This article presents the essential steps for writing a remote work policy. Why? Managing a remote team without proper policies in place can be challenging, especially if you’re working with an international team of professionals. According to Forbes, an estimated 70% of work will be done remotely by 2025, with 74% of companies planning to make their operations permanently remote.
Even though you may experience success with remote management now, the trend is bound to catch on as remote workflow is becoming a standard. How can you write a good remote work policy which will help focus your coworkers’ productivity and result in better remote team cohesion in 2021?
The Role and Perks of Writing a Remote Work Policy
Writing a remote work policy for your team is all about setting the right remote work standards from day one. The role of such a policy is to set rules and boundaries for your coworkers.
This includes writing down work standards, KPIs (key performance indicators) describing the support system as well as the expected work hours. Setting such standards as soon as your remote team is assembled will facilitate much better teamwork and less friction among coworkers thanks to the policy.
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Before we get started on how to write a remote policy, we will briefly explain the benefits of writing a remote work policy. According to Small Biz Genius, 16% of companies already work exclusively with remote employees, with 73% of all departments having remote workers by 2028. As we’ve mentioned, remote work management is on an upward spiral, and outlining your work policy now will benefit your company tomorrow. When it comes to the perks of writing a remote work policy and implementing it, you can look forward to the following:
- Reduced downtime and mitigated margin for error
- Improved productivity, morale, and teamwork
- Ability to scale your workflow and detect leadership potential
- Better management of diversity and inclusion in your team
Essential Steps to Writing a Remote Work Policy
1. Detail the Required Tools for Remote Work
The first item on your remote work policy should be to clearly outline the equipment and software your remote employees should all have. Standard remote work equipment includes the following items:
- Laptop or desktop computer
- Webcam of sufficient quality
- Microphone or headphones
- Printer with scanner functionality
When it comes to software, this depends on the type of work you do in the company. Given that you will work remotely, you can order LinkedIn profile bio writing assistance to spruce up your personal and business profiles. Some companies work well with writing tools such as Google Docs and require little else beyond Google’s cloud platform. Others might need platforms such as Asana or Trello for file-sharing and job delegation, so make this decision internally.
2. Schedule Remote Meetings Upfront
Given that you are writing a new remote work policy for your team, it’s a good idea to set up your scheduled meetings right now. Remote work management can be challenging when working with employees from across the globe. Based on Orbital, 22% of remote workers have trouble separating jobs from personal lives, with 24% finding video meetings inefficient compared to written communication.
That said, you should organize a remote meeting and discuss everyone’s schedules to find a consensus. Decide when your scheduled meetings will take place and how many times a week you will check in with everyone. Beyond that, there is no need for common working hours, especially for international teams, since everyone’s time zones need to be taken into account.
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3. Outline your Cybersecurity Regulations
Whether you work in marketing, IT, or eCommerce, you never know when a cybersecurity risk might crop up. Writing your remote work policy allows you to outline exactly what types of antivirus and anti-malware software everyone should use. Some reliable cybersecurity tools you should consider implementing include:
- Avast Antivirus
- Norton Antivirus
- Bit Defender
- Total AV
Many project management platforms also feature inherent security measures which you can take advantage of. Given that the software you decide to use will be in the remote work policy, each of your coworkers will be required to use it. This is another point that you can decide on as a team, but everyone should be on the same page and use the same software.
4. Describe your Remote Work Productivity Standards
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a standard measuring tool used by several companies around the world. Setting the right KPIs for your team and subsequently tracking them can make your remote work management a lot easier. You can use the SMART methodology to set up the right KPIs and make them as objective and attainable as possible.
These will represent your productivity standards or the work expected from every member of your remote team. The best way to set up KPIs is through a remote team meeting where you can assess everyone’s skill set and experience in the industry. It will help you avoid unrealistic standards and ensure that everyone has agency regarding the goals you’ve outlined for the team.
5. Outline the Leadership Hierarchy and Job Descriptions
One of the main purposes of writing a remote work policy is to plan what will happen in case of an emergency. Your hierarchy should be outlined to make it clear who is in charge of the team and addressing crisis scenarios.
Similarly, every member of your team should have their job descriptions outlined for the sake of reference. This will ensure that no two positions overlap and that everyone is clear on what their job entails. While it may seem somewhat ungrateful to talk about “what might happen”, your remote team will function more efficiently with these details outlined.
6. Make Room for Remote Team-Building Activities
Once you address the most important pain points of remote work management, you should also include team-building in your remote work policy. What activities will your team participate in to improve their cohesion and teamwork going forward? Again, these decisions are best made as a team, so talk about what you could do for fun.
Will you meet in person for sports and other activities or play online games and have lunch meetings remotely? These items are also an important part of a remote workflow since you need some time dedicated to non-work bonding with the team. It will help everyone drop their guards a little and ensure that people are much more inclined to help each other in case of emergency.
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Implementing your Remote Work Policy (Conclusion)
When you finish writing your remote work policy, the document should be sent to everyone on the team for feedback and final approval. Afterward, make sure that the policy is also available on your team’s cloud storage and collaboration platform to drive the point forward.
Everyone should adhere to the remote work policy and reference it whenever someone falls out of line or a crisis scenario happens. By implementing the remote policy on a daily, your team will be more engaged and motivated as well as collaborate far more closely than before.
Author’s bio. Jessica Fender is an HR specialist with a long history of consulting, both with organizations and job seekers.
Search Remotely is the number one platform for remote work. On one hand, we enable existing and aspiring remote workers to upskill and find remote jobs and then on the other hand we enable employers to hire the best international remote talent.