Working remotely has become the new normal because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With so many employees working from home, team managers need a remote work plan or policy to ensure that their employees stay productive.
But how do you create an effective remote work plan?
In this article, we’ll tell you how to build a remote work plan and what to include in it. We’ll also share a free downloadable remote work plan template to help you get started.
This article includes:
(Click on the link to go to a particular section)
- Sample Remote Work Plan Template
- What is a Remote Work Plan?
- How To Create A Remote Work Plan?
- 3 Tips for a Successful Remote Work Plan
Let’s get started.
Sample remote work plan template
(If you want to learn more about remote work plans, you can skip ahead to the relevant section. You can scroll back here once you’re done.)
Here’s a sample remote work policy template that you can use today:
A. Company objectives
This remote work proposal outline has our guidelines for employees who work remotely, i.e., from any place outside our physical office space. The plan is made such that remote work benefits both employees and our remote company.
We aim to provide better job satisfaction and increase employee productivity via our remote work policy and plan.
Remote working (or teleworking) is a permanent or temporary agreement between employees and managers where the former is permitted to work from a non office environment for more than [xx months].
Working from home for a maximum of [xx days] a week on a recurring basis also falls under our plan.
C. Remote working agreement
Employees at [company name] can work remotely on a permanent or temporary basis.
Employees who want to work remotely must submit a request to the HR team. They will assess and determine eligible employees and send a copy of the remote work agreement.
To avail of all the remote working benefits, employees will have to sign the agreement. This document will explain the company culture and remote employee roles and duties.
Employees who are new parents or have a disability will have to consult with their manager and the human resources department to get longer periods of remote working.
D. Remote work guidelines
To ensure that employee performance increases due to the remote work arrangement, we advise our remote employees to adhere to these rules:
- Have reliable internet access.
- Work from a distraction-free and quiet home office space.
- Concentrate on work duties during working hours by making a daily and weekly schedule.
- Follow the break and attendance schedules as discussed with your manager.
- Ensure your schedules overlap with in-office team members as it’s necessary to collaborate within a team.
- Remote team members and managers should conduct online or in person meetings to discuss progress and results.
E. Compliance with policies
Our remote workers must also follow other company policies.
Some of the policies include:
- Employee code of conduct
- Dress code
- Data protection
- Compensation and benefits
- Internet and computer usage
- Cell phone usage, etc.
You will find the above policies within the employee handbook.
According to our remote work plan we will provide each remote employee with essential equipment, like a laptop, headset, and cell phone.
We will also install VPN (Virtual Private Network) and company-required software when the team members receive their equipment. As per the policy, we will not provide secondary equipment like printers and screens.
Remote employees will also receive [$xxx] per month as a remote working allowance to cover office-related costs like electricity and rent.
Disclaimer: This remote work plan is not a valid legal document accounting for the local, state, or federal laws. Neither the author nor Time Doctor will assume any legal liability that may arise from using this sample remote work policy template.
What is a remote work plan?
A remote work plan is a document that makes remote work easy for you and your employees.
It defines the responsibilities of your remote employee and what the employer expects from them. This document can guide your employees through remote working challenges using the right technology and practical solutions.
How to create a remote work plan?
Your remote work policy and plan should be drafted with your team in mind. A well-written remote work policy can help you develop a successful remote work environment.
Let’s look at the first steps of building an effective remote work policy or plan:
1. Establish clear rules
Though working from home can lead to increased productivity, the chances of employees slacking off at work are high.
You have to set a few clear guidelines in your remote work policy to help your team stay focused during work hours.
For example, your coworkers – can log in at different times, which may disturb workflow.
You can avoid this by setting an agreeable time period for all employees to log in.
This way, they can clock in when their remote team members usually start working and collaborate to work on projects.
2. Elaborate on employee eligibility
Not all employees are eligible to work from home. Some of them may misuse the benefits of working remotely by not logging in on time, not working during work hours, etc.
You must also consider the nature of the job. For example, a real estate agent will have to spend more time on the field than working from home.
Moreover, before the remote work proposal, you should check whether your employees have:
- Strong communication skills.
- The ability to work without supervision.
- Time management skills.
You should also consider whether they will be punctual during core business hours.
Screen employees by checking their previous attendance records, productivity charts, and overall yearly performance.
Based on previous data and required soft skills, you can decide whether you can trust them to work sincerely from home.
3. Provide guidance to employees
Your remote work policy and plan should guide your team to work from home.
They should be able to work remotely such that the workflow, team performance, and customer satisfaction aren’t disturbed.
For example, HR professionals who have to hire employees may find it difficult to work from home as they might not be able to conduct one-on-one meetings. Your remote job plan can recommend online assessments, phone calls, and video calls to conduct the remote hiring process.
