily deal with this. Just go out for a walk or do some exercise and leave your phone at home.
Not being able to switch off is a real risk and feeling attached to the internet and social media can also be a serious issue. If you do this type of work then it can become very difficult to switch off when you need to.
Negative Number 4
Not being productive. Your boss might be hassling you to get your work done faster. This could be because you are getting distracted by the kids, the cat, the dog, the garden or whatever. Maybe even your hobbies. Focusing on work will be hard with this many distractions.
But don’t worry about these things either. It’s good to have a work/life balance and spending time doing these other activities is actually good for you. Just don’t forget you need to get your work done.
Working at Home and the Environment
This is a major one and certainly something you should consider and consider as an employer as well – the environment.
In fact, Global Workforce Analytics, estimates that working from home half the week can reduce emissions by 54 million tons every year! That is well worth the effort.
The reduction in vehicles on the road due to the recent pandemic was colossal. The impacts on the environment were massive and noticeable and the reduction in pollution changed the landscape. Of course, this doesn’t mean we need to be locked up just to reduce the impacts on the environment.
However, it does highlight how much we are impacting the environment because we believe we all need to work together in an office. Do we really need to? Maybe we can balance a work from home and office arrangement and still be productive.
3 Benefits to the Environment from Working from Home
As mentioned above, the reduction in pollution is a massive benefit. Less pollutants running off our roads and into our creeks, rivers and oceans.
Less vehicle congestion on the road is a major bonus. All those cars off the road allow the workers that actually use the road as part of their job to have a much easier travel.
A Reduction in Plastic Usage
If you are working from home then you will be less reliant on using plastic. OK This might not be a major reduction however there will certainly be a reduction in single-use plastic food containers, bags, or cutlery.
We can save a lot of time and also save the environment in a significant way by working from home and it is certainly something we should be doing on a regular basis if possible for our employment and employers.
Use a Work From Home Policy Template and Save
What are the benefits of using a work from home policy template? A template is going to save you considerable effort. Using a template means you won’t have to dig around and try and come up with your own policy.
If you don’t have a lot of time then a template certainly is going to save you time. Consider Digital Documents Direct Work from Home Policy Template. This template also comes with a massive bonus of an additional list of other policies. This is going to save you a colossal amount of time when creating policies for your business.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Got any thoughts about working from home or how to implement a policy in your business?
What are things that have worked with your business and what are things that haven’t?
We would love to hear from you. Feel free to contribute below to get the conversation going.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should be in a Work from Home Policy?
Work Health and Safety, Work Relationships and Team Building, Productivity, Information and Communication Technology are just a few of the things you need to consider when creating a work from home policy.
Where can I find a Work from Home Policy Template
There are plenty of places online to purchase a Work from Home Policy Template. A simple search will reveal lots of opportunities to purchase a template. Which one will you choose?
Why Does my Business need a Work from Home Policy?
Policies help to communicate the facts and rules when it comes to any issue in your business. A policy will help your team understand where they stand with regards to any particular issue and are important to keep your business on an even keel.
How Hard is it to Create a Work from Home Policy?
A work from home policy can take a significant amount of work. It should be tailored to your business. Use a template and save a ton of time.