What is Telecommuting?
According to dictironary.com,
Telecommuting, also called telework, can mean that an employee might be working on-site some of the time or they might never come into the office.
For a business, the goal of telecommuting is to ensure employees are happier, more productive, and that overhead is lowered.
Why is a telecommuting policy important?
As all company policies and procedures, they define the rules of conduct for remote employees and outline the responsibilities.
It is generally foreseen that working from home will be the future of work. COVID-19 pandemic just accelerated it. Remote work saved many businesses from total halt and became vital for continuing business operations.
These companies that were forced to move their workforce to their homes, need to define a Telecommuting Policy. Why? It is crucial as it defines not only how the employee should safeguard the company’s equipment but also the business information and its confidentiality.
Item that should include a telecommuting policy:
Employee eligibility. Define what is the general criteria what make the employee eligible, like the type of work the employee performs, what are the proper home work environment, execution of telecommuting participant agreement. Avoid terms that could be considered as discriminatory.
- The participant must adhere to assigned work hours, with good time utilization and no chronic recorded lateness
- Personal disruptions such as non-company telephone calls and visitors are not acceptable
- Dependent care obligations or other family obligations must not interfere with work.
- Who is responsible for an ergonomically correct home workstation?
- Alerting the supervisor for any circumstance that could be likely to interfere with performance or any cyber-breach
Employment terms. Define the participant’s duties and terms of employment while participating in the program. For example, is there any change on Schedule or work hours/week, salary, benefits, vacations, leaves and other rights and responsibilities? There might be times participants will be asked to come to the office.
Company policies governing. Here is where you need to confirm that the general IT policies apply to all participants. The general IT policy should cover the proper use of the company equipment, facilities, software, support services, internet, telephones, information, social media, cyber-security safeguards.
Tax implications. Usually, it is the participant responsibility to determine any income tax implication of maintaining a home office area. Is the company going to provide any tax guidance or assume any tax liability?
Work assignment and supervision. Who and how the assignments will be directed to the participant?
Performance standards. Define how the supervisor will evaluate the performance. It is important to disclose that the supervisor may monitor the participant activities, performing randomly checking of the participant presence by telephone, personal visit or electronic monitoring. What are the consequences of not preforming satisfactory?
Confidentiality. Define clear rules about the security of data and access to systems, as well as material s taken home. This section should cover items like:
- Re-confirm that the equipment is only for the participant use and it is only for business purposes.
- The computer should be password protected and the password must not be share with anybody
- Handling of confidential and proprietary information
- Network traffic and Internet connectivity
- Use of open networks or unsecure broadcasted wireless networks
- Responsibility for maintaining a secure physical environment
- Computers left unattended or in plain sight or others
- Employee must remain in compliance with acceptable use and all security policies while working remotely
- All activity performed on the company devices is subject to monitoring.
- What is the consequence of violations?
Overtime request and assignments. Does the overtime policy extend to the telecommuting one?
Workspace / Worksite inspection. Establish the company rights to visit the participant’s home to ensure that the designated work space meets the requirements.
Home office operations costs. Will the company pay for utility, internet, maintenance or repairs?
Equipment responsibility. Is the employee financially responsible for expenses associated with the loss or repair of the assigned equipment?
Equipment / office supplies. Describe what is the equipment and office supplies that the company will provide.
Accidents and injuries. How and who the employee about any injury or illness related to work being performed for the company. Is there any Workers’ Compensation law that the employee should be aware when working from home?
Damage to employee’s property. Is the company liable for damages to the participant’s personal or real property during the performance of official duties?
Company’s right to end a telecommuting status. The company usually has the right to end the telecommuting agreement at the company’s discretion. Define what could be the consequence if the participant chooses not to return.
We can help customize your IT related Policies, including:
- Evaluate company’s IT and security policies and procedures from the risk management perspective.
- Define an action plan to address the most concerning areas (high risk)
- Develop and customize (or improve current) the company’s policies and procedures
- Assist with the documentation, implementation and dissemination of the new policies and procedures
- Define and implement controls and reporting processes