Additionally, consider setting an onboarding process to transition in-house employees into remote workers. You should also educate your team members on the company goals, their job duties, etc.
4. Suggest the right tools
Employees may require equipment, like additional desktops and Wi-Fi, while working in a remote environment. You may also have to arrange a VPN or internet security software for employees to keep company information secure.
Additionally, you can provide a communication tool like Slack, so your remote workforce can have quick discussions.
Your plan can also recommend a video conferencing service like Google Chat to build an effective and meaningful work relationship.
And finally, you can use software like Time Doctor to track time when your employee starts and ends working.
What is Time Doctor?
Time Doctor is a powerful employee time tracking and performance management tool used by major companies, like Keller Williams as well as by small businesses like Thrive Market, to boost the productivity of employees working from home.
Time Doctor has several features to help you manage your remote employees.
With Time Doctor, you can:
- Track the time remote workers spend on each task and project.
- Analyze employee productivity using detailed reports.
- Use screencasts to ensure your remote employees are actually working.
- Create work schedules to ensure remote employees log in during work hours.
- Pay your remote employees for the hours they’ve worked with payroll integrations with Paypal, Wise, etc.
4. Create a remote work schedule
By creating task lists, your employees can plan their flexible schedule around their personal lives – making it easier to manage tasks.
They can create a daily and monthly schedule on Google Calendar to accommodate all their work. For projects, you can use a project timeline template and give them a schedule so that they can plan their day, week, and month accordingly.
5. Discuss compensation and benefits
You should offer your remote employees bonuses and wellness benefits like you would do with the employees working from a traditional office setting.
Additionally, you could also reimburse any money your remote workers spent on buying work from home essentials like laptops, printers, internet costs, etc. Or you can also come up with an agreement regarding the ownership and payment of devices.
You may also have to increase the number of their FMLA leaves( Family and Medical Leave Act) as they work from home.
6. Be mindful of employee legal rights
Just like your office team, remote workers also have legal rights – such as compensation for overtime. So you can set a limit to their daily working hours (i.e., 5 hours per day) so that you’ll know when they work overtime.
Similarly, you should tell your remote team about how their work will be monitored — as it can be considered a privacy breach if they aren’t informed beforehand. This way, you can prevent your telecommuting employees from feeling discriminated against.
7. Focus on employee health and wellness
Remote work can be stressful to manage due to distractions, household responsibilities, the distance between the distributed team members, and several other reasons.
Coworking parents may have to manage household chores, office work, and a child — which can be exhausting.
Your company policy for remote work should prioritize the health and well-being of employees to make it convenient. You can schedule breaks, have quick chats, and informal team meetings to help boost your team members’ physical and mental health.
Additionally, you should consider setting up some fun group events and activities.
For example, before your remote workforce starts their morning tasks, you can schedule a virtual 30-minute workout session for the entire team. This way, your employees can feel refreshed and energized when they log in to work.
You can also engage your remote team in casual video calls where they play games, conduct virtual events, and talk about things outside work.
3 simple tips for a successful remote work plan
Let’s look at a few actionable steps that you can take to ensure remote work success:
1. Streamline team collaboration
Your remote work policy should address that telecommuting employees may not be able to work as efficiently as before due to communication and distance issues.
You can avoid this by encouraging the use of collaboration tools to manage daily team tasks.
Tools like Trello and Asana allow you to assign tasks, share files, and add comments – making collaborative work super easy.
Additionally, your remote team members can also synchronize their plans by logging in and taking breaks simultaneously.
2. Increase employee engagement
Your remote work practices should keep your employees engaged such that their productivity and team output can increase.
You can keep your employees engaged while they work from home by:
- Regularly checking up on them.
- Conducting fun virtual meetings like Zoom happy hours.
- Making sure they feel valued by giving them bonuses or rewards.
By increasing employee engagement, you can also improve their job satisfaction and increase retention rates.
Want a foolproof way to increase engagement?
Check out our guide on the top 12 employee engagement software in 2021.
3. Stay empathetic
A remote environment can have many distractions like noisy neighbors, demanding toddlers, etc. — which can make it hard to be a focused work environment.
That’s why you need to be understanding when they are unable to submit work within the fixed business hours or skip a remote meeting due to valid issues.
You can connect with them better by talking to them frequently and giving them regular feedback. This can help you create a bond with them, encouraging them to come to you when they need any help or face issues.
Your company benefits from an employee remote work plan as it leads employees to work efficiently by directing them to focus on work.
But creating a remote work plan isn’t enough.
You’ll also need to introduce the right remote work tools like Time Doctor. With Time Doctor, you can easily track your employees’ work and guide them to increase their own productivity.
Sign up for Time Doctor’s 14-day trial to track your remote team’s performance today!
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.